A Jazz Singer for All Times

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Gregory Porter plays SFJAZZ Dec 8-10  (Photo: Courtesy of Gregory Porter)

Gregory Porter has the most beautiful baritone voice, and with it he makes great, soul-inflected jazz. He's recently released an album of Nat King Cole songs, called Nat King Cole and Me. Porter obsessed over Cole as a kid growing up in Bakersfield, and the music sounds both classic and fresh. But Porter is also a terrific songwriter. And like another role model, Bill Withers, Porter writes about his struggles against racism, always with a message of non-violence and love -- something he learned from his church organ playing mom. Porter may look a little goofy in his signature Kangol hat with earflaps, but his singing is sublime.  Details here.