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Lenny White - Venusian Summer CD (album) cover

VENUSIAN SUMMER

Lenny White

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.05 | 31 ratings

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Progfan97402
5 stars This album really left me totally blown away. I couldn't believe what I was hearing! It's easy to be skeptical about solo albums from drummers. Sure Phil Collins, Don Henley, and even Ringo Starr had their share of successful solo albums, they did record songs geared for pop hit radio, and they all could sing. Usually, I imagine the reason for a drummer's solo album is to stroke their ego. That's how I felt about Carl Palmer's part of ELP's Works Vol. 1, none of the music left an impression on me, and the remake of "Tank" was a bit unnecessary. But there are people like Billy Cobham, Bill Bruford, and Lenny White who realize the rest of the music mattered as much as their drumming, and Lenny's Venusian Summer only proves that! This was released at the time where Return to Forever was still going on, here he has a list of musicians, varies depending on cut. He had included the likes of Larry Coryell, his RTF bandmate Al DiMeola, Ray Gomez, Peter Robinson (Quatermass, Sun Treader, Brand X), Dr. Patrick Gleeson (Herbie Hancock), and others. The first two songs, "Chicken Fried Steak" and "Away Go Troubles Down the Drain" (obvious Roto-Rooter reference) are firmly in the funk fusion vein, and the funkiness totally rivals anything I heard from Herbie Hancock's funk phase. Then a huge surprise comes next with "The Venusian Suite", a rather trippy, spacy ambient synthesizer park, which then goes into fusion territory. There is a bit of a spacy approach to the second half, and also includes some nice flute playing, with funky overtones. "Prelude to the Rainbow Delta" is another one of those calm spacy ambient numbers, which them goes into the unbelievable overdrive of "Mating Drive". This totally sounds like Mahavishnu Orchestra on steroids (which is saying a lot, given those guys weren't exactly slouches either). Spanish guitarist Ray Gomez must have worshipped at the altar of John McLaughlin, he even gives him a run for his money. It's only appropriate the last song, "Prince of the Sea" should be a bit more calm, not electronic, but still fusion, with guitar from both Larry Coryell and Al DiMeola. I really like the diverse ground he and participating musicians cover, some fusion albums can get a bit monotonous because they tread on safe water. Not what Lenny White does here, he's not afraid to go funk, go into Mahavishnu Orchestra territory, or into spacy ambient territory. As years pass, I have learned not to throw five stars at everything, but with an album like this packed full on nothing but amazing stuff, this album really deserves it. This album is truly a must have for all fusion fans!
Progfan97402 | 5/5 |

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