All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

2

Lenny White: Lenny White Live from '97

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
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 personnel alone is a hint at the quality of music," wrote White's funk co-conspirator and bassist Victor Bailey, who also played in Weather Report. His point is well taken: While White and Bailey stoke up the rhythm engines, the frontline features White's fellow Miles alumni Bennie Maupin (saxophones) and Foley (lead bass), synthesizer player Donald Blackman (from White's Twennynine band), pianist Patrice Rushen and trumpeter-vocalist Mark Ledford (who suffered a fatal heart attack in November 2004).

From the opening version of "Whew! What a Dream" through the encore version which closes this set, White rocks such big fat hard bass and snare drum sounds that everything he plays sounds funky—a sound he shares with John Bonham of Led Zeppelin, who is otherwise a completely different type of drummer. Two bassists—Bailey on rhythm, Foley on lead— plus White's heavy thumping transform "Dark" into a fire-breathing stomping dragon of psychedelic funk, and make Live from '97 a deliciously bottom-heavy set.

But it's more than a raging funk monster. "East St. Louis," six minutes on Present Tense, expands to more than twenty here. After a duet with Bailey, White slips the band into a jazzy groove, which Ledford's trumpet stabs and gores like one of St. Louis' most famous homegrown talents, Miles Davis. "Wolfbane" adds multiple, unison horns to a frantic but colorful fusion melody, and brings the house down with White's closing solo, which sounds like Bonham and Buddy Rich simultaneously discovering the same style.

Patrice Rushen's magnificent playing—in "Whew!," Bailey's "Pic Pocket" and "Wolfbane"—was an absolute revelation for me. I knew Rushen is a great musician; I did not know that she is a great jazz musician.

"My biggest impression of this great record is that while you may have heard all of us before, you've never heard us sound exactly like this. That's chemistry," Bailey's notes continue. "This is a great example of something Lenny and I discuss often, which is FUSION. This is our fusion. Not a million notes, not showing off how much chops we have, but 'fusing' our jazz knowledge and contemporary music knowledge together to create GREAT MUSIC."

"Many special musical moments are only memories for those fortunate enough to have witnessed the live event," wrote White. "We all thought this was special and now we share it with you."

Track Listing: Whew! What a Dream; East St. Louis; Pic Pocket; Dark; Wolfbane; Whew! What a Dream (alternate).

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

Title: Lenny White Live from '97 | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: BFM Jazz

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Der Dichter Spricht CD/LP/Track Review
Der Dichter Spricht
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Piano Works CD/LP/Track Review
Piano Works
by John Sharpe
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Throw Tomatoes CD/LP/Track Review
Throw Tomatoes
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Reflections 2 CD/LP/Track Review
Reflections 2
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Charlie & Paul CD/LP/Track Review
Charlie & Paul
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 25, 2018
Read "Lavaman" CD/LP/Track Review Lavaman
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 13, 2017
Read "Hide Ye Idols" CD/LP/Track Review Hide Ye Idols
by Troy Collins
Published: November 19, 2017
Read "Egregore" CD/LP/Track Review Egregore
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2018
Read "Loveplaydance: 8 Scenes From The Floor" CD/LP/Track Review Loveplaydance: 8 Scenes From The Floor
by Chris May
Published: March 28, 2018
Read "Dirt In The Ground" CD/LP/Track Review Dirt In The Ground
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 13, 2017
Read "Wherever You're Starting From" CD/LP/Track Review Wherever You're Starting From
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 8, 2018