Porter, Art

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Porter, Art

Porter, Art , jazz alto saxophonist; b. Little Rock, Ark., Aug. 3, 1962; d. Bangkok, Thailand, Nov. 23, 1996. Inspired by his musician father and by John Coltrane’s music, he started playing alto saxophone at 15. He joined his father’s band at local venues where he befriended Bill Clinton. While Governor of Ark., Clinton was responsible for passing legislation on behalf of artists who were too young to play in jazz venues. The legislation, known as the “Art Porter Bill,” allowed underage artists to perform in bars and clubs as long as a legal guardian was present. Porter was admitted to Berklee at age 16; in January 1978, he won an IAJE young talent award. He went on to work with Jack McDuff and Pharaoh Sanders and relocated to Chicago. In 1996, he was in Bangkok for the Thailand International Jazz Festival; his boat capsized during an outing in the Kratha Taek Reservoir in western Thailand, drowning him and at least two other passengers.


Pocket City (1992); Straight to the Point (1993); Undercover (1994); Lay Your Hands on Me (1996).

—Lewis Porter

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