Gregory Porter is one of music’s rare gems. With pinpoint clarity, the singer approaches his repertoire firmly rooted in the present while honoring his genre’s traditions.
Tasty Clips caught up with the preeminent male jazz vocalist of this generation during a stop at Charlotte’s Knight Theatre in support of his latest number one album “Take Me to the Alley.”
The flat-capped giant from Bakersfield by way of Bed-Stuy commanded the stage for nearly two hours with his surprisingly funky quartet. The set included songs from his Grammy-winning second album, “Liquid Spirit,” peppered with clever snippets from soul classics like “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” and “Wake Up Everybody.” When enthusiastically called for an encore, Porter could only sheepishly grin before asking the crowd if they knew there was a NBA Finals game on.
Backstage, we talked about what Prince songs he may cover. “Everybody’s doing it,” he prefaced, “but I’d say ‘Purple Rain.’ I know that sounds corny, but it’s like a perfect hymn.” Ever the musicologist, he also threw in he’d add an obscure Prince song — just because.
Porter is currently touring with stops slated for the Newport Jazz Festival, the John Coltrane International Jazz & Blues Festival, and Monterey Jazz Festival before returning to L.A.’s Orpheum Theatre on Oct. 6.
NEW TO DVD & DIGITAL: The beloved and still-relevant drama “Cornbread, Earl and Me” will make its Blu-ray debut on June 21 via Olive Films, more than 40 years since its theatrical release. Based on the 1966 novel “Hog Butcher” by Ronald L. Fair, the movie also marked the acting debut of a 13-year-old Laurence Fishburne, alongside icons Moses Gunn, Jamaal Wilkes, Rosalind Cash, Madge Sinclair and Antonio Fargas. The movie also features an original score by The Blackbyrds.
“Power: The Complete Second Season” is now available on DVD as a 3-disc set. The series picks up where it left off with James “Ghost” St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick), his wife Tasha (Naturi Naughton), first love Angela (Lela Loren), business partner Tommy (Joseph Sikora), and his former mentor, Kanan (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, who also is the executive producer). The third season premieres on Starz on a new night Sunday, July 17.
Premiering on Vimeo this Father’s Day, June 19 is “Daddy Don’t Go,” from executive producers Omar Epps and Malik Yoba. The film, directed by Emily Abt, illuminates the various socioeconomic pressures low-income fathers face and provides compelling portraits of men who persevere.
Ryan Simon’s documentary “The Black Jacket,” telling the story of ex-Black Panther Aquil Basheer’s revolutionary inner-city peace initiative, comes to DVD and Digital HD on June 21 from Virgil Films. Basheer’s teaching curriculum was recently adopted by the L.A. City Council and cities throughout the world.
CLIPPETTES: Common and Public Enemy’s Chuck D announced that they’re working together on a new track for the former’s upcoming 11th studio album, “Black America Again.”
Kashif & Friends with Meli’sa Morgan, Ray Parker Jr., the System, Howard Johnson, Deniece Williams and many others are at the Catalina Jazz Club June 17-18.
The life of Shirley Chisholm, the first woman to run for U.S. president, has been optioned by Anika Noni Rose (“Roots”) as a vehicle for her to produce and star in …
“Is That All There Is: A Tribute to Jerry Leiber” (who with Jerry Stoller) wrote rock and roll hits “Hound Dog”, “Kansas City,” “Love Potion No. 9” and “Stand by Me”) is happening on June 17 at Glendale’s Alec Theatre. Patrice Rushen, T.C. Carson, Alphonso Johnson, Corky Hale and Tricia Tahara lead the performers …
Also premiering this weekend is “Tom,” a world premiere stage adaptation of ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin,’ offering “a new look at the true grit of its title character” at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga …
NeNe Leakes: The App for iPhone and iPad is now available offering NE’mojis like “Bloop” and “Girl Bye!”; and a special Dressing Room feature that allows users to dress her with their choice of hairstyles, clothing outfits, shoes and accessories from her closet …
Monica, Luke James, Bilal, and “Empire” guest star V Bozeman headline this year’s free kick-off concert for the 2016 BET Experience on June 18 at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw’s Outdoor Promenade. June 23 marks the first of three BETX at L.A. Live arena shows at Staples pairing the controversial Katt Williams with Mike Epps …
Pete Rock & CL Smooth are playing the Troubadour on June 20 …
Broadway’s original “Dreamgirls”: Sheryl Lee Ralph, Loretta Devine and Jennifer Holliday are reuniting for a one-night only benefit concert on July 10 at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood. For info, visit: FordTheatres.org or ChrisIsaacsonPresents.com …
Devine is also featured in the just-released human trafficking drama, “Caged No More,” starring Kevin Sorbo (“Hercules”) and Debra Wilson (“MADtv”).
TC ON TV: June 17 – “Orange is the New Black” (Netflix): The complete fourth season!
June 18 – “The Haves and the Have Nots Binge-A-Thon” (OWN): Through June 21, at 9 p.m., leading into the third season of the network’s highest-rated series.
June 19 – “EJNYC” (E!): This “#RichKids of Beverly Hills” spin-off stars shrinking celebrity heir EJ Johnson, alongside his #Glamtourage – which includes sister Elisa Johnson, Samaria Smith, daughter of LL Cool J, and Persian real estate development heir Sanaz Panahi. Moves to Wednesdays on June 22.
June 21 – “Greenleaf” (OWN): Family megachurch drama directed by Clement Virgo (“The Book of Negroes”) has a fine cast including Keith David, Lynn Whitfield, GregAlan Williams, Lamman Rucker, Oprah Winfrey and a host of really beautiful people. Moves to Wednesdays the following evening.
June 22 – “Serena – The Other Side of Greatness” (Epix):Serena Williams narrates this eponymous documentary that takes a closer look at all sides of her life as an athlete-designer-businesswoman. “Unsung” (TV One): e-40
June 23 – “Queen of the South” (USA) Alice Braga (“I Am Legend”) stars in this series based on Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s global best-selling novel “La Reina Del Sur,” tells the powerful story of a woman unexpectedly lured into the drug trafficking trade.
TASTY QUIP: “And I do feel this, from my gut, that Trump will say pretty much anything to appeal to the lowest common denominator. In a way, it breaks my heart, because words have power.” – GREGORY PORTER to Jazziz
“Tasty Clips” is an entertainment column published in The Wave to update readers on the activities and accomplishments of black celebrities and artists in television, in music and at the movies. To reach Bill Vaughan, send email to email@example.com. He can also be reached on Twitter @tastyclips.