Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

The Will Calhoun Trio Celebrates “Life in This World” CD Release at Blue Note, May 17-19, 2013

Will Calhoun celebrates the release of his latest CD, “Life in this World”, with performances at The Blue Note, 31 W 3rd St in New York, May 17-19, 2013, featuring the Will Calhoun Trio with fellow Motéma artists Marc Cary (piano) and Charnett Moffett (bass), and special guests Donald Harrison and Nicholas Payton (18 & 19 only). The “Life in this World CD features Ron Carter, Donald Harrison, Wallace Roney, Marc Cary, Charnett Moffett, John Benitez, and Cheick Tidiane Seck.
Before he became famous as a member of the groundbreaking hard rock group Living Colour, Will Calhoun was an aspiring jazz drummer raised on a steady diet of his father’s bebop records. Calhoun goes back to his roots on his latest album, Life In This World – but to get there he takes a circuitous route through a wealth of musical experience around the globe. From studies with master musicians in Africa to experiments with electronic music in his home studio, Calhoun’s adventurous sonic imagination couldn’t help but expand the horizons of a stellar jazz recording which pairs the drummer with greats including Wallace Roney, Donald Harrison, Charnett Moffett, Marc Cary, Doug Wimbish, John Benitez and legendary bassist Ron Carter.

Jazz was the first music that Calhoun heard while growing up – “Before rock, before hip-hop, before funk,” he recalls. “In my family, African-American history was very important, whether it was Muhammad Ali or Jim Brown, Coltrane, Miles, Duke Ellington – It wasn’t just listening to the music in my house, the life styles of these men and other women were laid down as history lessons on the music and culture.”

Living in the Bronx, however, it wasn’t long before Calhoun was exposed to myriad styles and cultures, from rock and funk to the burgeoning style of hip-hop. It actually came as a shock to the young drummer when he discovered that for most people genres were defined by hard boundaries – a lesson he learned first at Berklee College of Music and later while on the road with Living Colour.

That band’s success afforded Calhoun the opportunity to begin traveling to Africa in the mid-1990s for stays that could last as long as six or eight months at a time. He’s continued those treks for nearly twenty years, studying mainly in Mali but also in Morocco and Senegal. “I felt like I didn’t know the history of my instrument,” Calhoun says. “I began to ask myself what’s the narrative of the rhythms and patterns we play in the U.S. and Europe? I went over there and felt out of place. It was a culture shock in the best way. Little children would walk by and clap out the patterns to show me what I was doing wrong.”

In 2005, Calhoun created Native Lands, a multi-media fusion of jazz and world music with ambient electronica and another passion, photography. Life In This World is Calhoun’s most jazz-oriented recording since his GRAMMY® nominated 2000 release, Live at the Blue Note, but those diverse interests remain evident.

Calhoun, who like many artists have been urged by industry members to focus on one particular area, has found a happy home in the maverick Motéma imprint, (also home to Marc Cary and Charnett Moffett and now celebrating it’s 10th year) because the label especially focuses on virtuosic creative music that crosses genres and international borders. Calhoun compares playing so many different styles of music to speaking several languages, stressing that “to keep a language sharp, you have to speak it with people.” There’s no doubt from Life In This World and his entire body of work that Calhoun is a fluent and soulful communicator in many diverse tongues.

Upcoming Will Calhoun Trio Performances:
May 17 – 19 / The Blue Note / New York, NY
May 30-June 2 / Rio das Ostras Jazz & Blues Festival / Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
June 23 / Gnawa Festival / Essaouira, Morocco
August 2 / Voces del Jazz Festival / Cartagena, Colombia
August 5 / Hartford Jazz Society’s Jazz in Bushnell Park / Hartford, CT

Other Upcoming Appearances:
June 9 / Jazz Clinic at Batuka Brasil (solo) / Sao Paulo, Brazil
August 4 / Jazz at Lincoln Center w/ Arturo O’Farrill in “Sacred Drums” / New York, NY

Life In This World Track Listing:
1. Brother Will (Charnett Moffett)
2. Spectrum (A. Hall)
3. King Tut Strut (Hotep Galeta)
4. Love For Sale (Cole Porter)
5. Naima (John Coltrane)
6. Evidence (Thelonious Monk)
7. Afrique Kan’e (Cheick Tidiane Seck & Will Calhoun)
8. He Who Hops (Marc Cary)
9. Etcetera (Wayne Shorter)
10. Dorita (Will Calhoun)
11. Love’s Parody (Will Calhoun)

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Living Colour Vivid 25th Anniversary US Tour – Spring 2013
Living Colour NYC Concert Photos
2013 NYC Winter Jazz Fest: Will Calhoun Performs at Zinc Bar on 1/10, The Bitter End on 1/12
Catch Grammy-winning Drummer Will Calhoun in August at The Iridium, Jazzmobile Summerfest 2012, The Blue Note, Hudson Valley Jazz Festival, and Wimbash
New York Winter Jazz Fest: The Will Calhoun Quartet with Donald Harrison at Zinc Bar on January 7, 2012
Will Calhoun Trio to Perform at International Percussion Festival, 10/22-24/11 in Opole, Poland
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Will Calhoun to Interview Bernie Worrell at ASCAP’s “I Create Music” Expo on April 30 in L.A.
Will Calhoun’s Native Lands Experience featuring Ronnie Laws on sax at Anthology in San Diego on April 1
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Will Calhoun in New York tonight at Chelsea Art Museum and the Highline Ballroom on Friday
Living Colour performs at the Highline Ballroom on 10/30
Multimedia: Oumou Sangare, Will Calhoun at Central Park Summerstage
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Multimedia: Francis Mbappe and the Tribe at Joe’s Pub Photos
Will Calhoun’s Native Lands Experience Live at the Blue Note in NYC
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Francis Mbappe and Will Calhoun Duo at Zinc Bar

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Lia Chang

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.
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