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Lewis & Clark Music Faculty Member Nominated for Grammy Award

December 01, 2017

Lewis & Clark music faculty member, Instructor of Jazz Piano Randy Porter, has received a Grammy nomination for his album Porter Plays Porter With Nancy King. This project is a mix of swing, harmony, and lyrical adventure featuring Portland vocalist and two-time Grammy nominee Nancy King.  

In the spirit of Cannonball Adderley and Nancy Wilson, tunes featuring Nancy King are interspersed with instrumental tracks featuring the Randy Porter Trio. The vehicle for improvisation is the master songwriter Cole Porter, with the exception of “Inside Your Mind,” a beautiful song written by Randy Porter. Legendary vocalist Nancy King joins the Randy Porter Trio: Randy, piano; John Wiitala, bass; and Todd Strait, drums.

The nomination came as a surprise to many because the album is not well known outside of the Northwest, Randy Porter acknowledges. “I’m excited and grateful that our Portland-area efforts were recognized by the Academy (in spite of my lack of promotional abilities). Thanks to all the people who supported Porter Plays Porter With Nancy King.”  

At age 77, Nancy King is a vocal jazz legend beloved for her improvisation, scat singing, swing, and masterful delivery of her songs. Her recording credits include Ray Brown, Fred Hersch, and the Metropole Orchestra. Bay Area bassist John Wiitala and former Portland drummer Todd Strait (who currently resides in Kansas City) round out the group.

Randy Porter studied with Fred Hersch at the New England Conservatory and has performed with many jazz greats, including Freddy Hubbard, Art Farmer, and Benny Golson. He currently performs with Charles McPherson, Madeline Eastman, the New York Voices, Rebecca Kilgore and Nancy King. Writer, critic, and radio host Lynn Darroch observes that “Porter has built a reputation as a musician’s musician, a knowledgeable, inventive, and sophisticated player with a remarkable sense of time and gorgeous keyboard facility.”  

Porter is a faculty member at Lewis & Clark College where he has taught jazz piano for 20 years.

The 60th Grammy Awards will be held in New York City on January 28, 2018. Porter and King’s competition for Best Vocal Jazz Album include Raul Midon, Cecile McLorin Salvant, The Baylor Project, and Jazzmeia Horn.