Roy Porter was my first big interview when I first started Night Journey Rewind. This drummer, composer, author was a very close friend of mine who has played and recorded with Jazz Legends such as;
C. Parker, H. Mcgree, M. Davis, T. Edward, the list goes on.
Roy Porter also was a historian focusing on the Bebop era, in Central ave Los Angeles, CA during the 1940's and 50's.
Porter was born in a small mining town, but moved to Colorado Springs with his mother at the age of 8, following the death of his father. He was
brought up there,
and subsequently attended Wiley College in Texas, where the trumpeter Kenny Dorham was one of his fellow students.
His early influences on drums were the swing era giants Gene Krupa and Chick Webb, and he began playing in rhythm and blues bands as a teenager. He moved to Los Angeles in 1944, where he played with guitarist Teddy Bunn's Spirits of Rhythm band, before linking up with the modernist quintet led by trumpeter Howard McGhee in 1945.
Bebop was just coming to fruition as a form at that time, and Porter was an enthusiastic convert to the new ways. His opportunity to link up with Charlie Parker arrived when Dizzy Gillespie brought a quintet from New York to play a famous residence at Billy Berg's club in Hollywood, which featured the saxophonist. Parker remained in Los Angeles after the trumpeter and his colleagues returned home, and began a series of recordings for the small independent record label run by record producer, Ross Russell, who also became the saxophonist's biographer.
Genuine bebop drummers were in short supply on the West Coast, and Porter was an obvious choice for the first session on 28 March, 1946, which yielded historic takes of "Ornithology", "A Night in Tunisia", "Yardbird Suite" and "Moose The Mooche".
Parker eventually returned to New York, while Porter continued to work with McGhee until 1947, and then with two more of the leading bebop musicians on the west coast, Teddy Edwards and Dexter Gordon (including a stint with the tenor saxophonist in New York). He was a regular on the highly active after hours scene on Los Angeles's Central Avenue in the mid-40s, and in 1948 put together a highly ambitious modernist big band which included several emerging jazz greats in waiting, notably Chet Baker, Art Farmer, and Eric Dolphy, as well as Teddy Edwards, Jimmy Knepper, Herb Geller, and Harold Land.
We humbly invite you to sit back, relax and enjoy this interview with the late and great, a good friend Roy Porter.
Now Please sit back, relax and listen to the latest episode of Night Journey Rewind;
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Night Journey Rewind was co-founded and is produced by James Graves and Orion Brown.
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