I took these photographs at Glastonbury Festival, West Holts Stage, 2015. They are of jazz singer Gregory Porter who provided a stellar performance. Porter moved to Brooklyn in 2004. He worked as a chef at a restaurant, where he also performed, as well as at other neighbourhood venues before moving on to Harlem club St. Nick’s Pub, where he maintained a weekly residency. He released two albums on the Motéma label, 2010s Water and 2012s Be Good, before signing with Blue Note Records in May 2013. His third album, Liquid Spirit, was released in September 2013. The album won the 2014 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album and enjoyed commercial success rarely achieved by albums in the jazz genre, reaching the top 10 on the UK album charts. It was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry selling over 100,000 units in the UK alone.The track 1960 what? is taken from the 2010 album Water.
Take a bit of the British music hall comedian Max Miller who was generally regarded as the greatest comic of his time. Blend with a touch of Gene Vincent, infuse with musical influences including jazz, rock and roll, funk, and reggae, Then overlay with poetry, word play, observations of everyday life, character sketches, and sexual humour. You end up with Ian Dury and the Blockheads. I was asked recently, “if I could bring a musician back from the depth of death to play a one off concert who would its be?” I ponder for a while and mentally went through the options Lennon, Marley, Joplin, Gaye, Mayfield, Hendrix, Cash, Morrison, etc. I settled for Ian Dury. After accidentally stumbling across his bio film, Sex and Drugs and Rock n Roll it just reinforced what a special talent he was and that he never failed to make me smile. If you are unlucky enough not to have come across his classic album New Boots and Panties (1977) then it comes highly recommended. A masterclass. Dury died of metastatic colorectal cancer on 27 March 2000, aged 57. An obituary in The Guardian read: “one of few true originals of the English music scene” I wholeheartedly agree.
When touring Louis Armstrong wrote constantly, sharing favorite themes of his life. He avidly wrote on whatever stationery was at hand, recording instant takes on music, sex, food, childhood memories, his heavy “medicinal” marijuana use and even his bowel movements, which he gleefully described in graphic detail. He had a fondness for lewd jokes and dirty limericks. He made frequent use of laxatives as a means of controlling his weight, a practice he advocated both to personal acquaintances and in the diet plans he published under the title “Lose Weight the Satchmo Way”. His laxative of preference a herbal remedy called Swiss Kriss. He would extol its virtues to anyone who would listen and pass out packets to everyone he encountered, including members of the British Royal Family. He also appeared in cards that he had printed to send out to friends. The cards bore a picture of him sitting on a toilet, as viewed through a keyhole, with the slogan “Satch says, ‘Leave it all behind ya!'”