School of Jazz: Calvin Lundin serves as guest DJ
Drummer Calvin Lundin from Seattle Academy virtually joined Abe Beeson Dec. 3 on Evening Jazz. He is a sophmore and in the school's jazz program. Listen to the show and read their Q&A.
Which instrument do you play and why?
I play drums; the “why” is a very specific story. At my elementary school, we all took a music class, and one day we were playing a song that had drums in it. The teacher asked who wanted to play them, and I volunteered, never having touched a drum kit in my life. However, when I sat down and started playing, it just felt right. I had a connection to the drums that was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. 10-year-old me described this as “it was really fun.” I knew I had to drum more, so that summer, I took a drum camp at a local music school before beginning proper lessons. Now, over 5 years later, drumming is the thing that makes me feel most like myself and is a sort of therapy to me. Being on a stage playing in front of people is where I’m most at home.
What’s your all-time favorite jazz piece?
There are so many jazz songs that I hold close to my heart; it’s near impossible to pick just one. However, “Misty” by Erroll Garner is one that comes to mind. This song never fails to “get me in my feels” as they say. Every time I listen to it, it invokes so many emotions, which is what I think a great song does. Also, I don’t usually pay much attention to lyrics, but the lyrics to “Misty” are some of the best I’ve ever heard. Even when listening to an instrumental version of the song, you can still hear the lyrics coming through in the melody, which I love. Lastly, it was the first song I ever played with my trio from school, which is a group I love to play with. “Misty” is just a beautiful song that I never get tired of.
Who is your jazz hero?
It’s hard for me to pick just one person to call my hero because I’ve been inspired differently by many artists. With that said, someone I frequently come back to is Kassa Overall. He’s a local drummer and producer whose music contains elements of jazz and hip-hop. His drumming is what I want mine to be like, free flowing and never forced. Every time I’ve seen him play live, I’ve been captivated by how much he looks like he’s loving every note he plays. Additionally, his recorded music is incredible as well. He’s a true artist, making music that holds value to him. I’m not into the idea of trying to sound like another musician, but if I had to emulate someone, it would be Kassa Overall.
What I love about jazz is how hard it is to define. There are so many subgenres and interpretations of those subgenres, which makes it one of the best scenes to be a part of. For example, in a jazz band with three people, maybe one person is influenced by Latin jazz, another is influenced by modern jazz fusion, and another is influenced by bebop. When everyone brings something different to the table, the whole group’s sound will evolve. I love playing with people whose influences differ from mine because it reminds me of how rich jazz culture is and how much I have left to learn.
CALVIN LUNDIN'S PLAYLIST
Max Roach “Mr. X” (Max Roach +4)
Kassa Overall “What’s New With You” (Go Get Ice Cream and Listen to Jazz)
Gary Burton “Joy Spring” (New Vibe Man in Town)
Ray Vega/Thomas Marriott “Misty” (Return of the East-West Trumpet Summit)
Polyrhythmics “Digital Cowboy” (Man from the Future)
Ahmad Jamal “Stolen Moments” (The Awakening)
Theo Croker/Roy Hargrove “Roy Allan” (AfroPhysicist)
Robert Glasper “Jelly’s Da Beener” (Canvas)