Friday, October 19, 2012

Tender Moments with G. Calvin Weston, Part 1: "In my office! NOW!"

Having started his 30+ year career as a musician with harmolodic saxophonist/composer Ornette Coleman at the tender age of 17, it's safe to say that G. Calvin Weston is a drummer of epic proportions.  It's his innate musicality, however -- a seemingly indefatigable desire to emote vocally, as a countertenor would, augmented by a verve towards sound and vision -- that makes him four dimensional as an artist.  One would think he was from the deep South.  Calvin is grounded and yet he is ethereal, a heady mix of what can only be described as a sophisticated hick that is refined and aware, set adrift upon the performance stages of the world.

We just came off a European tour with James "Blood" Ulmer, hopscotching all over creation and then some.  I would say that Calvin and I became what most people would describe as fast friends but that isn't exactly true. The truth is, Calvin and I met and realized that somehow, we already knew each other. At least, that's the way it felt on my end.

How does he describe it?

It was after the gig, when we were at the bar at Kunst & Kulturhaus in Oblarn, Austria that Calvin turned to me and said, with a great deal of astonishment, "Do you realize we only met four days ago?" Then without warning, before I could fully express my mutual wonder and admiration, he smiled broadly, threw his hands up triumphantly as though he'd just made the touchdown of a lifetime and yelled at the top of his lungs, "It's like you fell out my balls!"

If I wasn't mortified the first time he said it, the third time probably sealed it for me.

Of course, the back end of the bar roared its approval and applauded raucously. I opened my mouth to scream but nothing came out. All I could do was cover my face with my hands. Later, I remember thinking, well that was a compliment, really -- as only Calvin could give.

And that's pretty much G. Calvin Weston -- in a nutshell, so to speak.

Once they were up and positioned and tuned, Calvin had the habit of calling his drumset his office. There were too many moments when he would insist that I photograph him there.  It is with this in mind that I give you a pastiche of images from any given soundcheck from our happy jaunt through the Rhineland and beyond -- Calvin, hard at work, in his office.

Looking over Calvin's shoulder...

Rehearsal, Music Hall Worpswede -- this is our sound engineer Joerg Mohr's home base.

G. Calvin Weston, soundcheck - Porgy & Bess 10/1/12

G. Calvin Weston, in his office

Porgy & Bess, Vienna Austria


That's a glimpse of Joerg, moving and repositioning that drumset for the 5th time.

Soundcheck, Cinema Paradiso - St. Polten, Germany

Cinema Paradiso St. Polten, Austria

Calvin, in his office

Calvin, posing. Again!

Altes Kino, Landeck Austria

Calvin, tuning up in his office

BIX Stuttgart Germany

Soundcheck, A-Trane

A-Trane, Berlin Germany -- with Joerg checking Blood's monitors.

The view from backstage

The view as I tilt open the backstage door.

Soundcheck, Altes Plandhaus

At Altes Plandhaus in the round, Cologne Germany

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