A Celebration of Art Porter Sr. tonight at the Ron Robinson Theater

Arthur Lee (Art) Porter Sr. was a pianist, composer, conductor, and music teacher. His musical interest spanned from jazz to classical and spirituals.

Tonight at the CALS Ron Robinson Theatre, Arkansas Sounds is hosting a special presentation of rare video and audio clips and photographs, as well as a panel discussion celebrating the continued legacy and eighty-fifth birthday of Arkansas pianist, composer, conductor, and music teacher Art Porter Sr. This event is co-sponsored by AETN.

Admission is free, but reservations are suggested. They can be made here.

Born on February 8, 1934 in Little Rock, he began his music education at home. He played in church at age eight; played his first recital at twelve; and, by fourteen, hosted a half-hour classical music radio program on KLRA-AM. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Arkansas AM&N College (now UAPB) in May 1954.

He began his teaching career at Mississippi Valley State University in 1954.  When he was drafted into the Army, his musical talents were responsible for him being assigned as a chaplain’s assistant in New York.  In the late 1950s he returned to Little Rock and taught at Horace Mann High School, Parkview High School and Philander Smith College.

He also started playing piano jazz in the evenings. This led to the creation of the Art Porter Trio, which became THE music group for events.  Many musicians who came to Arkansas to perform in Little Rock or Hot Springs would often stop by and join in with Porter as he played.  From 1971 to 1981 he hosted The Minor Key musical showcase on AETN.  His Porterhouse Cuts program was shown in 13 states.

Often encouraged to tour, he instead chose to stay based in Arkansas.  He did, from time time, perform at jazz or music festivals.   He also performed classical piano with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, founded the Art Porter Singers, and created a music group featuring his four oldest children.  Though Porter received many honors and awards, he found particular satisfaction in the “Art Porter Bill” enacted by the state legislature, which allowed minors to perform in clubs while under adult supervision. Porter’s children thus were able to perform with him throughout the state. Governor Bill Clinton, at the time a huge fan and friend of Porter, often joined Porter’s group on his saxophone.

In January 1993, Porter and his son Art Porter, Jr., performed at festivities in Washington DC for the Presidential Inauguration of his friend Bill Clinton.  In July 1993, he died of lung cancer.  Today his legacy lives on in the Art Porter Music Education Fund as well as in the lives of the many musicians and fans he touched.  He was posthumously inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1994.

Black History Month – Art Porter Sr. and Robinson Center

bhm art srArthur Lee (Art) Porter Sr. was a pianist, composer, conductor, and music teacher. His musical interest spanned from jazz to classical and spirituals.  One of the new event spaces in the Robinson Conference Center is named in his memory.

Born on February 8, 1934 in Little Rock, he began his music education at home. He played in church at age eight; played his first recital at twelve; and, by fourteen, hosted a half-hour classical music radio program on KLRA-AM. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Arkansas AM&N College (now UAPB) in May 1954. The next year, he married Thelma Pauline Minton. Following his marriage, he pursued graduate study at the University of Illinois, University of Texas and Henderson State University.

He began his teaching career at Mississippi Valley State University in 1954.  When he was drafted into the Army, his musical talents were responsible for him being assigned as a chaplain’s assistant in New York.  In the late 1950s he returned to Little Rock and taught at Horace Mann High School, Parkview High School and Philander Smith College.

He also started playing piano jazz in the evenings. This led to the creation of the Art Porter Trio, which became THE music group for events.  Many musicians who came to Arkansas to perform in Little Rock or Hot Springs would often stop by and join in with Porter as he played.  From 1971 to 1981 he hosted The Minor Key musical showcase on AETN.  His Porterhouse Cuts program was shown in 13 states.

Often encouraged to tour, he instead chose to stay based in Arkansas.  He did, from time time, perform at jazz or music festivals.   He also performed classical piano with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, founded the Art Porter Singers, and created a music group featuring his four oldest children.  Though Porter received many honors and awards, he found particular satisfaction in the “Art Porter Bill” enacted by the state legislature, which allowed minors to perform in clubs while under adult supervision. Porter’s children thus were able to perform with him throughout the state. Governor Bill Clinton, at the time a huge fan and friend of Porter, often joined Porter’s group on his saxophone.

In January 1993, Porter and his son Art Porter, Jr., performed at festivities in Washington DC for the Presidential Inauguration of his friend Bill Clinton.  In July 1993, he died of lung cancer.  Today his legacy lives on in the Art Porter Music Education Fund as well as in the lives of the many musicians and fans he touched.  He was posthumously inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1994.

RobinsoNovember: Art Porter Sr.

bhm art srAs part of the new Robinson Center, nine Little Rockians (Little Rockers?) have been enshrined by having spaces in the building named after them.  One of those is Art Porter Sr.

Arthur Lee (Art) Porter Sr. was a pianist, composer, conductor, and music teacher. His musical interest spanned from jazz to classical and spirituals.

Born on February 8, 1934 in Little Rock, he began his music education at home. He played in church at age eight; played his first recital at twelve; and, by fourteen, hosted a half-hour classical music radio program on KLRA-AM. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Arkansas AM&N College (now UAPB) in May 1954. The next year, he married Thelma Pauline Minton. Following his marriage, he pursued graduate study at the University of Illinois, University of Texas and Henderson State University.

He began his teaching career at Mississippi Valley State University in 1954.  When he was drafted into the Army, his musical talents were responsible for him being assigned as a chaplain’s assistant in New York.  In the late 1950s he returned to Little Rock and taught at Horace Mann High School, Parkview High School and Philander Smith College.

He also started playing piano jazz in the evenings. This led to the creation of the Art Porter Trio, which became THE music group for events.  Many musicians who came to Arkansas to perform in Little Rock or Hot Springs would often stop by and join in with Porter as he played.  From 1971 to 1981 he hosted The Minor Key musical showcase on AETN.  His Porterhouse Cuts program was shown in 13 states.

Often encouraged to tour, he instead chose to stay based in Arkansas.  He did, from time time, perform at jazz or music festivals.   He also performed classical piano with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, founded the Art Porter Singers, and created a music group featuring his four oldest children.  Though Porter received many honors and awards, he found particular satisfaction in the “Art Porter Bill” enacted by the state legislature, which allowed minors to perform in clubs while under adult supervision. Porter’s children thus were able to perform with him throughout the state. Governor Bill Clinton, at the time a huge fan and friend of Porter, often joined Porter’s group on his saxophone.

In January 1993, Porter and his son Art Porter, Jr., performed at festivities in Washington DC for the Presidential Inauguration of his friend Bill Clinton.  In July 1993, he died of lung cancer.  Today his legacy lives on in the Art Porter Music Education Fund as well as in the lives of the many musicians and fans he touched.  He was posthumously inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1994.

Jazz Musician Gerald Albright closes 2015 A Work of Art Jazz Week tonight at 7 with a concert at Wildwood

Gerald-Albright-Master-Saxman-PhotoMultiple Grammy nominee Gerald Albright will close out the 2015 “A Work of Art” Jazz Week with a concert tonight at Wildwood Park at 7pm.

“A Work of Art” is the primary fundraiser for the Art Porter Music Education scholarship program. All proceeds from the week-long fundraiser benefit the scholarship fund. “A Work of Art” concludes in early August in observance of the birth month of Art Porter, Jr. Attendees enjoy a week of unique educational experiences by an impressive group of local artists, music students and national recording artists.

Ticket information is available at www.artporter.org.

One of the biggest stars of R&B, contemporary and straight-ahead jazz, Gerald Albright has earned his reputation as a “musician’s musician.” During the ’80s, Albright became a highly requested session musician, playing on albums by a wide variety of artists – including Anita Baker, Lola Folana, Olivia Newton-John, and the Temptations. He also toured extensively with Quincy Jones, Whitney Houston and many others. Albright also went on to record numerous successful solo albums for Atlantic Records. Two albums hit the number one slot on Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz Chart and were nominated for GRAMMY® Awards in 1989 and 1990.

Albright was selected to be one of 10 saxophonists to play at President Clinton’s inauguration ceremony. Along the way, he has sold over a million albums in the U.S. alone and has appeared on nearly 200 albums by other artists.  Albright released Pushing The Envelope in June 2010. In December 2010, it received a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Album. His 20102 album 24/7 was nominated for a GRAMMY® Award in the category of Best Pop Instrumental Album.  On August 5, 2014, Albright releases Slam Dunk. In December 2014, it earned a GRAMMY® nomination in the Best Contemporary Instrumental Album category.

The Porter Players Jam Session is tonight for 2015 “A Work of Art” Jazz Week

2015 awoa porter jamAn important part of jazz is collaboration and improvisation.  Tonight, as part of 2015 “A Work of Art” Jazz Week, the Porter Players will have a jam session at The Afterthought.  This free event starts at 8pm and goes until……..

“A Work of Art” is the primary fundraiser for the Art Porter Music Education scholarship program. All proceeds from the week-long fundraiser benefit the scholarship fund. “A Work of Art” concludes in early August in observance of the birth month of Art Porter, Jr. Attendees enjoy a week of unique educational experiences by an impressive group of local artists, music students and national recording artists.

Ticket information is available at www.artporter.org.

The rich vocals of Cynthia Scott highlight tonight’s “A Work of Art” concert for 2015 Jazz Week

2015 awoa ScottEl Dorado native Cynthia Scott brings her vocal prowess to Little Rock tonight (July 30) for the 2015 “A Work of Art” Jazz Week.  She will be performing her blend of swing, soul, and jazz at 7pm and 9pm at Club Sway.

For three decades, the vocal artistry of the multi-talented Arkansas-born vocalist Cynthia Scott has encompassed the swing of jazz, the soul of blues, R&B, and the sacred stirrings of gospel music. She is loved by audiences from New York to Africa, Europe and Asia; by musicians from Wynton Marsalis to Ray Charles – who discovered her – and by jazz critics like the Chicago Tribune’s Howard Reich, who called her “a mesmerizing vocalist.”  A talented actress and playwright, she brings these skills to her singing as she uses each song to tell a story.

“A Work of Art” is the primary fundraiser for the Art Porter Music Education scholarship program. All proceeds from the week-long fundraiser benefit the scholarship fund. “A Work of Art” concludes in early August in observance of the birth month of Art Porter, Jr. Attendees enjoy a week of unique educational experiences by an impressive group of local artists, music students and national recording artists.

Ticket information is available at www.artporter.org.