The latest innovation in New Orleans funk Chapter:SOUL is the brainchild of bandleader, vocalist and tenor saxophonist Calvin Johnson, Jr. featuring a modern 4-piece funk and soul band. This is New Orleans music, yes-but newer, younger, and driven by a new vision for NOLA music in the 21st century. The idea for Chapter:SOUL first struck Johnson during a conversation with legendary Dirty Dozen Brass Band sousaphone player Kirk Joseph while they were on tour together.
“After being on tour with The Dirty Dozen Brass Band for the past few years, I started feeling an itch,’” Johnson says. “Night after night, town after town, I realized I was thinking about these gigs, not as a side man but as if they were my gigs...troubleshooting, looking for ways to improve things, and always trying for better. Finally, one night Kirk said, ‘Calvin, I think you’re ready to dive in that pool and do your own thing.’”
Johnson already had an impressive resume- logging tours across 5 continents as a horn player with Harry Connick Jr., Jason Derulo, Irma Thomas, Mannie Fresh, The Blind Boys of Alabama and Mystikal- in addition to spending time on the road with The Dirty Dozen Brass Band. He called upon Kashonda Bailey (organ, keyboards, and synths), Thomas Glass (drums and pads), and Evan Washington (bass) to join him in his venture to push forward and create a fresh New Orleans sound - something Johnson would later call “NOLA Future Funk.” Together the band employs an electric blend of street brass and bounce rhythms, both to create original compositions and reimagine soul classics.
Chapter:SOUL is touring the US thru the end of 2018 and is also set to release their third EP this fall and their first full length record next year. Their new albums will build upon the groundwork laid by their first two EP’s, which fused contemporary hip-hop and soul elements with help from old-school sampling and New Orleans street beats. Their mixtape/EP release parties in New Orleans have become legendary, even in a town with high standards for a good party.
It’s been quite a road so far but the band is young, hungry, and full of fresh ideas. As Chapter:SOUL grows so does the music, the venues and the audiences. The act strives to bring “NOLA Future Funk” to the masses one city at a time. The road, as they say, goes on forever..