Michael J Calhoun

Michael J Calhoun

Michael J Calhoun has been a staple in the R&B and Gospel communities for more than four decades, and is going as strong as ever.

Calhoun began his career headed toward glory with the band Kinsman Dazz. With a name derived from the 1977 hit song by Brick ("Dazz" or disco-jazz), Kinsman Dazz burst onto the scene in 1978 with their own brand of Ohio funk.  Their first two albums, on 20th Century Fox Records, resulted in a couple minor hits and began to gather a small following for the group.   In 1980 the group, then consisting of Calhoun, Bobby Harris, Michael Wiley and his brother Isaac Wiley, singer/trumpeter Skip Martin, Eric Fearman, Ken Pettus, Kevin Frederick and Pierre DeMudd, shortened its name to The Dazz Band and signed with Motown Records.

The Dazz Band's first two Motown albums didn't do much better than their earlier releases, hitting the middle of the R&B charts.  But that all changed with 1982'sKeep It Live, a funkier, club friendly album that included the uber-infectious dance hit "Let It Whip."  That single instantly turned the group into stars, topping the R&B and Dance charts and winning for The Dazz Band a Grammy for Best R&B Performance.  It also began a half decade of chart strength, mostly consisting of upbeat hits that followed the template of "Let It Whip."  "Joystick," "On the One for Fun" and "Let It All Blow" all hit the top ten and the accompanying albums were equally successful. 

By 1986, Calhoun, a prolific songwriter and guitar player, was gone and signed with MCA Records, also touring with the reggae band Identity. He then returned to Cleveland in 1992 to write and help produce an album for Cozette Morgan and, later in the decade, toured with The Travis Haddix Blues Band for two years.

Calhoun then recorded two albums in the new millennium. In Blue was an project with elements of rock, funk, rap, jazz, blues and even a few gospel tunes that give tribute to his spiritual roots. He then released The One to positive reviews in 2009. In 2012, Calhoun brought back the Kinsman Dazz moniker and reissued In Blue. In 2013, Kinsman Dazz released the funk/jazz single, "Thang 4 U" and followed it up a few years later with the hit, "Soul Jam."

In 2020, Calhoun was hitting the charts with Gospel music that had a groove. He hit the charts with both "God's On Our Side" and "Saved," and won a new legion of fans for himself

By Chris Rizik

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