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Greg Poree will be groovin' for a good cause

Guitarist and his musical colleagues from 'Dancing with the Stars' will perform a benefit concert for older jazz musicians.

October 05, 2012|By Kirk Silsbee
  • Guitarist Greg Poree provides musical direction for "Dancing with the Stars."
Guitarist Greg Poree provides musical direction for… (Tim Berger/Staff…)

If you leave a phone message for guitarist/composer/arranger Greg Porée on a Monday or Tuesday, don't be surprised if you have to wait for a return call. Those days are taken up with providing the musical direction to a little enterprise called “Dancing with the Stars.” The hours are long and stressful, and when they're over, he needs time to himself.

Drop into Andre Vener's welcoming Redwhite+Bluezz at 70 S. Raymond Ave. in Pasadena on a Wednesday night, though, and you'll find Porée and bassist Keith Jones providing engaging guitar-and-bass duets for the diners at that fine restaurant. It's a way for Porée to unwind and connect with his primary instrument (in a private moment, he'll shrug that he plays “arranger's piano”) in meaningful exchanges with a sympathetic collaborator in a relaxed setting.

His nylon-string guitar work operates at an intimate dynamic. Coupled with the contrabass, the confluence of warm tones and the classically informed jazz lines with flamenco flourishes make for an extra dimension of hospitality.

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Aside from his weekly television foray, Redwhite+Bluezz is Porée's most consistent public showcase; he's four years into this weekly residency, which he says he looks forward to.

“Most of us who play in restaurants,” Porée says from his home in Los Angeles, “know that this falls into the realm of ambience. But they let me play what I want here, and I've developed a following. There's a fine line between supplying music for the people and giving a real performance. But the atmosphere here is very easy, and I'd say about 60% of the people listen to the music with some scrutiny. We get a couple of nights here and there that are duds, but by and large, it's worth the schlep out here.”

Pasadena also figures into Porée's itinerary for another reason, as he is a frequent visitor to the home studio of trumpeter Nolan Shaheed. “He's one of my dearest and oldest friends,” Porée explains. “My wife and I started a recording label — Moontraxx. We license and get the music out, and we do all of our recording at Nolan's because it's very cost-effective.”

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