Photo: Gregory Porter @ Town Hall, NYC – Feb 14

 

Photos by Victoria Ford/Sneakshot

Lucky couples and singles alike packed the room at Town Hall in New York City Friday night for a triple threat of performers. Starting the show were up and coming local talents, Chris Turner and Jennah Bell who performed a spine-tingling bluesy/folk inspired set together. And the minute the incomparable Gregory Porter reached the stage, he was greeted with a standing ovation.

The jovial singer engaged the audience with jokes sprinkled throughout the set, stories about his mother, and mounds of praise and appreciation for all the love in the room that night. The vocals were no less than what you’d hope for – strong, deep, and steeped in emotion and vulnerability. The set spanned music from all three of his albums, including popular songs “1960 What?,” “Liquid Spirit,” and “Be Good (Lion’s Song).”

Throwback Thursday: Leon Thomas & the JB’s @ SOB’s – June 20 & 21, 1990

 

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For this week’s Throwback Thursday, Giant Step President/CEO Maurice Bernstein takes us back to the very first Groove Academy show with Leon Thomas and The JB’s in June 1990.

This was the very first Groove Academy show. Before I started working with my original partner, Jonathan Rudnick, I was doing clubs and parties in New York. And where possible, I tried to incorporate live music into my events. There were really only a couple of nightclub venues that had the live music capability, though – MK and Nell’s.

I’d often fly around on my roller skates to drop off show flyers promoting my parties. During one of my runs, a friend of mine who owned a boutique in the East Village told me about a musician friend of hers who looking to make a comeback. And once she told me her friend was Leon Thomas, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. Leon was a jazz singer who’d worked with artists like Pharoah Sanders and Santana. He also had his own albums on the Flying Dutchman label in the 1970s, but you really needed to be a bit of a crate digger to know who he was.

Read the rest after the jump

Grand Lady of Cuban Music – Omara Portuondo – Saturday

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The early 90s saw Omara Portuondo trying to retire from the limelight of Cuban music and settle into a relaxed existence, but after she was featured in The Buena Vista Social Club documentary there was no turning back. The singer released, to international acclaim, The Buena Vista Social Club Presents Omara Portuondo re-enforcing her status as one of the greatest things to reach us from Cuba (arguably since Mojitos).

The Gracias Tour featuring piano virtuoso Roberto Fonseca will be reaching New York City this Saturday, February 27 at Town Hall. This is a rare opportunity for you to catch some of the best Cuban music, so buy your tickets now.

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