Sala Sinopoli, Auditorium Parco della Musica - 14 November, 2015
The 39th edition of the Roma Jazz Festival began in the immediate aftermath of the recent Paris terrorist attacks, so it was perhaps inevitable that the shock waves of those events were still reverberating when the Gregory Porter Quintet took to the stage less than 24 hours later for the highly anticipated opening concert at Rome's annual Jazz fest. After a minute's silence dedicated to the victims, followed by spontaneous applause, the band appeared to cheers from the audience, cheers that transformed into an enormous roar when the man in the hat himself appeared and launched into an heartfelt Someday We'll All Be Free. Elegantly acknowledging what had happened in Paris the night before with a handful of carefully chosen words – “It is what it is...all we can do is pray...and let it be” – he swiftly moved on with On My Way to Harlem, a perfect marriage of soul and jazz that set the tone for what would be a thrilling concert.
|Meeting Gregory Porter in Rome!|
As usual Gregory Porter was accompanied by an extraordinary group of musicians and his delight in their engaging musical solos was evident. Joining the previously mentioned Crawford on piano and Nichols on bass, were talented percussionist Emanuel Harrold, and amazing trumpet player Keyon Harrold, who was seen in Rome last summer alongside D'Angelo during the Luglio Suona Bene concert season.
Returning to the stage to thunderous applause for an encore Porter remarked “I had fun tonight” before closing the show with a gorgeous, slowed down Painted on Canvas. Just perfect. Gregory Porter is a consummate performer at the very top of his game – miss him at your peril.