Gregory Boyd -
Whether performing with Ashish Khan the world’s foremost Sarod Master or
opening for Bob Dylan, or performing at New York’s Lincoln Center, Boyd
has always had one mission; to do things a little differently; a little
off the beaten path. When Boyd decided to join the US Navy and perform
in the US Navy Steel Drum Band, this ethic was truly put to the test.
Deciding that the normal usage of performing Caribbean Steel Drums was
not enough, Boyd set out to recreate the instrument and use it in as
many different ways he possibly could, all the while singing and
performing as many different musical styles as possible in order to gain
a rich understanding of what the instrument can and will do.
the years Boyd has been called a Steel Drum Master an excellent singer
and an exciting entertainer. A true visionary with an instrument that
has only been created over the middle of the 20th century and mainly
used in the Caribbean idiom. Boyd has lived for many years in New
Orleans, Louisiana, a music vortex that provided him with the impetus to
grow as a performer and to realize, take part in and to be initiated
into some of the very foundations of American Music. Boyd has befriended
many star Steel Pannists and musicians along
the way: Othello Molineaux, Rudy Smith, Charles Neville, Cyril
Neville, Charmaine Neville, Michael Ray, Dr. John and his own teacher
and pan tuner, the “father” of steel drums Ellie Mannette.
Boyd has worked with composer Richard Peaslee, with the critically
acclaimed Modern Ballet Feu Follet touring and performing with the Elise
Monte Dance Company in the USA and Europe. During this time Gregory Boyd
along with choreographer Karen Schulda created Renverser Repertory
Ballet in New Orleans where Gregory Boyd’s first classical works “3rd
Contemplation”, “Suite for Pan” and “Rajah“ were set to modern ballet.
While living in Denmark EU, Gregory Boyd has performed with many known
musicians, namely: Kim Menzer, Klaus Menzer, Butch Lacy, Pierre
Dørge and has recorded with Jesper Bodilsen among others. Through these
relations, Boyd has created a firm foundation whereby he can learn from
the past all the while pushing toward what his steel drum influenced
sound will become in the future.
this guy! Okay, where do I begin? He’s playing steel drum and singing
- how many times do you see that? It is very innovative.
His improvisation is really great! I love what he is doing!
Singing with his instrument - I’ve never seen anyone do that.
It’s a whole new twist”
Cassandra Wilson - Blue Note Recording Artist -
“Of course all of this has nothing to do with reality. The reality is
that I love music and have been blessed to be a part of some of the best
musical situations that I could have ever dreamed of being a part of.
There was one gig in particular, when I was performing with Michael Ray
and the Cosmic Krewe. If you check my bio you will see this is one
of the gigs where I was called a steel drum master for the first time.
This is a title that has always left me haunted and kind of in awe that
someone would say such a thing. But, it is also something that has
gotten me through a lot of doors before impenetrable. At any rate,
at this show - in fact it was the Syracuse Jazz Festival and we performed
with the Full Sun Ra Orchestra right after Sun Ra passed on - I was
playing my pan in the go and grab the notes kind of fashion, and I look
down and Marshall Allen was blowing some of the most outrageous stuff I
had heard a saxophone ever do. For the first time I started to
understand a bit more about Coltrane and what he was doing. This set my
path a bit different from that point.”
“Music is such a funny thing because, there are times when you feel you
are controlling it and what ever you come up with in your mind is what
every one else wants to hear. Then there are times when you are not sure
whether you’re even supposed to be up there doing it. That is when God
steps in and straightens things out for you, I think (he he).”
“Currently I am teaching at a Royal Danish Conservatory of Music here in
Denmark. The course is called “The Origins of Funk” with emphasis on the
Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans. I am also considering a classical
piece for Steel Pan Solo and Orchestra.”
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