Randy Porter is well known for his fine jazz piano performance. Porter credits Dr. Frank Marks at Humboldt State University for his classical training and musical inspiration. His jazz teachers at New England Conservatory, Fred Hersch and Jaki Baird, along with Art Lande and Butch Lacey, also enhanced his musical scope. As a Steinway Artist, Randy draws from a rich palette of sonorities found within his imagination and the depths of the piano. As a jazz musician, Porter has a refined understanding of improvisation and the spontaneous communication between musicians.
Porter has performed with many jazz greats, including Freddy Hubbard, Art Farmer, Benny Golson and Charles McPherson. Porter has toured with the Charles McPherson Quartet throughout the US and in China, Italy and Greece, also performing as McPherson’s sideman at the Chicago and Detroit Jazz Festivals. In addition, the Charles McPherson Quartet has re-created the music from the classic recording Charlie Parker with Strings, performing with many orchestras nationwide.
Porter’s varied musical experiences include performing at Seattle’s Jazz Alley with New York Voices, Yoshi’s in San Francisco with Karrin Allyson, Rebecca Kilgore and Anton Schwartz, Kimball’s with Art Farmer and Clifford Jordan, the Hollywood Bowl with Diane Schuur, the Monterey Jazz Festival and the San Jose Jazz Festival with Madeline Eastman, and appearances with the Oregon Symphony. Porter has been a performer and educator at the Port Townsend Jazz Festival for many years where he has played with Ingrid Jensen, Terrell Stafford, Bud Shank and Maria Schneider. He has also worked several years at the Stanford Jazz Workshop and Jazz Camp West with Madeline Eastman. He has recorded, performed, and toured with singer Gino Vannelli; Porter’s pianistic contributions can be heard on Vannelli’s CD’s, Yonder Tree, Slow Love and Canto. In 2006 Porter served as a band member on Gino Vannelli’s Canadian and US tours, playing in such venues as The Detroit Music Hall, The House of Blues in Chicago, and BB King’s Blues Club in NYC.
In addition, he has frequently toured Europe with bassist David Friesen and performed on Friesen’s 2004 CD, Live in Stockholm and the 2005 CD, House of Jade (recorded in Poland). 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’s own recordings include Brio, with John Wiitala on bass and Reinhardt Melz on drums, 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. Porter’s solo piano artistry can be heard on his Christmas CD, A Midnight Clear. Porter’s latest CD, Thirsty Soul, was released in 2008.