As a founding and current member of legendary rock band Living Colour, its drummer, Will Calhoun, has received two Grammys®, three MTV Awards, and the International Rock Award for record sales of over 2.5 million units. Will Calhoun has recorded and/or performed with diverse artists including Mick Jagger, Mos Def, Oumou Sangare, Marcus Miller, and Wayne Shorter (on the Grammy®-winning CD High Life).
However, Life In This World (Motema Music, 2013) returns drummer Will Calhoun to his formative jazz roots. Produced by Will Calhoun, (Executive produced by Jana Herzen and co-produced by Marc Cary), the 12-track program features a coterie of top musicians in a variety of formats who take Calhoun’s musical visions to another level. Joined by such greats as Ron Carter, Donald Harrison, Wallace Roney, Marc Cary, Charnett Moffett, John Benitez and Cheick Tidiane Seck, the exciting drummer leads his listeners on a world tour complete with what seems to be a history of his instrument.
Listeners will hear the narrative of the rhythms and patterns Will Calhoun plays on such great songs as “Afrique’Kan’E” which features Wallace Roney’s great muted trumpeting, Cheick Tidiane Seck on acoustic piano, Alioune Wade on bass, and Brehima ‘Benego’ Diakite on kamalen n’goni. For his straight-ahead jazz fans, his quartet on “Brother Will” offers exemplary hard bop technique and outstanding performances from Wallace Roney, Marc Cary on piano, and Charnett Moffett on acoustic and electric bass. Composed by Charnett Moffett, this song will do it for you with the way the group puts together the rhythms and the harmonies that cause you to appreciate its sounds.
“Spectrum” features some serious playtime with trio mates Marc Cary on piano and Charnett Moffett on acoustic bass. This song swings hard and it’s apparent that the trio is pushing themselves to do something different and they accomplish that with ease. Calhoun is fierce on his solo and his improvisational choices for every aspect of this solo reveal his virtuosity as a drummer and entertainer. He has definitely learned the language of jazz drumming.
Overall, Life In This World contains the type of jazz that attracts most listeners today because of the variety of instruments used, i.e. Donald Harrison’s alto saxophone solo on “King Tut’s Strut,” or Wallace Roney’s trumpeting on “Abu Bakr II,” and Ron Carter’s great bass playing on “Dorita.” In addition, Will Calhoun’s inclusion of a variety of jazz styles on this diverse program makes Life In This World one of the best jazz offerings on the music scene today. Check it out.