Amazon.com Widgets

Lenny White: Lenny White Live (2013)

By Published: | 4,995 views
Lenny White: Lenny White Live How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Drumming legend Lenny White
Lenny White
Lenny White
b.1949
drums
made his first trip to Japan in 1971, before he became a stick wielding star with fusion pioneers Return to Forever
Return to Forever
Return to Forever

band/orchestra
. He's played to appreciative audiences in that country time and again over the years, in various settings and with various outfits, so it comes as a shock to hear that he didn't receive an offer to bring one of his own groups over there until 1997. When the offer finally came, White didn't waste the opportunity. He called up some old friends and put together a band with muscle and groove to spare. The resultant tour was a success, as White and company found their funky, fusion-laced footing without a problem. Now, the music they made on that tour is available for all to hear.

Lenny White Live features lengthy treatments of material from a pair of then-current White albums—Present Tense (Hip Bop Essence, 1995) and Renderers Of Spirit (Hip Bop Essence, 1996)—and every performance betters its original counterpart. The material still essentially exists in the same form, as electric fusion that marries funk, rock, R&B and jazz, but it breathes fresh air, not stifled oxygen. Slamming beats underscore corrosive-and-serrated solo lines ("Dark"), a restrained-heady duality comes into focus ("East St. Louis"), steady pocket playing serves as a foundation for individual explorations ("Whew! What A Dream"), and a fired up, funky bottom powers energetic discoveries that occur above the surface ("Wolfbane").

The band burns with the fire of a thousand suns, following White wherever he may go. Bennie Maupin
Bennie Maupin
Bennie Maupin
b.1940
clarinet
leaves his bass clarinet at home, but it turns out he doesn't need it; his saxophone(s) serve him well, whether melting flesh ("Wolfbane") or messing around with "Nature Boy" during a solo spot ("East St. Louis"). Trumpeter Mark Ledford meshes well with Maupin and his muted voice makes an impression that isn't all Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Davis
1926 - 1991
trumpet
-style moodiness. The rhythm section, which contains two bassists, two keyboard players, and White, may sound unwieldy on paper, but each player has a specific role. Victor Bailey
Victor Bailey
Victor Bailey
b.1960
bass, electric
is the slapping, groove-setting bassist who occasionally comes out front, and Foley delivers guitar-like, "lead bass" work. Patrice Rushen
Patrice Rushen
Patrice Rushen
b.1954
keyboard
is responsible for to-die-for piano solos that rip through the fabric of these songs, while Donald Blackman delivers the atmospheric, and occasionally unearthly, keyboard work that appears throughout.

White, as many already know, provides the hands and feet that serve as the hammer(s) of God. He remains a powerhouse of a drummer, capable of driving a song with muscular beats that, while hardly refined, remain appropriate within the context that he's created. He's a passion player with the chops to back up his enthusiasm and he's capable of building an arc of intensity that few others can match. He produced this recording so the mix is built in his image, with a balanced sound that still gives some love to the oft neglected low end. This is a fusion feast that took way too long to serve; maybe White has some other tasty treats in his archive that he'll offer up for consumption in the near future.

Track Listing: Whew! What A Dream; East St. Louis; Pick Pocket; Dark; Wolfbane; Whew! What A Dream (alt.).

Personnel: Mark Ledford: trumpet; Bennie Maupin; saxophones; Foley: lead bass; Patrice Rushen: keyboards; Donald Blackman: keyboards; Victor Bailey: bass; Lenny White: drums.

Record Label: BFM Jazz

Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


comments powered by Disqus
Search
Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Mark Elf

Mark Elf

About | Enter

Stefano Bollani

Stefano Bollani

About | Enter

Carmen Lundy

Carmen Lundy

About | Enter

Wadada Leo Smith

Wadada Leo Smith

About | Enter

Bandzoogle: GET STARTED TODAY - FREE TRIAL

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.

Article Search