Calvin Whittaker Resume
| Calvin Whittaker had always known, even from childhood, that he'd be involved in music somehow, though he initially thought he would wind up a singer. He loved to sing, and cites Michael Jackson as his first real musical influence.
Upon enrollment at Hyde Park High School in Chicago, Calvin immediately got caught up in the excitement of joining the school's chorus program. However, later on in his freshman year, his love for singing began to take a back seat to his desire to play an instrument. Upon recognizing this newfound desire, his mother recommended he take piano lessons, but while listening to some records in his music collection, Calvin heard a sound that he fell in love with- the simple but funky bass line to Gwen McRae's "Funky Sensation". Soon after, he began listening to the bass in other records, from Teena Marie's "Square Biz", to Tom Browne's "Thighs High", and said to himself, "That's what I wanna do". That year, Calvin received his first bass for Christmas.
As Hyde Park's chorus evolved into a gospel choir, it would seem that Calvin found himself in the right place at the right time. As the former bassist left the group to pursue other interests (the music staff were older, and had already graduated high school), the opportunity presented itself for Calvin to step into the role of a front line bassist, as well as the opportunity to learn all this beautiful new music. He truly enjoyed jamming in rehearsals, and was always looking forward to the next one. Calvin grew to believe that it was here that he truly began to evolve as a bassist. The gospel choir further evolved into a community choir, and for the next eleven years, Calvin would remain a faithful member. This role paved the way for Calvin to work with many other churches and community choirs throughout Chicago. Among them are True Light Church- Baptist, William Smith and the Renewed Voices for Christ, Christ Unity Evangelistic House of Prayer, Walter Howard and the Dedicated to Christ Ensemble, St. John Baptist Church, Prayer and Faith Outreach Ministries, and New Beginnings Full Gospel Church, just to name a few.
Feeling a lack of creative freedom, due in large part to the fact that most churches and outside choirs continue to perform covers of other peoples' music, Calvin decided that it was time for a change. He wouldn't stop playing for the church, because he was determined to continue to use his gift to praise God, but he desperately needed to explore his own creative flow. He logged on to Musicianfinder.com, a website created to help musicians locate one another in order to start up bands, put together shows, etc. Shortly thereafter, Calvin hooked up with Vince "The Funky Trumpeter" Abrams, and together these two formed The Jazz Matrix, a group of misfit musicians, capable of cranking out soothing grooves, mellow ballads, and all - out funk fests. In addition, through this union, he came to meet and work with many other musicians and groups throughout Chicagoland. Among the other bands that have come to trust and rely on Calvin for that deep bass pocket are Say Yes, Nikl Slik, Lisa Jackson and Shades of Gray, and Smooth As Silk, and most recently, he has secured the bass chair in one of the midwest's premier show and touring bands, BBI.
Calvin has been featured on three full recordings, and one single to date, including "Whatever You Want, God's Got It", by Walter Howard and the Dedicated to Christ Ensemble, "I Want To Sing For You", by Evangelist Jannice D. White, "Enter The Jazz Matrix", by The Jazz Matrix,(featuring some of his own compositions), and in July, 2007, Calvin released his first solo project, "Deep Inside". In October, 2009, he released his second solo effort, "Crossroad", which has sold in Japan and Italy, and continues to gain a following.
Calvin has also performed at such events as the 1996 Gospel Festival in Chicago, The 1996 Gospel Music Workshop in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Bobby Jones' Gospel Explosion in Nashville Tennessee, and in the summer of 2005, Calvin functioned as the front man in a group put together to back up the spoken word artists of Ear Candy and Ebony Energy at the Taste of Chicago. In addition he has performed in bands opening up for such mainstream artists as Sting, Annie Lennox, Brian McKnight, Angie Stone, and Anthony Hamilton.
Lastly, Calvin has performed at such venues as the House of Blues, the Bleu Jazz Cafe, the Regal Theater, the United Center, the Majestic Star Casino, the Tweeter Center, the Negro League Cafe, Green Dolphin Street, the Ameristar Casino, Chicago's Petrillo Band Shell, the Divi Carina Bay Resort and Casino (St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands), Someplace Else (Sheraton Hotel, Warsaw, Poland), and continues to perform wherever the groove may take him.
Updated: April 2, 2013
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