Friday, June 23, 2017

Lenny White – Didn’t Know About Love

Most Wanted! Lenny White – Didn’t Know About Love (Till I Found You) (Elektra)

The least one can say is that Jazz/Funk didn’t get the exposure it deserved back in the day. Nothing that surprising at the end of the day, considering the reluctancy of a majority of radio programmers to venture into experimenting territories. Therefore, props have to be given once again to the late Frankie Crocker for havin’ supported alternative music on NYC WBLS 107.5 back then…

Some of you might wonder why then giving space, more than 30 years after, to things that never managed to generate a significant impact? And our answer will just be the same as it would have been back in the day. Because we feel like its our duty to give a mention to what we believe to be music you might like. Regardless its origin, its release date or whatsoever…

No need stating as to how the majestic ‘Didn’t Know About Love (Till I Found You)’ belongs to that category. Seeing Jazz fusion drummer Lenny White foraying into groovier territories.

From the very first note, you can tell we’re in front of a one of a kind piece of music. In the vein of Love Unlimited‘s ‘High Steppin’, Hip Dressin’ Fella (You Got It Together)’ for instance. With Keeley Curtis takin’ the lead and background singers beautifully harmonizin’ things up. As if they were carressing the groove. As for the music arrangements themselves, they come up as a perfect balance between the roughness of Marcus Miller‘s typical slapped bass added to the piano, and the exquisiteness of the chords and keys. With extra big ups to WMOT Records house production pair David Todd and Nick Martinelli on the remix duties…

Overview
NYC-born self-taught drummer Lenny White first appeared in local groups before joining Jackie McLean by the end of the 60’s. He eventually gave his contribution to the recording of Miles Davis‘ ‘Bitches Brew’ album in 1969. The year after, he appeared on Freddie Hubbard‘s seminal ‘Red Clay’ album.

Lenny White recorded 3 albums with Azteca (in 1972, 1973 and 2008) before joining Chick Corea‘s Return To Forever. He stayed with the band for 3 years, eventually working with some of the who’s who of Jazz artists in the meantime. From Joe Henderson to Gato Barbieri, Stanley Clarke and Eddie Henderson among others. Then after the breakup of RTF, he headed various projects of his own.

He explored groovier territories while giving birth to Twennynine in 1979. The group released 3 albums without generating a great following, to the exception of the memorable ‘Fancy Dancer’. A cut which Frankie Crocker heavily championed back then on WBLS. Lenny White went further on under his own name with the 1993 ‘Attitude’ album. An album most likely remembered for ‘Didn’t Know About Love (Till I Found You)’ featuring Bernard Wright on piano and Marcus Miller on bass.

He later became one of The Jamaica Boys, along with Wright, Marcus Miller and Dinky Bingham. And together, they released 2 albums in 1987 and 1990.

Still active, Lenny White could be seen jamming along with Buster Williams at the 2016 Oslo Jazzfestival.

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