Jennifer Porter

Music Reviews

...It's amazing how an artist can conjure so much emotion with such precision. This is Jennifer's artistry...Great music can take you deep into your own soul and Jennifer's music is more than great...Jennifer is in the league of writers who reach deep within and create songs that ultimately help us define our own humanity...Get in line and get your copy of THESE YEARS. This is more than a collection of songs. It is a masterpiece. -PLEASEPASSTHEINDIE.com

“It is obvious that Jennifer has a beautiful voice, a real feeling for vintage lyrics and the ability to swing at every tempo… Audiences love her simple and effective delivery, her phrasing, and the beauty of her voice.” -Scott Yanow, author of ten books including The Jazz Singers

"Jennifer Porter’s strong and silky voice and picturesque lyrics create a sense of serenity…so light some candles, and settle down into relaxation…” -Sheri Dyer, Florida Newspapers

“Blessed with a beautiful voice and an infectious musical spirit... Jennifer simply swings, does not waste a note, and every sound she creates is lovely... (She) always uplifts the classic material she sings, making it sound both timeless and new.” –Scott Yannow author of The Jazz Singers

“Jennifer is wonderful!” –Mark Landesman, WWOZ, New Orleans, LA

"The singing, the musicianship, and song selections are outstanding!" - Bob Collins, WRHU, Hempstead, NY

"Wow!  VERY NICE!"  - Bob Bittner, WJIB, Boston, MA  

"This woman is a wonderful Jazz vocalist.  I thoroughly enjoyed her singing from a number of levels."  - Gary Alderman, WORT, Madison, WI

“Jennifer Porter is an incredibly talented woman. We are lucky to have someone of her caliber living right here in our own state where we can listen to her at any time.” –Chris Darling, WMPG, Portland, ME

“Jennifer Porter is a show-stopper!” -Maine Sunday Telegram

"Wow, what a voice!  Every time she approached the microphone to sing, a hush fell over the audience. No one wanted to miss a note.” -Casco Bay Weekly

“Jennifer Porter sings with beauty and grace.” -Journal Tribune

“A fantastic, beautiful voice..." -York County Star

Cadence Magazine

There is nothing innovative about JENNIFER PORTER’s EASY LIVING [Cougar Moon Music 004] but it is fresh. Ms. Porter has chosen her repertoire well [Easy Living/The Very Thought of You/Nice Work if You Can Get it/Crazy He Calls Me/But Not For Me/The Best Things in Life are Free/Gone With the Wind/Yesterdays/I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm/I Cover the Waterfront/Travlin’ Light/You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To/Where or When] as it complements her nice, somewhat smokey and distant, voice. And while she sings many of the songs associated with Billie Holiday there is no attempt to emulate her, she seems her own person. Her back-up [Sonny Barbato-p/Jim Lyden-b/Les Harris-dms/Matt Langley-sax/Jason Anick-vln/Vinny Raniolo-gtr] frequently steps out for solos that compliment the 1940s mood of the music. If you’re in the mood to be wooed it is a good bet this will do it.

Other JENNIFER PORTER recordings on Cougar Moon Music are HYACINTH BOY BLUE [77131], a collection of originals [circa 1997] in a mellow folkish pop vein backed by an acoustic quintet. Songs with impressionistic prose of wanting, introspection and love; touches of Joni Mitchell and Laurie Anderson.

A 2012 recording finds her again as a jazz singer on THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT [Cougar Moon Music 003]. Again the repertoire is standards [The Way You Look Tonight/There’s a Small Hotel/Sophisticated Lady/I’ll Get By/A Foggy Day/Don’t Explain/No Greater Love/Ain’t Misbehavin’/ I’m Beginning to See the Light/Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man/Rollin’ in My Sweet Baby’s Arms] many of them beautifully handled in fresh interpretation. As with Easy Living, Porter delivers this material with an effortless suspended sincerity. Porter backs herself on piano and is joined by a small and tasteful combo which includes, among others, saxman Matt Langley (who has been a regular with Charlie Kohlhase) Trent Austin[tpt] and Kevin Barry [gtr].

Jennifer Porter also appears, as singer and pianist, on 40 WEST [Cougar Moon 79344735112] the original motion picture soundtrack recording for which she both composed and performed the music. The offering is made up mostly of soul-full, blues-tinged, new age-y piano deliberations. This obviously is a multi-talented woman with a wide range of musical ability and deserves to be more on the radar. But as concerns this column it is her two jazz vocal recordings [CM 003 & 004]which deserve one’s attention as there is magnificence there.

 

Film Reviews & Awards

“Ida & Doob's simple and poignant piano score composed and performed by Porter is essential to the success of the film.” -Journal Tribune

“Jennifer Nichole Porter is GREAT!  (as Lila in Mr. Barrington)” -Indie Promos

“(In Mr. Barrington) Lila's strength playing against her frailty -- what a fine line to walk! Miz Jennifer is so talented and excruciatingly beautiful.  Haunting, etherial and earthy all at once.” -Lynn Siefert, playwright (LITTLE EGYPT, COYOTE UGLY) and screenwriter (COOL RUNNINGS, COUSIN' BETTE.)

“Mr. Barrington is a deeply introspective film with an intriguing premise and a strikingly sensitive performance 
by screenwriter/star, Jennifer Nichole Porter.” -Brunswick Times Record

“The story is intriguing, and the music haunting...Lila is portrayed by Porter with wonderful perfection” -Tom Keene, Casco Bay Weekly

“Ms. Porter's performance is flawless, and up with the best.” - Marty Meltz, Portland Press Herald

“Porter's score is beautiful.” - Christopher Smith, Bangor Daily News

"Lila is beautifully portrayed by the talented Jennifer Nichole Porter, who also wrote the screenplay and the hauntingly romantic piano score. Her acting is stunningly sympathetic." - Mary Whipple, Amazon.com

“Porter makes for a formidable, if deeply bruised heroine…Her Maeve displays a patiently watchful inner strength; even at her most vulnerable, she holds onto a coiled agency.” -Dennis Perkins, Imagine Magazine

Independent Music Awards Nominee - Best Jazz With Vocals Album, Easy Living

Prestige Film Festival – Winner!

Gold Award: Leading Actress

Gold Award: Original Score

Gold Award: Original Song (Skin and Bone)

Silver Award: Writer/Script

 

The Accolade Competition - Winner!

Award of Merit: Leading Actress

Award of Merit: Original Score

Jennifer Porter and The Glenn Miller Orchestra

{Performing with The Glenn Miller Orchestra was} singer Jennifer Porter who joined the band for several selections and sang as if she was right where she belonged. “Pennies From Heaven” was a highlight, with the singer employing her sweet upper range as a chorus of five clarinets filled in behind her. “What a Difference a Day Makes” had her digging deep into her soulful side. “I Won’t Dance” had the sometimes-actress getting playful as the band accentuated the spirit behind the lyrics.

PLEASEPASSTHEINDIE.com

Jennifer Porter - 'These Years"

November 2, 2018

Jennifer Porter is an award-winning musician, actor and screenwriter. Jennifer has sung with Classical and Jazz Orchestras including the world famous Glenn Miller Orchestra. She is also an accomplished Blues pianist who has played with C.J. Chenier, Nathan and The Zydeco Cha-Chas and Ils Sont Partis. Jennifer was the first vocalist in Maine inducted into the prestigious musical honor society, Pi Kappa Lambda, which recognizes excellence in both musical performance and academics. Her album Easy Living (2014), with Grammy-Winning producer, Lawrence Manchester, was nominated for a 2015 Independent Music Award in the Jazz With Vocals category, and was heard on jazz stations around the country, including KJAZZ in Los Angeles, WWOZ in New Orleans, and Public Radio International’s Jazz.  Jennifer has recorded 7 albums and will be releasing her newest album, “These Years,” recorded with Legendary producer Jay Newland, on December 7th.  “These Years” consists of five original songs by Jennifer and five covers of songs by The Rolling Stones, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, and Bobby Sharp.  Her five original songs are a remarkable contribution to the Roots/ R & B stage and include: Road to Redemption, These Years, My Secret Desire, Skin and Bone, and For You.
 

 “These Years” is a gorgeous song that opens up like a fine bottle of wine with a smooth and tasteful melodic guitar solo that Jennifer hums above.  Jennifer enters singing with an angelic tone that is mellow and inviting.  When she summits her alto range, the depth inside her soul resonates with a heart-warming timbre. As the song moves forward, she gently moves the listener’s emotions causing the most discerning music lover’s ears to wake up from the slumber of cookie cutter songs and enter her world of substance. “These eyes are beloved. How adored this face I see. How the lines marks acts of kindness and years of worry spent on me.”   “These Years” is about gratitude and redemption. A sax solo by Andy Snitzer picks up on the melodic content beautifully adding to the sultry flavor of the song.
 

“My Secret Desire” could be a jazz standard.  It is an enormous compliment to any writer to hear that others will want to cover their work and “My Secret Desire” sounds like it is already a classic.  It’s a mid-tempo song with a nice swing.  “I want to play the fool.  I want to make you smile.  I want to be the warm breeze sensuous and mild that billows through your heart as we make our way home.” There is a Smokey folk flavor in the mix and Charlie McCoy’s harmonica solo picks up on Jennifer’s roots sensibilities and brings it home.  His playing is so articulate and expressive that one could mistake his mouth harp for a wind instrument. This is some of the best harmonica playing I have ever heard.
 

“Skin and Bone” is a blues-rock number and Jennifer owns it. An old-school vibe is created by the masterful John Deley on keyboards. Mid-way through the song John plays a juicy keyboard solo that gets your body up and swaying. The keys are complemented by nice syncopated guitar and a walking bass line that holds it all together. A big kudos to the in-the-pocket rhythm section consisting of drummer Tony Mason and bassist Ira Coleman who glue everything together. Jennifer opens singing, “It’s criminal baby, how much it hurt to be with you.” Fans of jazz, roots, folk and blues will fall in love with Jennifer’s artistic interpretations that aim for subtle nuance.  In addition to the keyboard solo, Sherrod Barnes plays a swampy guitar solo that cuts through the thick mix. Skin and Bone is about feeling out of place in your own space and questioning your choices.

“For You” captures beauty from the first note to the last. Jennifer is in her element with a sultry, gorgeous ballad that you can hear the steam rise off of. There is something about her voice that is hard to put your finger on, but the word that comes to my mind is “pure.”  She can pull-off a tonal softness with tremendous strength and that is a hard thing to do.  Each verse starts with “For you.”  My favorite verse is “For you, I’ll forgive the world. And work at being kind. Week by week, I will see it through. For you, my dear. For you.“ It’s amazing how an artist can conjure so much emotion with such precision.  This is part of Jenifer’s artistry. She can get under your skin with subtle articulation. “For You” is a beautiful love song that will bring you to tears. Ultimately it is about a love strong enough to conquer the outside world and in today’s world that is powerful.

Great music can take you deep into your own soul and Jennifer’s “Road to Redemption” is more than great, it is a break out hit waiting to happen. “Broken down on the road to redemption so far from home. Lost my way. Fell to my knees. Now I’m lost on the road to redemption. Broke down on the road to redemption.“ Back-up vocals add excellent support giving the song a touch of gospel. The arrangement has such a nice, slow groove that the music feels like honey. My favorite song on the album, and one that can match any of the chosen cover songs, “Road to Redemption” is Grammy material and places Jennifer in the league of writers who reach deep within and create songs that ultimately help us define our own humanity.

Get in line and get your copy of “These Years.”  This is more than a collection of songs, it is a masterpiece.

For more information on Jennifer Porter, please visit her website

The Indie Spoonful

Jennifer Porter - "These Years"

November 6, 2018

Tree Fortin

Jennifer Porter is an award-winning musician, actor and screenwriter. She has sung with the world famous Glenn Miller Orchestra. As an accomplished blues pianist, she has played with C.J. Chenier, Nathan and The Zydeco Cha-Chas, and Ils Sont Partis.  She has  been heard on jazz radio including KJAZZ in Los Angeles, WWOZ in New Orleans and Public Radio International’s Jazz After Hours. No stranger to awards, Jennifer has received many accolades for her work including:  a nomination for a 2015 Independent Music Award in the  “Jazz with Vocals” category; The Accolade Competition (Award of Merit for Acting and Original Score), a Gold Prestige Awards for Acting and a Silver Prestige Award for Original Screenplay.  Jennifer starred in, and composed and performed the film score for BALLAD OF IDA AND DOOB (1999) and wrote, starred in, and composed and performed the film scores for the critically acclaimed MR. BARRINGTON (2003) now available in several languages, and the multiple award-winning 40 WEST (2011).  To date,  Jennifer has recorded 7 albums. Her latest release “These Years” consists of five original songs by Jennifer and five covers of songs by The Rolling Stones, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, and Bobby Sharp.  The title track is just one of many great performances..  

Putting yourself out there and revealing who you are when you are most vulnerable is an act of courage.  Doing it with grace, tenderness and artistic integrity is a triumph.  Jennifer Porter’s “These Years” achieves both.  “These Years” is a song about taking stock of how you treated a person you love and being honest with yourself.  “He smiles, and my heart breaks. How could I ever have caused him pain?”  After taking stock, if you realize that you have regrets and were not as kind as you should have been, then you vow to make changes and do better. “Oh time help me find a way to be forgiving. For these years have been unkind.”  In its’ essence, “These Years”, is Jennifer’s absolution; regret turned to self- forgiveness turned to love.  It is introspective, honest and compelling. 

So how does one communicate and share the complexity of emotions in “These Years”?  For Jennifer Porter, it is through vocal and song-writing refinement.  Jennifer's vocals capture complex feelings in a way that moves emotional mountains.  In “These Years,” her voice is soothing and beautiful as if she is caressing each word with such a tenderness that I would be surprised if listeners did not get a lump in their throat and tears in their eyes.  Jennifer knows that achieving this is not about belting it out, but about self-awareness as a singer because it comes from within and from excellent vocal technique and experience.  Communicating musically with great technique and turning that technique into something emotionally powerful yet subdued, refined and restrained is art.  Jennifer’s jazz-tinged R&B vocals are truly stellar.  She is an artist.

In addition to her powerful vocal delivery, the musicianship on “These Years” deserves recognition. “These Years” was produced by the legendary Jay Newland.  The musicians on the song include John Deley - keyboards; Adam Levy - guitar; Ira Coleman - bass; Tony Mason - drums; and Andy Snitzer on Saxophone.  The fine musicians on this song know how to create a groove, make an instrument weep and support a singer of Jennifer’s caliber.

“These Years” is just one of the amazing songs that can move mountains on Jennifer Porter's stand-out new CD.   To learn more about Jennifer Porter, please visit her website.

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