by Robert Bell
A WORK OF ART
Various times and venues. $20-$50.
The nonprofit offers scholarships to promising young Arkansas musicians. The elder Porter was a teacher and notable player in the Little Rock scene. The younger Porter grew up playing music and was in his father's band for years before striking out on a successful solo career, including several albums on PolyGram and Verve Records. His life and music career were tragically cut short in 1996, when he was killed in a boating accident in Thailand.
This week-long festival, which got started Monday, is in its second year. It's the primary fundraiser for the APME and includes concerts at several venues.
On Wednesday, Sway hosts shows at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. with Little Rock born bassist James Leary, who played with Porter Sr. as well as numerous jazz legends such as Max Roach, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Pharaoh Sanders and many others.
On Thursday, the Porter Players are at The Afterthought for a free jam session starting at 8 p.m.
Pianist Alex Bugnon, who played the festival last year, is at Cajun's Wharf, 9 p.m., $25.
And on Saturday, the festivities wrap up with a big show at Clear Channel Metroplex, featuring jazz and R&B vocalist Will Downing, The Fingerprints Band and Lex Porter, the grandson of Porter Sr. and the nephew of Porter Jr.