Grant Calvin Weston was born June 6, 1959 in Philadelphia, PA. He became interested in drums at the age of 6, when he (and his neighbors) discovered his talent for rhythm as he beat on every car on the block. In North Philadelphia he saw musicians like Stevie Wonder, The Jackson Five and James Brown at the Uptown Theatre, which further fueled his creativity. Seeing his attention focused on the drummers, his father bought him a small set. In high school Calvin learned to read music and played second snare in the drum ensemble. He co-founded the group Bad Influence which played in cabarets and clubs around Philadelphia. At 17, along with bass player Jamalaadean Tacuma, (his close friend from Philly) Calvin joined Ornette Colemans Prime Time Band which toured extensively in North America and Europe. After recording four albums with Prime Time, Calvin went on to play and record with guitarist James “Blood” Ulmer, until 1990, when he joined John Lurie’s Lounge Lizards. During the late 90s and beyond, Calvin recorded and toured with Billy Martin (Medeski , Martin and Wood,) Tricky, Eyvind Kang, Derek Bailey, Marc Ribot, John Zorn ,James Carter, Gypsys Reloaded (with Melvin Gibbs and Jean-Paul Bourelly), Free Form Funky Freqs (with Vernon Reid and Jamaaldeen Tacuma). He has also played on several movie soundtracks including “Get Shorty”.
I had the pleasure of talking with G. Calvin Weston about one of his latest projects, “Stone Church” with Jim Kost, released today via Ropeadope Records. We get into how this album came to be. On our way in that talk, we get into a few stories about Mr. Ornette Coleman, whom he worked with for years at a very early age. Within those stories, we learn how G. Calvin did it, learned how to find himself inside the rhythms, contnuing to be an “improvizationalist”, finding how what he does know can assist in the deeper learning of finding his voice. Man, this is gold!! We circle back to how that influenced his playing on “Stone Church”. Of course, we could not be stopped from hinting about new music that is coming out soon, as you all know how much I like to be one of the first to get the newness into the universe. After talking with G. Calvin, it is so simple to me to see just why I have always leaned into the way he did what he do.