Available Now on Motéma Music: Drummer Will Calhoun Pays Tribute to a Profound Influence on “Celebrating Elvin Jones”

Available Now on Motéma Music:
Drummer Will Calhoun Pays Tribute to a
Profound Influence on Celebrating Elvin Jones
 
Album Features Christian McBride,
Antoine Roney, Keyon Harrold, and Special Guests
Jan Hammer and Doudou N’Diaye Rose
 
 
Although he’s best known as the hard-driving, groove-oriented drummer for the pioneering rock group Living Colour, Will Calhoun has played in a staggering variety of styles and traditions over the course of his eclectic career. Straight-ahead jazz, fusion, traditional African percussion, funk, hip-hop, and of course hard rock — Calhoun has explored them all, and he traces the roots of all of them to one man: legendary drummer Elvin Jones.
 
On his second album for Motéma Music, Celebrating Elvin Jones (due out August 19), Calhoun pays tribute to his earliest and most profound influence with a stellar band of musicians, all of whom were impacted by Jones through their personal growth as a musician or their past working with him directly: bassist Christian McBride, saxophonist Antoine Roney, pianist/keyboardist Carlos McKinney, and trumpeter Keyon Harrold. The great keyboardist Jan Hammer, a member of Jones’ trio for On the Mountain (1975), joins the band for a reprise of that album’s Gene Perla-penned track “Destiny;” and Senegalese percussionist Doudou N’Diaye Rose joins with a group of drummers for the traditional Japanese folk song “Doll of the Bride.”
 
“Elvin connected my worlds,” Calhoun says. “Although I saw him playing jazz, I felt rock and roll, I felt fusion, I felt African music. It sounds electric, it sounds acoustic, it sounds very African, it sounds very Latin, there are all these elements in there.”
 
Jones also had a profound effect on all of the members of the band that Calhoun assembled for the occasion. McBride only played with the drummer on a few special occasions, including saxophonist Javon Jackson’s debut album, Me and Mr. Jones. Both Roney and McKinney can boast of more extensive experience under Jones’ leadership, with both appearing on the drummer’s final release, The Truth: Heard Live at the Half Note. While Harrold did not have the opportunity to ever perform with Jones, the drummer has long influenced him. Calhoun drew on all of their experiences as he developed the music for Celebrating Elvin Jones.
 
“Hearing those guys telling stories about when they were on the road with Elvin was helpful,” he says. “I chose according to what music would best represent my vision. I also wanted to put my own vibe into the music.”
 
The songs that Calhoun selected for Celebrating Elvin Jones span the late drummer’s career, though they also reflect a distinctly individual approach to that catalogue. Calhoun devised the repertoire based on purely musical instincts, not just skimming the drummer’s most recognizable tunes. There’s nothing on the album from the Coltrane Quartet, and “Three Card Molly,” perhaps Jones’ best-known composition, is missing from the track listing — in part because Calhoun recorded a memorable version for his 2006 release Native Lands in the immediate aftermath of Jones’ death.
 
In recording Jones’ music, Calhoun didn’t want to imitate the drummer, but simply — as is only appropriate for such a restlessly inventive and forward-thinking artist — to absorb his influence and explore his music in a uniquely personal and progressive style. “I wasn’t trying to nail Elvin’s playing or sound,” he explains. “I love Elvin and all of his contributions. He’s inspired me in so many ways, even playing with Living Colour, so this piece, to me, is celebratory. It’s a thank you and a respectful homage to this wonderful musician.”
 
 
Will Calhoun · Celebrating Elvin Jones
Motéma Music · Release Date: August 19, 2016
 
For more information on Will Calhoun, please visit: WillCalhoun.com
 
 
For media information, please contact:
DL Media · 610-667-0501
Maureen McFadden ·  maureen@dlmediamusic.com
Public Relations for the Preferred Artist
 
Information and press materials (including album covers, promotional photos and bios)
on all DL Media artists can be found at our website: dlmediamusic.com
 
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