Follow the band!
“In 2003, Seattle jazz singer, Stephanie Porter released her debut CD, Mood Swings. The CD presented Stephanie’s unmistakable voice, singing a selection of excellent songs from The Great American Songbook (like, Cheek To Cheek, Get Out Of Town and Misty). Her second CD, How Deep Is The Ocean, released in 2010, showed the world that she had grown tremendously as a singer and, here again, the songs on the disc were wonderfully-done standards. On her new CD, Radio Theatre, Stephanie Porter has taken a giant step forward. She is now composing her own material. The majority of the songs we hear on Radio Theatre were written by Stephanie, and she already sounds like a seasoned pro. It’s a classy set of songs that let us into Stephanie’s mind and heart. In this KPLU Studio Session, hosted by Abe Beeson, Steph sings two of her compositions from the new release and wraps up the show with a light-hearted, breezy version of the old Isham Jones/Gus Kahn standard, It Had To Be You. It’s always nice to hear time-tested songs like It Had To Be You, but it’s great to hear Stephanie Porter take another giant artistic step in what seems to be an unstoppable career. ” - KNKX PUBLIC RADIO
“Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes is pleased to present their third annual jazz festival featuring jazz guitarist Brian Nova. Attendees will enjoy performances in the Meadow and on Lakedale’s lodge deck overlooking beautiful Neva Lake. The festival is open to all ages. It is produced by Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes, and food will be provided by Tina’s Tacos.The performance lineup includes; Brian Nova Trio, Greta Matassa, Fred Radke, Stephanie Porter, Max Holmberg, Terry Miller, Primo Kim and Oliver Strasser with many more artists to be announced. ”
Tacoma Symphony Pantages Theater Symphony Sweethearts, Featuring: Jens Lindemann, trumpet Stephanie Porter, vocalist Pacific Lutheran University Jazz Ensemble David Deacon-Joyner, director
“Stephanie Porter is a world-class jazz vocalist who has toured France, England and Canada to name a few and released a good amount of music. Her latest release Radio Theatre is eclectic but unequivocally jazz. She mixes it up from fast paced, upbeat almost swing songs to a style you could imagine on a Christmas album to a sultry and seductive style you might imagine playing in a noir style jazz club.It doesn’t take long to recognize she has a great voice. There is strength in her voice even when she sings softly that provide a sense of solace. She is also quite dynamic in her range and knows to stress certain inflections and then when to hold back. The album starts with “He Thinks That I’m Wonderful” which is undeniable a passionate and sensual song. I don’t think that Porter could deny there are sexual, seductive undertones on this track. That being said it’s classy, refined and clean. The whole time the song was playing I was thinking Porter playing this in a dimly lit jazz club where everyone's attention was focused on her. I have to admit Jessica Rabbit also came to mind. Porter touts a similar vibe on “Into November” but things start to shift in “Around the World.” “Around the World” is a percussive heavy song has some textures and tones that you might not expect on a jazz album. ”Come Back To Me” was a personal highlight that worked on a faster BPM, a walking bass line and could work as a show tune. The song contains some fantastic jazz drumming and even has a short Gene Krupa style solo, which was certainly enjoyable. Something about the tempo and delivery on “Poor Little Child” made it sound like it could be on a Christmas album while “No More Blues” implements a Bossa Nova groove into mix. Great stuff. As the album progresses Porter continues to display diversity such as “Day Dreams” which make you feel like you are in Paris by combining accordion and “la la la’s.”Radio Theatre is a superbly produced and well-written record. At the end of the day it won’t convert those you who don’t have an appreciation for different jazz styles but if you do I think Radio Theatreis an album you will want to spend some time with. ” - Jamie Funk
“ Stephanie Porter’s release party for her new album Radio Theatre was a taste of everything you’d want to see and hear from a jazz singer. Treating Tula’s like her own house, she welcomed us to her art like a great hostess to the feast. And what a spread it was. With a full moon outside and heat radiating up from the pavement of a record-breaking Seattle summer, July 31 saw a sold-out crowd gathered for the awaited album. About halfway through her first set, she joked, “If I mess up, I can sparkle my dress and hypnotize you all tonight.” And sparkle and hypnotize she did. From her black velvet four-inch heels and silver sequin-studded dress that graciously clung to her curves, to her new blond tresses (a brunette for her last album, she joked that for her next one, she’d be a redhead), she was a shining vision. Opening with a smooth rendition of Frank Foster’s “Shiny Stockings,” Porter lyrically reinforced the entrancing display and plunged us into her album. Throughout the evening, Porter’s fans from over the years and newcomers to her sound were treated to her soulful tone, silky and effortless delivery, pitch-perfect sailing and gliding around every phrase with never a wrong turn. Her second song was a husky rendition of Barbra Streisand’s cover “Lover, Come Back to Me” by Romberg and Hammerstein. For the party, Porter joined forces with her usual skillful band and other guests. She was backed by Steve Yusen’s energetic drum work and Dan O’Brien’s bass playing, so creamy you could pour it in your coffee. Not only did we get to hear her go-to pianist, Darin Clendenin, supporting her with superb sensitivity and competence, but she brought up others whom she’s worked with over the years. Zyah Ahmonuel, a sort of Thelonious embodiment who seemed to operate a musical stream of consciousness as if every note was his last perfect thought, joined her for several songs, including one oft-played on KPLU, “How Deep Is the Ocean.” Next up, one of the arrangers for her album, Marius “Butch” Nordal, commanded the piano looking like everyone’s favorite college professor and sounding like he was inspired by all the jazz saints who have gone before him. Then Craig Hoyer, another arranger for her album, ponytail swinging, tore into the piano with an exuberance that would have brought those same saints back to listen, to capture just a little more joy. It was a unique moment to see all that talent, seated at the same back table, taking turns for their chance to spread their music, each a differently beautiful carpet, underneath Porter’s feet. One of the highlights off the album was the world music-influenced “Around the World.” Featuring accomplished percussionist Dan Adams, it inspired loud cheers from the audience, as her bossa nova, “No More Blues,” did too. “Right On Time,” a gospel blues, was another crowd pleaser, receiving a huge ovation. Not to go unmentioned was tenor sax and flute player Mike West, whose colorings on “Daydreams” were especially lovely. Early on in the concert, Porter stated that she was a “lazy singer.” Well if she’s lazy, the bar for “non-lazy” must be awfully high. But maybe her observation is the kind made when a gift is so much of who a person is that they are unimpressed with themselves. Porter says that even though this album is her first foray into writing music, she always had, and continues to have, constant melodies in her head. As a toddler, she says, “Before I spoke, I would sing.” She would call her parents to pick her up out of bed by singing a little tune, “la la loo loo.” Singing was so much a part of her, but coming from an extended family of successful instrumentalists, no one encouraged her to pursue it. Expected to become a concert pianist, she was sent to piano lessons at a young age – but she admits it wasn’t her instrument in the way that her voice is. So, her Aunt Lucy, a successful working pianist, would play and Porter would sing along, eventually learning many standards. She listened to all the great singers, but was especially influenced by a Northwest singer and activist, Pat Suzuki, who cut a few albums which Porter rates up there with Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. Inspired by other writers and deeply in love with her city, the Seattle native (she went to Garfield) expands on the artistic life and community here: “There’s so much creativity in his town.” She adds that, with all these creative people and the potential for collaboration, “There’s no reason we can’t have our own little Greenwich Village.” Now that she’s writing, she laughs that the writing bug has bit her, and her fans can expect her to keep writing. When asked about where she sees her career going, she points back to her role model, her Aunt Lucy. A passionate pianist, classically trained and addicted to jazz, at one point the piano in Lucy’s house had to be relegated to the stairwell and sat there, propped crookedly. Never deterred, she practiced it at a tilt, defying all those piano teachers’ constant admonitions to perfect posture. Lucy played out all the years of her life, carting her own gear and pulling the piano out of her trunk up to a few months before she passed at age 86. Porter says that music will always be in her, and she’ll follow in her aunt’s footsteps and in the footsteps of so many other musicians. She says, “They didn’t retire…like Ella and Sarah, they kept singing.” She adds, “You hope that life will allow you to have those opportunities.” And from a listener’s standpoint, we do too, Stephanie. We do too. Radio Theatre is available now on iTunes and CDBaby. More info at www.stephanieporter.com. ” - Jean Mishler
““ Who would have guessed that such a major song writing talent was to be found in Seattle? Each one is a vivid little tone-painting depicting contrasting slices of life...in her own originsl way, Steph is following the lead established decades ago in the Beatles Sgt. Pepper recording...blues to Latin to autumnal ballads...all rendered in emotionally vivid, 3-D and technicolor...with opulent harmonies to die for. "Radio Theater" it is indeed!” ”
— Marius Nordal/ pianist / composer/ arranger/ journalist/ educator