Gregory Porter blew everybody away at the Monterey Jazz Festival last year with a powerful Sunday-night show. Warm, gentle and soulful, Porter has an easy Lou Rawls vibe, without the oiliness. Born in California, Porter came up singing in San Diego clubs while on a football scholarship at San Diego State University. In 1998, he came to the attention of saxophonist Kamau Kenyatta, who recruited Porter to sing on a Nat Cole tribute. An actor as well as a singer, the young artist joined the original Broadway cast of “It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues.” His first album, “Water” netted a Grammy nomination for best jazz vocal album and made several 2010 “best of” lists. Last year, Porter released a second album, “Be Good.” He plays at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave., Seattle; $24.50 (206-441-9729 or

Paul de Barros, Seattle Times jazz critic