Lenny White played powerful funky drums on some of the best records in jazz and jazz fusion history, including Freddie Hubbard's triumphant Red Clay with Creed Taylor (CTI, 1970), Miles Davis' (in)famous Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1970), Romantic Warrior (Columbia, 1975) from his tenure in the Return to Forever rhythm section, and more.Lenny White Live from '97 captures the drummer leading a first-call cast of electric and fusion jazz players through a thoroughly magical night during White's Japanese tour in support of his two previous studio albums, Present Tense (HipBop, 1995) and Renderers of Spirit (HipBop Essense, 1996). The ...read more
Drumming legend Lenny White made his first trip to Japan in 1971, before he became a stick wielding star with fusion pioneers Return To Forever. 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 ...read more
Intro |#2 | #3 |#4 The gigs in Germany were fantastic, great audiences. The band is starting to hit its stride. In Hamburg, about 1,000 real dedicated fans stood in the rain for the full performance. In Neckarsulm, we played at the Audi performance center inside an Audi car manufacturing plant, a remarkable structure filled with classic and current Audi cars. Overall, this is an amazing band. We played in Essen, Germany, at a classical music festival that was held in a hall that had great acoustics. The audience members were subscription ...read more
Intro | #2 | #3 | #4 [Editor's note: After opening night in Northampton, Massachusetts, Lenny White and his Return To Forever band mates played at the M&T Jazz Festival in Syracuse, New York, then headed north to Canada for festival dates in Montreal and Ottawa. After filing this report, RTF IV played a third festival date in Toronto, and then got on a plane to Berlin.] Show time! It was cold and rainy in Syracuse the day of the concert, but the rain stopped in time ...read more
Intro | 2 | 3 | 4 [Editor's note: Lenny White and the other members of the legendary jazz/rock band Return To Forever began a world tour last February in Australia, and on Friday, June 24th resume in Northampton, Massachusetts. After that it's north to Canada for three dates, over to Europe for a month, then back to the U.S. for the summer. Throughout the tour you'll have the opportunity to get a unique insider's perspective on performing live music, as the journeyman drummer regularly posts his comments here. How big is ...read more
Russian music has a mile-wide streak of tragedy and sorrow running through it. If Americans hadn't invented it first, the blues could have been born on the banks of the Volga River, instead of the Mississippi. But it wasn't, so the closest thing to seeing how that might have turned out is Blues for 4, featuring a pair of Russian musicians, saxophonist Igor Butman with pianist Adrei Kondakov, along with American veterans, drummer Lenny White and the great bassist, Eddie Gomez. Recorded in 1996 and released in Russia on the Soyuz label, the album has now been re-released on Butman's ...read more
When that cool, overcast dawn arrived in Bethel, New York, neither the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair's expired permit, nor the rain, mud, and technical problems could have kept Jimi Hendrix and his Band of Gypsys from playing. It was destiny. Believe it. A hundred miles south on that same morning of August 18, 1969, Miles Davis had gathered the four other members of his famous quintet at his New York City home for a short rehearsal: drummer Jack DeJohnette, saxophonist Wayne Shorter, bassist Dave Holland, and pianist Chick Corea. He'd also invited the 19 year-old drummer ...read more
At twenty-five, Lenny White had established a reputation as one of the best drummers in jazz-rock and fusion, having featured as a nineteen year-old on trumpeter Miles Davis' epochal Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1969) and forming one-half of the formidable rhythm team, alongside bassist Stanley Clarke in Chick Corea's seminal fusion group, Return to Forever. In the thirty-plus years between RTF's break up and 2008 reformation, White has also recorded with a long list of topnotch jazz musicians including saxophonists Stan Getz, Joe Henderson and Jackie McLean, pianist Andrew Hill, trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and bassist Ron Carter. Solo albums have been ...read more
Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Lenny WhiteKoerner HallToronto, ONSeptember 2009
Koerner Hall, the sumptuous and spiffy new concert hall at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, celebrated the second day of its grand opening festival with a sold-out jazz program to demonstrate the organizers' willingness to provide different musical genres to the vast metropolitan community. Audience members of all ages admired the new performance center.Some of the jazz-rock fusion legends making up Return to Forever (RTF)--Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Lenny White--are starting a world tour, making this a special night to ...read more
Miles Davis kicked the fusion door open in 1969 and some people still haven't gotten over it. Among the future jazz star innovators on Bitches Brew (Columbia/Legacy, 1969) was an unknown eighteen year-old Tony Williams fanatic named Lenny White, who found his recording debut making history. Now an elder statesman at almost sixty, White maintains a furiously fast level of invention tied to an appropriately superhuman technique. Despite recently recovering from shoulder surgery, White packs a punch enviable in a man half his age.AllAboutJazz: How's the shoulder holding up?Lenny White: The shoulder is coming along fine ...read more
When French pianist Michel Petrucciani finally succumbed, at the age of 37, to the debilitating illness that plagued him for his entire life -- osteogenensis imperfecta, an illness that stunted his growth and caused his bones to be so brittle that they were all too-easily broken -- the jazz world lost a player who, while contributing so much in such a short span of time, also had so much more to give. That he began playing professionally at the age of 15 and recorded his first album at 18 meant, at least, that there is a significant body of work ...read more
I regard Lenny White's Present Tense as one of the best fusion recordings of the '90s, so I had high hopes for this one. Edge is an appropriate title for this latest from the ace drummer. It definitely bites harder than White's last two Hip Bop releases, but some tracks suffer from technology overkill. Edge is more overtly influenced by hip-hop and contemporary R&B than White's other '90s releases, and fans of all those two genres will find much here to like. But there's a pre-programmed feel to some of the tracks that I didn't detect on White's ...read more
Drummer Lenny White never shortchanges his listeners on star talent - or tremendous musical combinations. Here, he nominally leads a dream band featuring guitarist Kenny Burrell (who, by virtue of the alphabet, gets first billing), pianist Cedar Walton, bassist Ron Carter, trumpeter Tim Hagans and reedman Craig Handy. This set of easy, relaxed blues seems, at first listen, predictable and as programmatic as White's other Hip Bop all-star aggregates (Essence of Funk with Tom Browne and Benny Maupin and Afro Cubano Chant with Gato Barbieri and Bob James). But in this age of fifteen-dollar disks, there is something very rewarding ...read more
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