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Notes from Larry Calland

Strong percussionist I want to tell you about

(Dec. 10, 2009) - I want to recommend a fantastic drummer and percussionist, and my longtime friend, Kermit Walker. Check out his website!

A shout-out to Yat's

(Nov. 20, 2007) - How do you put it when you know good stuff about a cat, and yet you can't put it all into words? Hmm.

Well, let's just say that Joe Vuskovich, owner of Yat's Cajun Creole Restaurant in Indianapolis, is a special, giving person. An icon of the greatest proportions, if you will.

So, all you Conga Jazz fans, get your hungry selves over to Yat's at 54th and College, or the one downtown on Massachusetts and Park avenues. The food is slammin'.

And say hello to Joe. Tell him Larry Calland of Conga Jazz sent you. He won't stand still for long, but he'll look you in the eye, and he'll know.

Kudos to my musical collaborators

(Oct. 28, 2007) - These kudos go to all the musicians who have helped and have been a part of my world. Note, these are just musicians, all my friends and not tech support, for that would be a whole nother page.

So, I am crediting these wonderful musicians with jobs well done. Your individual spirits have molded mine, and I thank you.

  • Bill Moss – Bass.
  • Sandy Williams – Guitars.
  • Robert Coleman – Guitars.
  • Mike Rodman – Trumpet.
  • Billy Myers – Bass.
  • Mark Armstrong – Saxes.
  • Ivan Benson – Congas, percussion.
  • Rusty Humphrey – Bass.
  • Harry Goodloe – Drums.
  • Rob Dixon – Saxes.
  • David Allee – Trumpet.
  • Steve Allee – Piano.
  • Steve Weakley – Guitars.
  • Johnathan Woods – Bass.
  • Kevin Anker – Piano.
  • Heraldo Bercarra – Percussion.
  • Cathy Morris – Violin.
  • Frank Smith – Bass.
  • Frank Glover – Clarinet, saxes.
  • Prince Julius Adenyi – Master drummer.
  • Jan Aldridge – Harpist.
  • Clifford Ratliff – Trumpet.
  • Cynthia Lane – Vocalist.
  • Jimmy Guilford – Vocalist.
  • Kellen Strutz – Vocalist.

You always forget people on a listing, but the people I have here listed, foremost is the best of the best I have had the pleasure to have worked with. I just wanted to say thank you!

Alter-ego news flash

(April 28, 2007) - After having a cocktail and a smoke, this is what I've come up with:

I am now titled Sir Michael, knighted by the citizens of my fan base. I figure Elton John got knighted by the queen. So I'm knighting myself. So I am now ... Sir Michael.

But never fear: Bongoman is still out there protecting the grooves of the people. Still need a cape, though. ...

Grooving in the new year

(Jan. 18, 2007) - Conga Jazz has a bunch of good stuff already under way for 2007. From performances at new venues to recordings of new songs, we are thankful for each and every opportunity to connect with appreciative audiences.

Lots to be thankful for in 2006

(Dec. 4, 2006) - Many thanks for a great 2006 season to all our fans and establishments that we provided great entertainment.

Special thanks go to the City of Indianapolis and Mayor Bart Peterson, as well as Rick's Cafe Boatyard and the Indianapolis Arts Council - Indianapolis Artsgarden, Nuvo & Chuck Workman, Indy Star, Donna Imus - Taste of Freedom, Ralph Adams - Renaissance Jazz, Leo Milus - French Market, Ann McWilliams & Chris Smock ... David Andrichik - Chatterbox Jazz, WICR 88.7 and my webhead Richard Sullivan for making me look good to the world. ...

And finally, I'd like to thank all my musicians, you know who you are. So, I hope all have a wonderful holiday, and we'll be Right Back At Cha ... in '07. ...

For a greater New Year to All ...

Thank You,

Larry Michael Calland

Conga Jazz jams for justices

(July 31, 2006) - Conga Jazz was honored to perform for the United States Chief Justices Conference Gala, held at the Eiteljorg Museum here in Indy.

Conga Jazz represented Indy as no other, very well, as these judges were from all 50 states. Had nothing but kudos on the sound and professionalism.

I'd like to thank Donna Imus for her trust bestowed in me. It was a top-notch event that they will not forget and are still probably talking about.

Magical performance at the Artsgarden

(Feb. 20, 2006) - You know you've done some pretty special when you have standing room only at the Indianapolis Artsgarden. Conga Jazz performed a stellar Performance for the 10th Anniversary of Art & Soul on Friday, Feb 17. It was absolutely packed and full of energy.

Every tune was breathtaking, from The Pink Panther to Jamie Foxx's Unpredictable to pieces by Tito Puente and Beethoven.The audience was well suited for our set, very responsive on every piece.

Other performers of the day were saxophonist Keni Washington, Billy Myers on bass, and Ivan Benson holding down the groove on conga and percussion,and myself on timbale & percussion.

I'm already in my editing mode, for it just might be another CD. I'd like to thank the Arts Council of Indianapolis for its continued support and drive to produce continuing support for our artists of all walks of life here. Also, kudos (finger snaps) go to Chuck Workman for our performance. It was a special day.

Another cover story!

(Feb. 12, 2006) - Conga Jazz was featured on the section front of Arts & Entertainment in The Indianapolis Star. See image at right!

Bringing in the new year

(Jan. 29, 2006) - Hello Conga Jazz fans, hope '06 is better for all than '05. It's starting well for me: I got a job ... ha, finally and looking for another ... working for HP, building computers.

We have something pretty special, so please note your calendar for two events coming up.

Conga Jazz is being featured in the Indianapolis Star, yep, by Icon editor Jay Harvey. This was an in-depth interview that will appear in the Feb. 12 Sunday paper. Bring the article in and I'll give you a hug. ... Ha!

There will be a photo shoot at the famed Savoy Ultra Lounge, on Friday, Feb. 3. We play from 8 p.m. to midnight, across from St. Vincent's on 86th Street.

This leads up to a full concert of CJ at the Indianapolis Artsgarden for their 10th anniversary of Art & Soul Feb.17 from noon to 1 p.m., a monthlong tribute to Indy arts. Go to for the monthlong schedule. Hosted by radio personality Chuck Workman.

We are humbled to be a part of this great event, so come out and support and realize the amazing and gifted talent.

Thanks for all the support, means more than you know. ... Saludos to all. ...

Cover shot!

Conga Jazz was selected in 2004 to appear on's Indy MP3 Project. The selected track is "Rendezvous," written by Calland. The CD, with tunes by 170 artists, was distributed widely.

Publicity for this very hip compilation has been excellent. Check me out on the cover (see image at right) of the Indianapolis Star's Weekend section.

The CD hits keep coming ...

Conga Jazz has been selected to appear on a compilation CD to benefit the Columbus Area Arts Council, whose mission is providing visionary leadership for community cultural development. The title track, "Almost There," by Calland/Moss, is the selected track. This is very cool!

Creative renewal — in Cuba!

A personal note: I have been blessed to be awarded the Creative Renewal Fellowship Award from the Arts Council of Indianapolis for music.

This award will find me in Cuba, or Miami (Little Havana) sometime during the next year, to study with the origins of Latin jazz.

I am extremely honored and humbled for this award.

CDs are for sale at several locations

Conga Jazz has CDs for sale at several Indianapolis-area locations. The latest very cool addition is Sinfonia, your center for both classical and jazz music. They have both "Spirit" and our latest, "Almost There."

  • Sinfonia, Northview Mall, 1730 E. 86th St. Call (317) 843-0411 or (800) 566-0411.
  • Wherehouse Music in Broad Ripple
  • Sam Goody's at Circle Centre mall
  • Luna Music, downtown (next to the Chatterbox on Massachusetts Ave.)
  • Borders Books & Music, downtown Indianapolis
  • Borders Books & Music at River Crossing (just east of the Fashion Mall) in Indianapolis
  • Indiana Historical Society
  • Eiteljorg Museum of Indians and Western Art.

"Almost There" CD gets good ink

We have been blessed to have released our third album at last year's fourth Indy Jazz Fest, and it had a huge response.

The music critic for The Indianapolis Star, David Lindquist, had cool things to say about the CD. One great line is, "The title track, thanks to guitarist Sandy Williams, moves quickly and close to the ground." I love that line.

National columnist Dave Nathan, critic for "All Music Guide," also had great things to say about the album. In talking about the track "Mistico," Nathan refers to "Calland's steady, arresting percussive pulse. ... This tune brings images of warm, hot nights at a beachfront bar in Rio de Janeiro, making it one of the more engaging tracks on the set"

Conga Jazz gets a couple of nice mentions

All Music Guide, a respected international website, recently posted a very nice review of our first album, "Spirit."

"Each track is a spectacular adventure and a contrast," wrote reviewer Dave Nathan. "If the CD is any indication, the live performance which it documented must have been a flamboyant affair indeed. Recommended."

Check out the full review in All Music Guide.

Nuvo, the Indianapolis weekly newspaper, recently reviewed our show at the Jazz Kitchen, giving us a two-thumbs-up:

"Conga Jazz has a unique sound not readily found in Indy. The group manipulates their audience by melding original compositions with a selection of Santana covers. Escalating from the intricate melodies of classic jazz music to a pulsating rhythm, their music forces feet to start tapping, fingers snapping and heads bobbing."

You got that right, Nuvo!

Also, Nuvo's jazz columnist, Chuck Workman, had very nice things to say about Conga Jazz in a review of Indy's premier art event, Penrod.

"Conga Jazz, led by its percussionist, Larry Calland, continues to show marked growth with the adding of new players to the rhythm section."

Chuck went on to say that "Conga Jazz turned out a very well-balanced set at Penrod."

Thanks for help with website and publications

I'd like to thank Richard Sullivan of Monomedia Inc. for doing a fantastic job in creating and maintaining my site.

Also thanks to artist Patricia Gaines of Light Green Art Studio in Indianapolis. Pat's painting, "Music Man Exploration of Sound," combined with Conga Jazz performance photos, graces the cover of our CD, "Spirit," as well as much of  this website. The photos are courtesy of Scott McKim of Aladin Images Inc

I urge you to seek out Conga Jazz wherever we are. Once you find it, you will understand.

OK, all be blessed on this rock of uncertainty. We only have one shot at life. Make it count.


Larry Calland

There they go again! Conga Jazz gets some nice recognition from The Indianapolis Star in the Feb. 12, 2006 edition.

That's me (second from right) on the cover of the Indianapolis Star's weekend section, along with musicians from other bands featured on's new compilation CD.



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