“It was that Coltrane/ Hartman album that literally changed my life.
I’d been singing since I was a child. I’d been doing Gospel and I had also sung a lot in high school bands. Everyone that knew me knew that singing was something that I enjoyed doing but that it was not something I was going to do for a living because I come from Southern parents who said ‘You can sing for God but you’ve got to go get a job!’
Having that thought in my head I never thought I would pursue what I’m doing now.
But then, when I heard that album, my life changed. It was 1986, I was in Tower Records, I heard the music and was mesmerised. I asked ‘Who is this?’ I had no idea. I thought, ‘Coltrane with a singer? Wow…’ I took it home and I sat and I listened to all 32 minutes over and over again – I just could not stop playing it. The simplicity of that album is what struck me most. The simplicity in the way that there were no theatrics and there was no pretence. There was just a simple voice that was lush and that just emoted the feeling of the song. In that moment I said to myself ‘…that’s what I want to do. I want to be able to tell a story…’ I remember sitting and listening to that album – Johnny Hartman was singing about a place in my mind – he took me there. You know, there are very, very few singers who are able to do that.”
A career in television as a post-production editor would come first for Generet. He had the pleasure of working on some of the finest news broadcasts on television but his love and appreciation of jazz endured. Three Emmy Awards and some years later, Generet found himself artistically unfulfilled and the desire to hone his craft as a singer moved to the forefront. His relaxed and friendly manner while working and listening to other artists enabled him to form friendships with many renowned musicians, most of whom he has been working with over the last few years. One in particular — pianist, producer and arranger, Onaje Allan Gumbs — produced his first recording. The result is Generet’s debut CD, “(re)generet-ion”, (Monsieur Music/Mosaic Records). Taking on the theme of romance, Generet has re-imagined the Standard, adding his own unique styling and vocal flexibility.
Gregory went on to perform sold out performances at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Joe’s Pub, The Highline Ballroom, The Kitano, Feinsteins at the Lowes Regency in New York City and Smoke Jazz Club, where he held a residency for 3 years. In 2014 he began working with Jazz at Lincoln Centre Doha (Qatar) where he has been performing as a Special Guest with the Dominick Farinacci Quintet.
Gregory has had an exciting year performing in various locations from Umbria to Abu Dhabi including at the 2015 Umbria Jazz edition of Ricomincio Da Tre jazz club. He has had the honour of opening a Concert for Roy Hargove at the Rocca of Castiglion Del Lago and he has appeared at the St Regis Hotel Abu Dhabi as part of a fund raising event for UNICEF.
Mr. Generet has performed with Wycliffe Gordon, Branford Marsalis, Mike Renzi, Bucky Pizzarelli, Victor Goines among others.
His music continues to receive rave reviews from critics, listeners and colleagues alike. Critic Stephen Holden of the New York Times says of Gregory, “A voice that’s so sultry you might get burned.” Sheila Anderson of WBGO-Jazz 88 says, “Gregory is a welcomed addition to the music scene. Not locked into any style of music, he is a true performer. Be it ballads or blues, (he) delivers and he swings too!”