THE ICON: George Porter Jr.
THE LEGACY: It’s hard to achieve full-on funkitude without a nimble bass player, and for nearly five decades, the ace of bass in New Orleans has been George Porter Jr. Whether laying down the groove for the pioneering funk progenitors The Meters, his own Runnin’ Pardners or the litany of musicians who have enlisted his talents — from Jimmy Buffett to David Byrne to Tori Amoss — Porter has been a thumping fixture on New Orleans’ music scene. “Without him,” Times-Picayune columnist Chris Rose wrote in 2003, “you get the feeling New Orleans might have turned out different. It might flow to a lesser rhythm.” With Porter helping funk things up for the past half-century, however, the Crescent City has found a singular rhythm, indeed — and it doesn’t show signs of slowing down any time soon.
THE ARTIST: Jeff Morgan
THE INSPIRATION: “I don’t know exactly. … If I had to sit down and analyze what funk is, I’d say funk is considered a little more syncopated than most music; it has a good pocket.” — bassist George Porter Jr. when asked to define funk in a 2003 interview with The Times-Picayune