In times like these, when one could become disillusioned by the clueless behaviour of most global politicians, when right-wing idiots raising their voices and the naive and afraid are listening, it is even more important to have moments of great humanity and these can be found when individuals step over borders and help other human beings or when you go to a concert and experience someone who is painting his emotions on an imaginary canvas – as Gregory Porter did last night at the Nuevo Teatro Alcala in Madrid.
Porter and his band started the night with one of my favourite of his songs: Painting on Canvas and that’s what he did the rest of the show – painting on an imaginary canvas scenes of our lives today, scenes of horror and sadness, but as well of humanity and love. They went through the repertoire of his 3 albums released so far: Water, Be Good and Liquid Spirit. He is as good a song writer as he is a performer – expressive and powerful, laying his emotions bare for us, the audience, to take them on and experience what music can do in a positive sense … and when he sings Hey Laura or Musical Genocide or the powerful 1960 What?, he gets us all.
Then he jumps into a simple but captivating version of Papa was a Rolling Stone … his voice as always impeccable, his singing strong and without fault – pushing the message on a lyrical and emotional level. His great band supports him perfectly and adds some deep jazz moments to the show – especially pianist Chip Crawford and saxophonist Yosuke Sato delivering some impressive solo work. He surely is one of today’s best known jazz singer and deservedly so – an impressive songwriter and even better singer, a great performer and a true character make him standing out and make people listen. Can’t wait to hear his next album … and for the next show when he comes back into town. One of the best gigs of the year so far!
Some music to check out: Anneli Drecker – rocks & straws. She is one of my favourite singers in Europe – a unique voice and amazing control. Her new album is a collection of hauntingly beautiful compositions by herself with the lyrics being poems by Norwegian Arvid Hanssen, translated into English. The opener Alone is simply amazing, Fisherman’s Blues a great track and so is the title song of the album and the rest is fantastic too. Check it out and relax and let yourself float within the music …GREAT!
Tigran Hamasyan – Luys I Luso. This first ECM release by pianist Tigran is a step in a new direction: he arranged sacred music from Armenia for piano and voices and performs these arrangements with the Yerevan State Chamber Choir under Harutyun Topikyan. The result is incredible! Gorgeous melodies, incredible voices and the added sound of the piano are creating beauty in sound. Tigran is not only a unique pianist and composer, but he is now opening himself up to other ways to express himself – this is a major step for him to be finally recognised for what the is: a very important artist of our times.