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LENNY WHITE

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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Lenny White biography
Legendary US drummer Lenny White was born in New York in 1949. After some years of musicianship in local bands, he participated in his first great job - recording of Bitches Brew with Miles Davis in 1969. In 1972 White joined the short-lived Azteca. It was after that band?s quick dissolve a year later that he joined Return To Forever, recorded 4 albums with them and got the reputation of respectable jazz-fusion drummer. Before RTF split up in 1977, White had made his debut as a bandleader two years earlier with the release of Venusian Summer.

Starting with a number of solo Fusion albums, Lenny moved into the 1980s, succeeding in genres ranging from Straight-Ahead Jazz ("Echoes of an Era" with Chaka Khan and "The Griffith Park Collection") to the Progressive Pop of his band Twennynine, Bass/Drum Funk with bassist Marcus Miller and the Jamaica Boys, and soundtracks for Spike Lee ("School Daze") and the Hudlin Brothers ("House Party").

Lenny then formed PRESENT TENSE with a mind that his musical exploration was still in its infancy. The first self-titled record included elements pulled from Lenny's entire career, but moved forward into Hard Rock, Modern Hip-Hop, and even what could be described as Heavy Metal. Today, the exploration continues with Lenny's new PRESENT TENSE, another band of younger, well-educated players who understand the complexities of Jazz, but who still have the open-minded abandon to follow Lenny's quick-to-change-direction musical lead.

Slava (Snobb)

Lenny White official website

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Buy LENNY WHITE Music


AnomalyAnomaly
Abstract Logix 2010
Audio CD$10.45
$7.20 (used)
Original Album SeriesOriginal Album Series
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$13.99
$13.77 (used)
Present TensePresent Tense
Limited Edition
Hip Bop Essence 1995
Audio CD$24.99
$5.99 (used)
StreamlineStreamline
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$7.82
$17.50 (used)
Adventures of Astral PiratesAdventures of Astral Pirates
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$9.64
$27.46 (used)
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LENNY WHITE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

LENNY WHITE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.89 | 22 ratings
Venusian Summer
1975
3.60 | 10 ratings
Big City
1977
3.38 | 13 ratings
Presents The Adventures Of The Astral Pirates
1978
2.98 | 9 ratings
Streamline
1978
3.00 | 4 ratings
Best Of Friends (as Twennynine Featuring Lenny White)
1979
2.00 | 4 ratings
Twennynine With Lenny White (as Twennynine With Lenny White)
1980
1.00 | 3 ratings
Just Like Dreamin' ( as Twennynine With Lenny White )
1981
1.67 | 3 ratings
Attitude
1983
2.96 | 4 ratings
Present Tense
1995
1.33 | 3 ratings
Renderers of Spirit
1997
2.67 | 3 ratings
Edge
1999
3.86 | 2 ratings
Tribute to Earth, Wind and Fire (as The Lenny White Project)
2000
3.08 | 5 ratings
Anomaly
2010

LENNY WHITE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

LENNY WHITE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

LENNY WHITE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Collection
2002

LENNY WHITE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

LENNY WHITE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Venusian Summer by WHITE,LENNY album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.89 | 22 ratings

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Venusian Summer
Lenny White Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Lenny White's debut solo album injects hot, sleazy funk into a sizzling jazz fusion context. It's not quite as polished, cutting-edge, or packed with surprises as, say, Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi albums - or even Hancock's more commercial Head Hunters offerings - but it's a solid listen which vividly evokes its era. You'd never mistake this for music from even a few years earlier or later; it reeks of the mid-1970s so distinctively that if you play it for too long you end up with Gerald Ford in the White House and gas shortages at the pumps. Play when you want accessible jazz fusion which could serve as a porn soundtrack and don't mind if it's a little dated.

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 Venusian Summer by WHITE,LENNY album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.89 | 22 ratings

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Venusian Summer
Lenny White Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

5 stars I cannot fathom how anyone hearing this album could not be blown away by the musicianship here. Doug Rauch on bass, Lenny White on drums, along with a veritable who's who of jazz fusion all-stars guesting throughout all playing as if their life depended on it. The song "Mating Drive" alone has got to be one of the greatest achievements in music performance with Lenny, Doug, David Sancious, organist extraordinaire Larry Young, and the most under-recongized super guitarist of all-time Ray Gomez, shredding the vinyl grooves with nothing but fire and brimstone! This album has it all: cinematic themes, funky fun, frenetic screams, players taxing their fingers and brains at break-neck speeds (check out Larry Coryell trying to keep up with Al Di Meola on "Prince of the Sea"). Another of my "closet favorites" from the 70s, this one has stood the test of time and remains one of my go-to albums for joy and exuberance. If you've never heard it, don't miss out! Venusian Summer has got some of the most amazing moments of virtuosity, passion, and beauty ever put to vinyl!

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 Streamline by WHITE,LENNY album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.98 | 9 ratings

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Streamline
Lenny White Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Knapitatet

3 stars The year is 1978 and Lenny White has just released his seminal album "Adventures Of Astral Pirates". Return To Forever has broken up the year before, and all of its members have gone on to successfull solo careers. Lenny White quickly made a name for himself as a capable bandleader, if a prehaps a little to trendy. "Adventures Of Astral Pirates" had prehaps been a little to insipred by the general aestethics of "Star Wars" wich had been released the year before, but it made up for that by being a fantastic peice of Jazz Rock. "Streamline" however is not as lucky. The addition of Don Blackman and Chaka Khan, and the uninspired cover art (is Lenny stuck inside of the video game "Portal"?) foreshadows a considerably more commercial sound. "Struttin'" betrays no such intent however, it is simply a solid Funk tune. "Lady Madonna", is where you realise where this is going. A HORRIBLY dated Disco cover of a Beatles tune. This was just two years after The Bee Gees had done the same in the legendary flop "All This and World War II" and considering how you cannot visit any Bar during the summer without hearing some sadist with a synth, butcher a Beatles classic, there really is no way to describe this song except horrendously cheesy.

"12 bars from mars" picks up the slack, with some solid Rock, but we soon return to Disco in "Earthlings" this time with some quasi religious lyrics to boot. It is first when we get to the three final song that i am really reminded that this is supposed to be a Jazz Rock album. Lennys drumming wich all throughout this album has been rather anonymous, really picks up, and the great Marcus Miller shines on the bass. The greatest track on the entire album must be the last one called "Cosmic Indigo". It is a great Jazz track with some good swing drumming and crazy responses between piano and guitar. Want to know the kicker? Its only fifty seconds long! All in all, "Streamline" really isnt one of Lenny Whites best albums. There are enough good Funk and Jazz Rock tracks to please the fanatic, but way too much filler and Disco for the rest of us to care. This obssession with trends has always been Lennys problem IMO (his Rap records from the 90's comes to mind) and one of the reasons that i think his albums are less remembered than Billy Cobhams. Its not really fair, and Lenny is still one hell of a drummer, but his best work still lies with Return To Forever and his first solo albums.

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 Presents The Adventures Of The Astral Pirates by WHITE,LENNY album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.38 | 13 ratings

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Presents The Adventures Of The Astral Pirates
Lenny White Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

3 stars One of those outstanding jazz scene virtuoso's, drummer Lenny White made his bones playing for the likes of Miles Davis(he appeared on the seminal 1969 album 'Bitches Brew') and Chick Corea's 'Return To Forever'. However, like fellow sticksman Billy Cobham, White soon tired of playing other people's material and set off on his own solo journey with 1975's well-received 'Venusian Summer'. One more album followed - 1977's 'Fat City' - before White, in tandem with fellow musicians Don Blackman, Nick Moroch and Alex Blake, created the following years 'The Adventures Of Astral Pirates', an album deemed by many fans to be his finest release of all. A kind of hyper-real, sci-fi themed, jazz-fusion concept piece, this 1978 album features one of the more colourful sleeve designs of the decade(no mean feat) and a succession of inter-linking pieces, all played with impressive quicksilver precision. Highlights include the Eastern-tinged 'Mandaran Warlords', which segues smoothly from ominous opening tones to delectable old-school jazz riffery, the seven-minute White-only penned closer 'Climax', which inserts up-scale tribal drum licks into a fizzing brew of skilful hi-tech jamming, and last but by no means least the snazzy, funk-dipped strut of 'The Great Pyramid'. Although by no means in the same exulted class as fellow fusion proprietors Return To Forever and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, this colourful album does still feature its fair share of dazzling instrumental moments; as a result, 'The Adventures Of Astral Pirates' should more than please all you 1970's fusion freaks. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2013

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 Venusian Summer by WHITE,LENNY album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.89 | 22 ratings

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Venusian Summer
Lenny White Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Vibrationbaby

4 stars Enough talent to sink a battleship here on this exquisite 1976 debut from drummer Lenny White who was at the time fresh out of the recently disbanded Return To Forever. Al DiMeola and Larry Coryell duel it out on the closing track and it is probably the only time that they recorded together in the 70s. Venusian Summer could even be considered a Lenny White / Doug Rauch collaboration such are the funky bass contributions of Doug Rauch ( Santana, David Bowie ). It sort of reminds me of the funked out Mango Sunrise album from the John Lee Gerry Brown rhythm section pairing that went virtually unnoticed arriving with little fanfare at the time but enjoying a ressurrection on CD and blogspots over the internet.

Venusian Summer with it's ethereal cover by Larry Kresek is an instrumental concept album that really is a one off for White who demonstrates his thoughtful & moody compositional prowess that owe a lot to his time with Return To Forever. Essentially a progressive jazz album that obviously has White preoccupied with electronic ambient music that was becoming increasingly popular in the mid-seventies. White blends this fascination unobstrusively and it just works nicely. Even The Brooklyn Syntharmonic Orchestra is brought in on the hauntingly sophisticated "Sirenes" that sounds more like a soundscape from an abstract Tangerine Dream epic than a section of a jazz / rock fusion piece that morphs into a funked out R&B jam complete with a flute solo from Herbert Laws a classically trained session man! Other ambient experiments occur throughout the album on the short experimental "Prelude To Rainbow Delta" as well as the intro to "Prince of the Sea" featuring the Coryell / Di Meola twinning that is worth whatever price you pay for this gem. Ray Gomez's slick, fluid lead giutar soloing on the manic 4/4 "Mating Drive" is also something for fusion purists to look forward to. Seventies fusion guitar personified here. There is also a ton of keyboard hardware to be heard throughout in the capable hands of David Sancious, Patrick Gleeson, Onaje Allan and Larry Young who even begins to sound like Emerson on "Mating Drive".

One neat thing White did with the original 1976 Atlantic / Nemporer vinyl release of this ambitious project was to write liner notes with brief descriptions about what each track was supposed to reflect musically, even dedicating "The Venusian Summer Suite" to the crew of the Starship Enterprise adding to it's futuristic "progressive" aura.

Cool, esoteric and pure seventies fusion.

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 Tribute to Earth, Wind and Fire (as The Lenny White Project) by WHITE,LENNY album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.86 | 2 ratings

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Tribute to Earth, Wind and Fire (as The Lenny White Project)
Lenny White Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Lenny's debut album "Venusian Summer" was extremely great release, but very soon he switched to commercial funk-jazz and I loosed any interest to his solo works (his collaborations with other musicians almost always showed his excellent level of musicianship though).

Many years have gone and Lenny returned with his "Lenny White Project" - all-stars team with bassist Ron Carter,excellent guitarist Bireli Lagrene and Patrice Rushen on piano,besides of himself. The only release of this project was recorded in Japan in 1998 and released in 2000 (Japan release only). It's a shame that this work for years was almost unnoticed in Europe and US.

First of all, musical material is of excellent quality - well-known r'n'b/jazz super-band Ears Wind and Fire compositions!But even more important - all them are played by acoustic post-bop super quartet!Everyone familiar with EW&F music knows how great they were at the beginning of their career and even when turned to more commercial direction later they still were excellent songwriters.

There on Lenny's tribute their well-known compositions gave a birth to fantastic music,full of acoustic guitar, piano, relaxed jazzy drums,deep bass groove and slight Latin scent in a moments. I expect rare listener could imagine how different and great these tunes can sound (when played by excellent acoustic jazz quartet).

Vanessa Rubin sings on one song (other are just instrumentals) and Wallace and Antoine Roney add their reeds arrangements in some places as guest musicians.But in general, this release is highest class musical material reworked by excellent musicians in a key of accessible and very enjoyable post-bop, removing even traces of disco influences of original versions.

My rating is 3,5, rounded to 4.

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 Anomaly by WHITE,LENNY album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.08 | 5 ratings

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Anomaly
Lenny White Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars First Lenny's solo album after 6 years , successful world tour with Return To Forever, great last years work with Stanley Clarke,Hiromi and Chick Corea.

Album's opener "Drum Boogie" is excellent groove composition with heavy keyboards, guitar/bass interplays. Return to form? "We Know" are filled with almost metal guitar, rich bass - but what a strange pop-rock melody is coming from this song! Somewhere in the middle of the composition my ears

were seriously worried: is it jazz fusion or just pop-rock instrumental? Third song, "Forever", gave me answer - soul/r'n'b song with female vocals and nice pop arrangements, so Lenny White didn't returned to his 70-s sound, he just recorded retrospective album, listener friendly album for everyone.

From that moment I really started to miss my interest. Rock-like soloing guitars ( even David Gilmour in a list of guests there) are used for adding some rock edge to pop-songs. "Dark Moon" is more jazzy, but nice standard soft-jazz piece again (ok, with David Gilmour on guitar and Victor Bailey on up-right bass).

Joe Henderson's "Gazelle", composition from 70-s, returning us back to keyboards-led fusion, almost in RTF vein." If U Dare" with distorted guitar sound, is again fusion, but more like "late 70-s", rounded enough to sound more comfortable.

"I wanted to have a rocking track that had strings like Led Zeppelin's 'Kashmir,'" says White on next composition, "Election Day". Bombastic and over-orchestrated, it sounds more as parody on LZ for me. OK,I can read in comments that this composition "pays tribute to the historic election of President Barack Obama". Let leave it alone!

"Coming Down" is melancholic ballade, led by distorted guitar, and sweet enough to be used in TV serial for housewives. "Catlett Out of the Bag" opens with not very enthusiastic drumming solo, but then develops to vintage funky organ led composition with Danny Walsh sax solo (in 70-s funky style)."Water Changes Everything" is African scented song with choir of vocalists in soul tradition. "Anthem" is quite faceless jazz-rock instrumental.

The last album's song, "The Wait Has Lifted the Weight", with Lenny's spoken words on the Obama Presidency and bombastic orchestral musical piece after, is possibly the least attractive composition on all album.

So - album's opener was greatest song and I was mistaken by it? Hah, I found - this composition was written by Lenny somewhere in mid 70-s, that is the reason.

Album for all possible tastes, including political.

My evaluation - 2,5, rounded to 3.

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 Venusian Summer by WHITE,LENNY album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.89 | 22 ratings

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Venusian Summer
Lenny White Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Lenny White recorded his solo debut still being a RTF drummer. But the music there isn't too much connected with RTF works. Yes, it is jazz fusion, but more similar to Herbie Hancock albums from early 70-s.

Lenny White is not a second Billy Cobham, but he is very competent and has great funk feeling. So, the album opener is funky fusion composition. But even if some funk is presented in more places there on the album, very important are both keyboards and guitars ( on few compositions). Spacey synthesizers (not in a manner of many electronic space bands, but very dreamy, atmospheric, heavily influenced by Hancock Mwandishi trilogy sound) build bigger part of album's music. Only final composition is filled with Al Di Meola - Larry Coryell guitars duet (beside keyboards).

Possibly not so deep experimental as Hancock's Trilogy, album sound is more accessible melting light funky rhythms with very innovative (for jazz fusion of mid 70-s) synth's airy constructions."Venusian Summer Suite" and "Prince Of The Sea" are both excellent examples of funky synth fusion from that time.

One of greatest Lenny's recordings, and really one of valuable fusion works from 70-s. Recommended to all jazz fusion fans. Lenny White's solo works has limited popularity, but this album could be a good entrance into his discography.

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 Venusian Summer by WHITE,LENNY album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.89 | 22 ratings

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Venusian Summer
Lenny White Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Logan
Special Collaborator Forum Moderator

4 stars Men are from Mars, sexy women are from Venus ... it being summer, they can forego clothes... I've always been interested in astronomy and have often trained my telescope on Venus, beats looking at Uranus, so I do know what I'm talking about, butt I digress.

Speaking of Venusians, what a beautiful album cover. It's the kind of imagery that I would like to paint on the side of my van cum love-mobile. It has wall-to-wall carpeting by the way -- I better stop this train of thought now before this review, I use the term loosely, gets completely off the wall and I get put up against the wall.

Lenny White is the drummer who played on the seminal album by Miles Davis, "Bitches Brew", and also played on the most excellent, musically better than "Bitches Brew" in my opinion, "Red Clay" by Freddie Hubbard. He also performed on Eddie Henderson's masterpiece, and I believe one of the greatest albums in JRF, "Realization" (which is what initially drew me to explore Lenny White albums). In fact, Lenny White has played with a great many of the jazz, and jazz fusion greats such as Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Buster Williams, Eddie Henderson, Billy Hart, Benny Maupin, Ron Carter, Joe Henderson, various Return to Forever guys obviously, but we forgive him ;), and Larry Coryell. This album and "Adventures of Astral Pirates" are my favourites under his name.

What particularly makes this album special is the "Venusian Summer Suite", and how sweet it is! It ranks amongst my favourite pieces of music in the jazz-rock universe, and this is the heart of the album. It starts off in an electronic, cosmic, and beautiful manner that is reminiscent of western art music composers such as Holst and Debussy (in fact, I thought I recognised the specific theme -- maybe not that original but still so wonderful). It is very much a Dr. Patrick Gleeson slice and it is his contribution that makes the opening so superb. It transitions fantastically into stirring, exciting, exhilarating (now I'm being really exasperating) jazz-funk. What a great track; one of the best in jazz-rock/electronic, and it should appeal to those who love music such as Herbie Hancock's "Sextant" and "Crossings" as well as Bennie Maupin albums -- adding this suite to a cosmic funk session (playlist) with tracks such as Bennie Maupin's 'Quasar' (the version from "Slow Traffic to the Right"), Eddie Henderson's 'Galaxy' off "Sunburst", 'Languidity' from Sun-Ra, and similar funky cosmic excursions is an epic thing to do.

If the whole album was up to the standards of the "Venusian Summer Suite" this album would get a five from me. It's not, but there is more to get pretty excited about.

"Chicken Fried Steak" and "Away Goes Trouble Down the Train" is good, fun and enjoyable, but nothing terribly remarkable. Pretty standard bluesy jazz-rock and rather boring for me. If you like electric guitar-oriented music and pretty bog-standard blues and rock-and-roll, this might hold considerable appeal. I still find it fun, but while these these pieces have their moments, I have tended to skip them. Still, it presents another side to the music and gives contrast, so as part of the album package, it makes the album better. Erm, sort of. Still, not the greatest start for an album for me. Of course things soon improve with the 'suite' that follows.

"Prelude to a Rainbow Delta", another very Gleesonish work (I'm pretty sure Gleeson composed it as well as performed), is a wonderful and short ambient electronic piece. It's reminiscent of Tangerine Dream and ilk (also hear such forays with Art Zoyd and Patricia Dallio's electronic work).

"Mating Drive" is terrific, driving JRF which starts off in the electronic world like "Venusian Summer Suite" then picks up steam -- strong technical drumming by White if not terribly imaginative (his drumming, though good technically does generally fail to particularly appeal as I don't find him to be a very creative drummer). Still, a damned fine "rockin" piece with enough jazz-funk to satisfy.

The final track, "Prince of the Sea" is also very good and rockin' jazz-rock (maybe a little too rockin'/ electric guitar oriented for me). Hardly a favourite track in jazz-rock fusion, but well-done. I wish it had more of an experimental edge, but very good never-the-less for what it is. I do wish it had more subtlety; however, it is still an excellent piece of jazz-rock and definitely enjoyable for me. I expect this would be the highlight of the album for quite a few. If you love Al Di Meola's electric guitar style, and like shredding or whatever you'd call this guitar-style. then you'll love this. This is the track I'd recommend to those into power metal and guitar hero music since the guitar style is reminiscent of shredding and hints of Eddie van Halen et cetera. I love the way it ends with a gong and seagulls -- pretty Zen (and maybe a touch cliché)

I'm giving this album a four because I do think it's very well-executed and it has some great music on it. Just for the "Venusian Summer Suite" alone I think this is pretty essential. Lowlights for me include guitar-work which is just not altogether my style (Coryell does good work on this, but I feel like Al Di Meola is not that 'elegant' here). The highlights include the electronics, great jazz-funk, and fine keyboard work.

On the whole I prefer "Astral Pirates," but this has such great music included that this is the most essential work I've heard from Lenny White's self-named albums. However, it has too many "mainstream" moments for me to consider this whole work amazing and, as if with a lot of jazz-rock, the compositions can suffer from overdone instrumental showmanship.

One I'd definitely recommend to many, but not so much, considering the bulk of the album, to those who prefer their jazz more experimental (as I often do). If you're more mainstream-oriented, then this could appeal hugely and open up new musical passions, but there's music for most everyone to really enjoy.

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 Streamline by WHITE,LENNY album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.98 | 9 ratings

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Streamline
Lenny White Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Ex-Return To Forever drummer's album is very groovy and pleasant one. Larry Dunn ,keyboard player and producer (and Earth, Wind and Fire musician as well), brings his funky r'n'b sound to all songs.

It's interesting, that instrumental compositions all are jazz-rock fusion, with heavy, almost aggressive guitar. But all vocal numbers are r'n'b ( and not the bad one: Chaka Khan and Diane Reeves both are presented on vocals).

Post- RTF Lenny White solo career is often a mixed bag, with long list of commercial releases. But even if not his best solo work, this album really can attract fusion fan. If you are not afraid of some r'n'b in your music.

Overall, quite different album, never boring, combining very quality moments from jazz-rock, funk and r'n'b scenes, but very energetic, groovy.( Contains The Beatles "Lady Madonna" cover).Musicianship is of the high level..

Possibly, more album for funk and r'n'b fans, could be in partial interest of jazz-rock fusion listeners as well.

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Thanks to snobb for the artist addition.

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