Jazz pianist Randy Porter has a refined understanding of improvisation and the spontaneous communication between musicians. As a Steinway Artist, Randy Porter draws from a rich palette of sonorities found within his imagination and the depths of the piano. Lynn Darroch of The Oregonian states, “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…”

RP by Andy Mogg 2009

Porter Plays Frishberg Unsung, a tribute album to songs by Dave Frishberg, will be released in 2020.  Randy Porter is on piano, John Wiitala is on bass, and Todd Strait is on drums. Porter arranged, performed, engineered, mixed, and mastered this project at HeavyWood Studio. The Randy Porter Trio was also nominated for the 60th Grammy Awards for the album, Porter Plays Porter with Nancy King.

Randy Porter has performed with many jazz greats, including Freddy Hubbard, Art Farmer, Benny Golson and Charles McPherson.  With the Charles McPherson Quartet, he has traveled throughout the US and in Denmark, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, and China. The Charles McPherson Quartet has re-created the music from the classic recording Charlie Parker with Strings, performing with many orchestras nationwide. Porter has also performed McPherson’s Sweet Synergy Suite with the San Diego Ballet. Porter played piano, produced, mixed and mastered the recording of Charles’ original ballets Sweet Synergy Suite and Song of Solomon, to be released in 2020.

Musical highlights include performing at Kimball’s with Art Farmer and Clifford Jordan, Lincoln Center and Kennedy Center with Diane Schuur, Seattle’s Jazz Alley with New York Voices, concerts at Yoshi’s in San Francisco with Madeline Eastman, Karrin Allyson and Rebecca Kilgore, The House of Blues in Chicago and BB King’s Blues Club in NYC with Gino Vannelli, the Monterey Jazz Festival with Madeline Eastman, the Chicago and Detroit Jazz Festivals with Charles McPherson, and the Portland and Montavilla Jazz Festivals with Nancy King.

Porter’s compositions and arrangements can be heard on his own recordings: Porter Plays Porter with Nancy King, Thirsty Soul, Brio, Modern ReflectionsEight Little Feet. Samples of Porter’s writing and playing can be found on Apple’s iLife jingles. Porter also composed the music for the 2009 documentary, Deep Green.

Randy Porter has toured Europe with bassist David Friesen and has performed on several recordings with Friesen. Porter considers Midnight Mood: Live in Stockholm to be one of their strongest albums. Porter has also recorded, performed, and toured worldwide with singer Gino Vannelli; Porter’s pianistic contributions can be heard on Vannelli’s CDs, Yonder Tree, Slow Love and Canto. 

Porter has been a performer and educator at the Jazz Camp West, the Port Townsend Jazz Festival, and the Stanford Jazz Workshop where he has coached many young jazz musicians.  Porter teaches master classes and adjudicates student combos and bands at highschool and college jazz festivals. Currently, Porter teaches jazz piano and jazz theory at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon and is quickly becoming a master at giving online lessons.

What The Critics Say

“Throughout the disc, the three (Porter, Wiitala, Strait) display their undeniable musical virtuosity, and sparkle with a sense of joy within the music.”  

-Paul Rauch, All About Jazz 6/2020 Review of Porter Plays Frishberg Unsung

“For his Dave Frishberg tribute, (Porter) has become the first musician to record a full instrumental set of Frishberg compositions.”

– Scott Yanow, LA JazzScene 7/2020 Review of Porter Plays Frishberg Unsung

“(Porter Plays Porter) is glorious…really beautiful…(the) arrangements and playing are gorgeous and (the) band is swinging deep too.”  

-Kate McGarry, 9/2017

“The (Porter Plays Porter) album is gorgeous! (The) playing and arranging are sublime!”

-Tierney Sutton, 12/2017

(Porter) delivers the goods. His modern interpretations of eight Porter classics (plus one worthy Randy Porter original) are dazzlingly accomplished.

– Allen Morrison, Downbeat 1/2018 Review of Porter Plays Porter

Porter’s… solos are swinging, boppish and full of subtle creativity while keeping the melodies in mind. Wiitala and Strait are excellent in support of the lead voices.

-Scott Yanow, LA JazzScene 12/2017 Review of Porter Plays Porter

“Pianist Randy Porter is equally superb here (A Quiet Thing CD). He is the perfect complement and compliment to (Madeline) Eastman’s unique interpretations. His breadth of touch and dynamics mirror and enhance Eastman and never detract or distract. His harmonic range is pure Impressionistic palette. His is a consistently intelligent, cooperative approach in every manner. Porter’s accompaniment could be played alone and it would shine as a Equatorial sun.”

–Nicholas F. Mondello, All About Jazz, CD Reviews 3/8/2013

“. . . Porter’s superb technical facility allows him to weave tricky meters and clever cross-rhythms into a spirited, organic whole that emerges simply as beautiful music. “

– Lynn Darroch, The Oregonian 7/08

“…Randy Porter, an exceptional pianist whose grace and grit should win him many new friends. Listen!”

– Chuck Berg

“(Randy Porter is). . . possessed of a fabulous technical command of his instrument, which in his case manifests itself not so much in rapid and glitzy runs as in subtler pianistic virtues: gorgeous touch, remarkable independence of left and right hands, and seemingly effortless execution of his harmonically rich musical outpourings.”

– Glen Good

“…what really sets the vocals off in a whole other plane is the impressive band of musicians that (Diane) Schuur has corralled. Randy Porter (pianist) and Dan Balmer (guitar) provide the perfect backdrop, one that highlights Schuur’s vocals at all the right times while not overtaking the most nuanced sections of “Some Other Time.”

-James McQuiston, Neufutur Magazine 2/17/2008

“The phrase that hooked me comes at the hands of pianist Randy Porter… As a soloist, Porter is soulful and intelligent.”

– Jason West

“I’m impressed with Randy’s great confidence, a confidence that allows the music to breathe deeply.”

– Chuck Berg, Downbeat; Jazz Times; American Music

Performing Experience

Randy Porter has appeared with the following artists:

  • Charles McPherson
  • Art Farmer
  • Freddy Hubbard
  • Benny Golson
  • Clifford Jordan
  • Eddie Vinson
  • Tootie Heath
  • Terri Lynn Carrington
  • Wynton Marsalis
  • Dayna Stephens
  • Todd Strait
  • Madeline Eastman
  • Rebecca Kilgore
  • Dave Tull
  • Gino Vannelli
  • Maria Schneider
  • Dave Valentine
  • Joe Diorio
  • Terrell Stafford
  • Louisville Symph
  • Cleveland Chamber Orchestra
  • John Wiitala
  • Nancy King
  • Kenny Washington
  • David Friesen
  • Leroy Vinnegar
  • Bob Magnusson
  • Joe LaBarbera
  • Eddie Daniels
  • Harold Land
  • Victor Lewis
  • Steve Wilson
  • Oregon Symphony
  • Lewis Nash
  • New York Voices
  • Karryn Allison
  • Diane Schuur
  • Anita O’Day
  • Sheila Jordan
  • Ingrid Jensen
  • Stephane Grapelli
  • Arturo Sandoval
  • San Diego Ballet
  • San Diego Symphony


  • Grammy Nomination for Porter Plays Porter with Nancy King, Best Vocal Jazz Album, 60th Awards, 2017
  • The Jazz Monsters Hall of Fame, Soka University of America, 2011
  • 4 stars in the June 2002 Downbeat for the David Friesen Trio CD, The Name of a Woman
  • Winner of the 1999 Jazziz and Newport Jazz Piano Competition
  • Member of the Steinway Concert Artists roster, beginning 1998
  • One of ten winners of the 1995 Jazziz “Keyboards on Fire” Competition
  • Finalist in the 1986 Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition

Teaching Experience

Randy has adjudicated, taught master classes, and been a featured performer in college festivals, clinics, and summer workshops throughout the nation, including the Stanford Jazz Workshop, the Port Townsend Jazz Workshop, Jazz Camp West, Reno Jazz Festival and others. Porter has taught jazz piano, arranging and improvisation classes at University of Nevada, Reno,96-98, University of Oregon 2000-2001, jazz history at Lewis and Clark College 2003-2004, and jazz theory at Lewis and Clark College 2017-2018. Porter is currently adjunct faculty at Lewis and Clark College.

Selected Discography