Backbeat: Viral Jazz Singer Gregory Porter Shines In LA For BMI, KKJZ Execs
Backbeat: Viral Jazz Singer Gregory Porter Shines In LA For BMI, KKJZ Execs

bmi BMI director of media relations Marlene Meraz and KKJZ Long Beach (L.A.), Calif. air personality Brad L. Williams flank Gregory Porter after his show. (Photo: Teal Moss)

Viral buzz may be all the rage. But good old word-of-mouth is still just as potent, judging by the full house that soulful jazz singer/songwriter Gregory Porter attracted to Los Angeles nightclub The Mint (Sept. 22).

Rolling into town on the strength of two critically acclaimed albums -- 2010's Grammy-nominated Water (best jazz vocal album) and his 2012 sophomore CD Be Good -- Motéma Music's Porter and his tight backing band wasted no time displaying why his artistry has drawn raves at every stop on his current tour, including Yoshi's in Oakland, Calif., the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C. and the Ferst Center for the Arts in Atlanta. Drawing primarily from his second album, Porter and his tight backing band cruised their way through an engaging set for an ethnically and age-diverse audience who sang along to many of the songs.

stage Porter and his band perform for enthusiastic audience at The Mint in L.A. (Photo: Teal Moss)

While ticket buyers and radio winners were grumbling about The Mint itself -- a space too small for the emerging singer's burgeoning fan base with only four booths (all previously reserved) and limited bar seating -- Porter assuaged the audience with the instant crowd-pleasing opener "Painted on Canvas." He further displayed his unique gift for penning metaphorically rich, story-telling lyrics on such selections as "On My Way to Harlem," "Real Good Hands" and "The Way You Want to Live." Alternately soothing and mesmerizing, Porter's mellow baritone can also shift to urgent as it did on the socially conscious anthem "1960 What?" from his first album.

group Before heading out front to chat with fans post-concert, Porter met with industry guests backstage, including (from left): BMI's Marlene Meraz, entertainment blogger Darlene Donloe, Beverly Galloway, Billboard's Gail Mitchell, KKJZ's Brad L. Williams and his wife Melissa Shepherd and Urban Music Scene music editor A. Scott Galloway (who brought mom Beverly). (Photo: Teal Moss)

Now residing in Brooklyn, NY's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, Porter -- a resident performer at Spanish Harlem's Smoke Jazz club -- is heading overseas next, including October shows in Sweden, France, Germany and Austria. Then it's back to Brooklyn for a show Nov. 17 at Littlefield.