My original song, Sunday Morning Sunshine, was recorded by saxophonist TK Blue as a duo concept in 2001 and centered around my original track, first recorded by the late Art Porter Jr.. Art Porter, who lost his life November 23, 1996 at age 35 in a tragic boating accident, was a musical prodigy. He recorded the original vocal track of my song Sunday Morning Sunshine with me in Chicago in 1990.
After the events of 9/11, when I stood beneath the towering inferno of the World Trade Center and decided to return to my first love, music, I produced this duet version of the song featuring a rare interplay of these two international sax titans.
Art Porter’s first album, Pocket City (1992), featured “LA” and “Little People,” both inspired by his son, Arthur Porter III. His second CD was Straight to the Point (1993). In 1994, his third album, Undercover, was a great success, placing Porter solidly on the “wave” radio charts with R&B and “cool jazz” artists. His final album, Lay Your Hands on Me (1996), contained the radio favorite “Lake Shore Drive.”
Many of Art’s compositions were expressions of his spirituality, such as the song “Lay Your Hands on Me.” Art and his dad, a popular musician in Little Rock, were family friends of President Bill Clinton, who, as Arkansas governor, would occasionally jam with young Art at local political and fund raising events. During the inaugural prayer service for President Bill Clinton in 1993, Art performed solo renditions of “Amazing Grace” and “My Tribute.”
Porter died in Thailand after he’d just completed a performance at the Thailand International Golden Jubilee Jazz Festival commemorating the 50th anniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s reign.The King of Thailand was also a musician and jazz enthusiast.
Not long after Art’s untimely death, his wife Barbi Lynn died of cancer, leaving their two children orphaned. A Trust Fund was created in Chicago for the children’s benefit called “Art’s Kids” to help ensure for their future education.
In 1998, Verve Records released the memorial album For Art’s Sake, featuring Porter’s unrecorded music, songs of tribute to him from other artists, and favorites from his previous albums. Porter received posthumous awards from the recording industry, media and production companies, and the educational community of Gary, Indiana. He was also inducted into the Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame and the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame. I am proud to have collaborated with such an outstanding musician and artist.