Terrence “Groove Guardian” Houston

11857667_1223164664375815_1203028870_n-2Terrence Houston Terrence “Groove Guardian” is one of the most sought-after young percussionists in the city. Currently the drummer for George Porter, Jr. and the Runnin’ Pardners, the Funky Meters, Toubab Krewe, Khris Royal’s Dark Matter, and Trumpet Black & the Heart Attacks, he has also performed and recorded with a variety of other artists in New Orleans and beyond.

Born into a musical family, this Baton Rouge native was getting drum lessons from his uncle as soon as he could hold a pair of sticks. By age seven he was playing regularly in church, and he performed throughout childhood with marching bands, symphonic bands, and his family’s gospel group. As a teenager, he shifted his attention to R&B and blues, while still finding time to shine as his high school’s Drum Captain. Houston spent a year marching and studying musical performance at Southern University under master percussionists Herman Jackson and Derrick Hillard, until Jackson convinced the young drummer that, despite his age, he already had what he needed to start his career.11805838_1223164524375829_1432997172_n

Houston moved to New Orleans in 2007 to be a part of Bourbon Street’s post-Katrina musical revival. He spent his first few years playing with a classic rock band at Utopia before focusing his energies on Frenchmen Street gigs. In 2009, when George Porter announced that he needed a new drummer for his Runnin’ Pardners, Houston learned the music in two days and was ready to audition before Porter was ready to even hold auditions. He let Houston play anyway, and by the time he was through, it was clear a new drummer had arrived.

Since 2014, Houston has also been with the Funky Meters, one of Porter’s other projects and a direct descendant of pioneering New Orleans funkateers The Meters. A frequent gig-mate of Travis “Trumpet Black” Hill since the two first met in 2012, Houston was a shoe-in when Hill launched his own project, soul/funk group The Heart Attacks. He also plays with Toubab Krewe, an Asheville-based instrumental band that incorporates rhythms from around the world, and Khris Royal’s Dark Matter, an innovative jazz fusion group led by a fellow Runnin’ Pardner and another of the scenes rising stars.

A diverse musical upbringing and relentless training have given Terrence Houston a unique sound and an impressive command of many styles. His sprightly, snare-informed rhythms will ratchet any band to the next level, and his enthusiasm for exploring new sonic realms has made him one of the city’s most exciting young talents. If he could do absolutely anything he wanted as a musician? “I would take every band that I currently play with and put everybody on the road. One big tour. I would buy tour buses for everybody, and we would just tour the country, selling records. The whole family. The bill would be incredible every night. And I’d play with all of them.” Houston would like to thank DW Drums and Sabian Cymbals for their support.

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Terrence “Groove Guardian” Houston

Andrew Calhoun

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New York-born saxophonist Andrew Calhoun moved to New Orleans because he knew that the best musical education he could get would be to throw himself into the culture that is at the heart jazz’s birthplace. It’s a culture where music is everywhere, where “learning” means “doing,” and where you cut your teeth by playing with and learning from as many different artists as possible, as often as you can. That’s exactly what Calhoun has done, he is proud to say, and wants to keep on doing.

“They say it’s the birthplace, so I came here to learn,” he says. “A lot of places, music is more theoretical, but it’s not as tangible or clear cut here.”

Calhoun has always had a deep appreciation for the musicians (past and present) that have come out of his adopted hometown. Whether he’s playing with the Heart Attacks, the Big Easy Brawlers, Corey Henry’s Treme Funktet, or working on his own original compositions, Calhoun strives to follow in the footsteps of his New Orleans idols as well as hone his own unique voice.

At the moment, he’s focusing on becoming fluent in a wide variety of styles, drawing from both his east-coast upbringing and the timeless traditions of his adopted home.

“Right now I’m doing a lot of R&B, trad, and funk,” he says. “but I consider myself always trying to change my style, trying to learn. I played differently when I first got here, and I think I’ll just continue playing differently.”Drew at Bullet's Sports Bar

Like so many of his peers in the Heart Attacks and elsewhere, Calhoun has a deep appreciation for musical innovation that nicely complements his respect for tradition. All these values come through in his original compositions, in which he takes inspiration from his environment and combines the elements in exciting new ways. He co-wrote many of the tracks on the Heart Attacks’ upcoming album, The New Beginning.

Calhoun has plans in the works to launch his own project in the coming years, and with his creativity and skill behind it, it’s sure to grab everyone’s attention.  In the meantime he’s excited to work with more and more New Orleans musicians, to share experiences with them, collaborate on new musical ideas, and as a result, further develop as an individual artist.

 

Andrew Calhoun

Trumpet Black’s Heart Attacks Announce Biography Series

Heart Attack Band 2015 French Quarter Fest
Heart Attack Band 2015 French Quarter Fest

In the coming weeks we are going to let each of the mysterious Heart Attacks take their turn at the microphone, so to speak, for a few days to tell you about themselves and share their favorite music stuff with you.  So like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, but most importantly get out there and enjoy some live, local, independent music!

Heart Attacks from way back
Heart Attacks from way back

The Heart Attacks are a fiery soul/funk super group that incorporates diverse influences while still feeling wholly native to the close-knit Treme neighborhood where the band is based and where New Orleans music was born. With funkified second line rhythms, electrifying brass firepower, and a driving percussion section filled out with hand drums and tambourines, they shake the dust off old soul standards, infuse their original compositions with “old-school R&B energy,” and force everyone to get up and dance.

Counting among their number musicians of all ages and all different backgrounds, these multi-talented all-stars keep things fresh while channeling the boundless energy of their recently-deceased young bandleader Travis “Trumpet Black” Hill (a local star renowned for his brilliant musicianship and contagious enthusiasm.) And with the band’s fluctuating cast of semi-permanent visitors and local guest stars, the audience is always in for a surprise. It wouldn’t be at all uncommon, say, to stumble into a jumping, rocking bar where visiting horn-playing virtuosas from Japan jammed alongside old-school Treme bluesmen and Mardi Gras Indians.

Trumpet Black’s Heart Attacks Announce Biography Series