Michael White: Voices (2005)
Violinist Michael White was a popular jazz figure during the latter half of the 1960s. As a member of the San Francisco-based John Handy Quintet, White was pivotal. He founded the jazz/fusion cooperative The Fourth Way in the late '60s with pianist Mike Nock and bassist Ron McClure and subsequently recorded for Impulse! during the early 1970s. Except for a '98 duet album with Bill Frisell, Michael White has not recently recorded as a leader. For Voices, he is joined by bassist Cecil McBee, percussionist Kenneth Nash (together comprising his original Impulse! rhythm section), guitarist Timothy Young, and his wife Leisei Chen on vocals.
White explores his current musical philosophy, based upon spirituality within the boundaries of world music. The opening composition, "Message From The Sky," features an Indian drone by the violinist that lasts just short of eight minutes. It is not until the third track (twenty minutes into the album) that one hears the first appearance of a jazz combo presentation on "Jeff's Place," where Kenneth Nash's Latin percussion coheres nicely with White's violin and Young's guitar. The Wood/Mellin standard "My One And Only Love" is given a straightforward reading with an effective Young solo that follows the violinist's. At close to ten minutes, the track seems a bit overextended. On the other hand, "Fiesta Dominacal" really does capture the excitement of Latin jazz, specifically buoyed by Nash's efforts, and it could have been explored at greater length.
Track Listing: Message From The Sky; Circumambulation; Jeff's Place; Serenade; Mechanical Man; My One and Only Love; Rose MNoon; Fiesta Dominical.
Personnel: Michael White: violin; Timothy Young: guitar; Cecil McBee: bass; Kenneth Nash: percussion; Leisei Chen: vocals.