My music has always drawn from different genres and composing is my passion.
~ Greg Porée
Throughout his very productive career as a accompanyist, musical director, arranger-composer and producer, Greg Porée has made significant contributions to the music of dozens of show business legends. In recent times, the guitarist has finally stepped out into the limelight, recording three impressive CDs of his own.
Greg was born in Chicago and has lived in Southern California since he was seven and heard a lot of great music growing up. His father was from New Orleans, a Creole, and knew a lot of the earlier musicians including Sidney Bechet. His mother was more a fan of Ellington and Basie. Hearing Django Reinhardt and Segovia he fell in love with the guitar and started playing seriously when he was 15.
At 23 Greg received the first break in his career: The saxophonist Harold Battiste, one of his mentors, helped him land the position of musical director for the Sonny & Cher. From that point on, one job led to another. In 1970 he became the musical director for Gladys Knight and the Pips. Soon Greg was working with many of the Motown acts, serving as musical director and guitarist for Diana Ross, Thelma Houston and Syreeta Wright, also working with Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, the Four Tops, the Jackson 5 and other performers. “At Motown it was a matter of understanding what each artist needed and trying to make it happen. If someone needed new songs, a certain number of horns on a tune, or a new arrangement, it was up to me. It was a thrill to work with Stevie Wonder and challenging to work with Ray Charles. I also worked with Herbie Hancock when he was experimenting more with r&b and rock musicians.”
Greg Porée’s credits are pretty endless, he toured with Paul Anka, Sammy Davis Jr, Aretha Franklin and Isaac Hayes. Others he worked with include Michael Jackson, James Brown, Joan Baez, the 5th Dimension, Al Green, Albert King, Phoebe Snow, Dusty Springfield, Donald Byrd, Randy Crawford, Benny Golson, Stanley Turrentine and Ahmad Jamal. After Greg came off the road he did not slow down, becoming a top L.A. studio guitarist, appearing on a countless number of sessions.
By the late 1980s when he worked with singer Vinx, he was becoming more active as a producer. Greg, who wrote music for the Martin Lawrence Show, taught at the Henry Mancini Institute, and arranged for the National Symphony Orchestra, has quite simply had an astonishing career, with musical accomplishments that could have filled three lifetimes.
In 2004, Greg Porée was at a cross roads in his career. “Studio work had slowed down as the music business was changing. I had always been encouraged, especially by my kids, to start working on my own music, and I knew that it was finally time.” He recorded his debut album as a leader, ‘The Night Before‘. The concise performances put the emphasis on Porée’s acoustic classical guitar, strong melodies, and a relaxed and thoughtful atmosphere.
Next up was ‘Vertical Motion’ which has Greg on acoustic guitar interpreting a variety of standards including Dizzy Gillespie’s “A Night In Tunisia,” “Caravan,” “Autumn Leaves” and “Lullaby Of Birdland”. He interacts closely with his rhythm section, displays both a beautiful tone and impressive technique, and comes up with melodic variations that are both accessible and creative. “I grew up in an era when melody was a driving force in jazz and music in general, and it was important how it made you feel,” says Greg. “It was about the song and the great performances of the players.”
His love for strong melodies is prominent throughout his most recent CD, ‘Inventions‘. All of the songs are his originals, with “In Time For Spring”, co-written by the songwriter Frances Livings (who makes guest vocal appearances on that song and “Evidence”). The music ranges from Latin jazz to quiet ballads, most of it being impossible to classify as anything but high quality music. It is the type of infectious set of modern music that reveals new beauty and revelations each time it is played.
Greg Porée who has been the guitarist on the BBC hit show ‘Dancing With The Stars‘ since it’s first season, is still as enthusiastic about playing guitar as he was early in his life. “I enjoy performing and I play out regularly. Now that he is at last in the public eye, Greg Porée’s vast life experiences are resulting in a great deal of rewarding music. Currently he is the guitarist of Frances Livings’ Ipanema Lounge, which features an eclectic mix of sensual and enticing Mediterranean and Latin jazz, driven by creative and infectious Tango, Bossa Nova or Swing grooves.
His future projects are eagerly anticipated.