Aldo Romano
CD 9168-2

Will Calhoun
"Native Lands"

Will Calhoun (dr) with:
Pharoah Sanders (ts); Wallace Roney (tp); Marcus Miller (b); Stanley Jordan (git);
Orrin Evans (p); Buster Williams (b); Antoine Roney (ss); Kevin Eubanks (git);
John Benitez (b); Gregg Marret (harmonica); Nana Vasconcelos (perc);
Special guest: Mos Def

Will Calhoun's new album, 'Native Lands' features a wide variety of musicians from around the world and from various musical backgrounds. 'Native Lands' features, amongst others, Pharaoh Sanders, Mos Def, Buster Williams, Stanley Jordan, Kevin Eubanks, Marcus Miller as well as Nana Vasconcelos from Brazil and Cheikh Tdiane Seck from Mali.
The album includes a DVD with over ninety minutes of music videos and documentary materials that chronicle the last ten years of Will's life and travels.

Will Calhoun, the widely acclaimed drummer from the Bronx, New York, graduated from the Berklee School of Music in Boston, where he received a Bachelors degree in Music Production and engineering. He was also the recipient of the prestigious Buddy Rich Jazz Masters Award for outstanding performance by a drummer.
Special Kudos for Will's drumming virtuosity include:

  • Best New Drummer of 1988 by Modern Drummer Magazine's Readers Poll
  • Number One Progressive Drummer by Modern Drummer Magazine's Readers Poll three times (1989, 1991 & 1992)
  • Best Drummer Of 1990 by Rolling Stone Magazine's Critics Poll
Will Calhoun's unique blend of improvisational and hard rock drumming can be found on each of Living Colour's four Epic releases: the ground breaking multi-platinum debut, Vivid, the critically acclaimed sophomore LP, Time's Up, the 1991 EP, Biscuits, 1993's Stain, and their latest release on Sanctuary Records, CollideĜscope. A prolific song writer, Will has co-written many Living Colour compositions and wrote the critically acclaimed song, Pride, on the Time's Up album and Nothingness on the Stain album. As a member of Living Colour, Will received a Grammy Award in 1989 for Best Hard Rock Performance by a group and another Grammy in 1990 for Best Hard Rock Performance. Living Colour also won an International Rock Award In 1991 for Best Rock Band.

In addition to his work with Living Colour, Will has recorded and/or toured with diverse artists including B.B. King, Mick Jagger, Jaco Pastorious, Harry Belafonte, Pharoah Sanders, Jack Dejohnette, Paul Simon, Lou Reed, Marcus Miller, Dr.John, Carly Simon, Herb Alpert, Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood, Wayne Shorter (on the Grammy-winning CD "High Life"), and recorded with rappers Run-DMC and Public Enemy. As a producer, player, and songwriter, Will has worked on Herb Alpert's Grammy-nominated CD, Colors.

Presently, Will is working with rapper Mos Def, both as a producer and performer. Will and his long time companion Doug Wimbish on bass are currently working on their special project HeadFake. Keep your eyes and ears open for this CD. It will be in the usual cutting-edge Calhoun fashion.

Native Lands reflects Will Calhoun's travels and experiences over the past decade and features collaborations with kindred musical spirits from around the globe. The impact and influences of the cultures encountered along the way are found not only in his music, but also in the videos and documentary materials on the companion DVD. What was initially intended to be a bonus video to accompany the album took on a life of its own when Will and longtime associate, Rob Freda, teamed up with filmmaker Charles Kliment. The Harmolodic Studio recording session with Stanley Jordan yielded the album track Push as well as the bonus track Tigris and Euphrates, which reveals a seldom heard harder-edged side of Stanley. Video footage of the session was blended with satellite imagery of the region in the case of Tigris and Euphrates and time-lapse imagery shot in midtown Manhattan to depict the urban landscape as Will had envisioned for Push. Will's solo wave drum performance from the session was recorded and filmed in a single take. Charles applied layered visual effects to the footage echoing the way in which Will constructs drum loops. The unique look of Deep and Tagine are the result. The belly dancing and Moroccan influences in Tagine echo the vessel and ethnic cuisine for which the track is named. Will and Naná features indigenous African dancing paired with recording session footage of Will and Naná Vasconcelos shot in Recife, Brazil. Ancestry was shot by Will during the Festa de Sao Benedito in Aparecida - Sao Paulo, Brazil. Umoja was created from material shot for the short film Brazilian Connections. Filmed in Pernam-buco, Brazil, the sixteen-minute documentary was produced by Will, Paulinho Oliveira and Fernando Moraes. In addition to the stereo version, Umoja features a 5.1 surround sound mix.


Known primarily for his drumming with Living Colour, Will Calhoun has matured into a New York City Jazz cat of the highest order. Calhoun's Native Lands is a modern AfroJazz/Funk masterpiece. Pharoah, in particular, is a perfect pleasure to hear wailing and emoting over Calhoun's thick and sinuous grooves. The record is a seamless and satisfying blend of organic Jazz and tribal drumming with electronic soundscapes and drum loops. Those two seemingly different worlds happily collide and combine to create Calhoun's Native Lands, and the result is fun, funky and provocative. The accompanying DVD is worth the price of admission alone. Its features include a virtual exhibit of Calhoun's photography, short films and a mini-documentary narrated by Calhoun himself. He is such a well-spoken, down-to-earth and personable host that one can't help but take an even greater interest in his incredibly diverse and unique music.
By Ric Hickey / CityBeat

The first thing you hear is a drum solo, just in case you somehow forgot this is, unashamedly and prominently, a drummer's disc. What it winds up to be, at its best, is little short of spectacular, as exciting as any jazz record a stagnant year has brought us thus far. Will Calhoun, 40, was Vernon Reid's partner-in-fusion in Living Colour, the band forged two decades ago out of the marriage of jazz and rock in Ornette Coleman's shadow, just as Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Weather Report married jazz and rock a decade earlier in Miles Davis' shadow. Despite Calhoun's current partnership with rapper/actor Mos Def, this kaleidoscope of colors and rhythms is a jazz disc through and through, something that the constant presence of Pharoah Sanders and Wallace Roney virtually guarantees. And if, therefore, the spirits of John Coltrane and Miles Davis are never far away, Calhoun makes certain that there isn't an ounce of slavish, knee-jerk derivation anywhere on the record. In fact, this is some of Sanders' strongest, most lyrical and most interesting playing in at least 10 years.
There's an arresting musical cast all through the disc -- everyone from Stanley Jordan (playing with uncommon robustness and hard edge) to Kevin Eubank and Nana Vasconcelos. The result is marvelous. This is what it really sounds like when different but related musics genuinely fuse, rather than meet over lattes in an accountant's office. It's as adventurous as it is musical.
Rating: 4 stars out of 4
Jeff Simon

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