About

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…”

Nominated for the 60th Grammy Awards, Randy’s recent release Porter Plays Porter with Nancy King is a mix of swing, wit, harmony and lyrical adventure.  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 ballad written by Randy Porter. Legendary vocalist Nancy King joins the Randy Porter Trio:  Randy, piano; John Wiitala, bass; and Todd Strait on drums.

Randy Porter 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.  With the Charles McPherson Quartet, he has traveled throughout the US and in 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.

Randy Porter has toured Europe with bassist David Friesen and has performed on several recordings with Friesen. Friesen’s 2001 Trio CD, Name of a Woman, received 4 stars from Downbeat in June of 2002 and featured Porter as pianist and composer. 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. 

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.

Porter’s compositions and arrangements can be heard on his own recordings: Porter Plays Porter with Nancy King, John Wiitala on bass, Todd Strait on drums; Thirsty Soul, with John Wiitala on bass and Reinhardt Melz and Todd Strait on drums; Brio, also featuring John Wiitala and Reinhardt Melz; Modern Reflections with Nancy King on vocals, Leroy Vinnegar on bass and Mel Brown on drums; and Eight Little Feet with Bob Magnusson on bass and Joe LaBarbera on drums. 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.

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 at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

What The Critics Say

“Randy!!!  Your CD is glorious..really beautiful.  Nancy King sounds like a bad ass Queen. Your arrangements and playing are gorgeous and your band is swinging deep too.”  

-Kate McGarry, 9/2017

 

Nancy King brings her own warmth and individual phrasing to such songs as “I Concentrate On You,” “Just One Of Those Things” and “All Of You,” sounding very much in her musical prime. 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 with Nancy King

 

“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
  • Madeline Eastman
  • Rebecca Kilgore
  • Dave Tull
  • Gino Vannelli
  • Maria Schneider
  • Dave Valentine
  • Joe Diorio
  • Terrell Stafford
  • Louisville Symphony
  • Cleveland Chamber Orchestra
  • Nancy King
  • Kenny Washington
  • David Friesen
  • Leroy Vinnegar
  • Bob Magnusson
  • Joe LaBarbera
  • Eddie Daniels
  • Harold Land
  • Victor Lewis
  • Steve Wilson
  • Oregon Symphony
  • New York Voices
  • Karryn Allison
  • Diane Schuur
  • Anita O’Day
  • Sheila Jordan
  • Ingrid Jensen
  • Stephane Grapelli
  • Arturo Sandoval
  • San Diego Ballet
  • San Diego Symphony

Awards

  • 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, and jazz history at Lewis and Clark College 2003-2004. Porter is currently adjunct faculty at Lewis and Clark College. He conducts jazz workshops in his studio several times a year.

Selected Discography

Jazz

Gospel