Sunday, March 15, 2015

Lenny White - 1977 [2017] "Big City"

On his second solo album, Big City, Return to Forever drummer Lenny White leads an all-star cast on a jaunt through the diverse worlds of jazz fusion. The title track is a groove-oriented monster that unites the Brian Auger Oblivion Express with the Tower of Power horn section. While "Sweet Dreamer" is a soft ballad that features the singing of Linda Tillery, and "Rapid Transit" is a study in funk built around the bass playing of Verdine White, both songs benefit from the presence of Herbie Hancock on electric piano. Not to be forgotten, Lenny White shows off his penchant for sharp and accelerated drum cadences on interludes titled "Egypt" and "Ritmo Loco." Yet his leanings towards rock are taken a bit too far with Ray Gomez and Neal Schon trading epic guitar solos on "Dreams Come and Go Away" as well as "And We Meet Again." Fortunately the gap between sonic freak-outs is bridged by the exceptional "Enchanted Pool Suite," which features Miroslav Vitous on acoustic bass, Jerry Goodman on violin, and Jan Hammer on Minimoog.

With a guest list of over a dozen (including Herbie Hancock,Neal Schon and Jan Hammer) one might think 'Big City' would be a somewhat overwelming album musically. And in many ways it can be-Lenny White's ambitions on this album were quite spacious as usual but he had a pretty good idea what it was he wanted to do. With the title song his intent was very clear:his music hear was going to be based in the groove and this one has plenty of funk-even Lenny Pickett of TOP shows up and his horn really adds to the overal spice of the tune! "Sweet Dreamer" is a simply beautiful,gentle ballad sung by the strong,husky singer Linda Tillery and has a wonderful humanitarian message delivered with great dignity-Herbie Hancock's dreamy solo is icing on the cake. After a couple brief orchestral interludes Herbie's back for a solo of a different color on the heavy fusion funk of "Rapid Transit",one of my favorite songs here.Another guest is emediatly identifiable guest is Verdine White who wraps is popping vamps aroun Lenny's thundering beats. A brief little blip after sure got my attention-the Afro-cuban electronica of "Ritmo Loco" where Lenny plays all the instruments (mostly percussion) and a moog drum solo that sounds a lot like a synthezier. Neil Schoen's presense here is best summed up by the wild "Dreams Come And Go Away". "Enchanted Pool Suite" presents us with an elongated fusion jam that goes from string section to jazzy funk interludes featuring Jan Hammer's keyboards that work so well with Lenny and keeps it right through the finale "And We Meet Again". 'Big City' joins the lost list of "all star fusion albums" the most famous of which is George Duke's Reach for It,Narada Michael Walden's Awakening and Norman Connors' You Are My Starship-all of which are worth checking out and all of which jump to the head of the class. This at least have one the idea that sophmore slump would'nt be a problem for Lenny White.

This album was one of the best releases from the now defunct Nemperor Records. The composition "Rapid Transit" features one of the best pianos solos from Herbie Hancock ever recorded. This CD should be in every fusion afficianado's collection.

"Big City" is far more throughaly funky and far less self
indulgent then alot of Lenny Whites solo work and therefore can be seen as an overall high water mark in his catalog.Nothing
on this album is dull or overdone and the funk level is set on
HIGH so if you want some Lenny White in your collection,get this!

This is White's second solo album ,the first one was Ven. Summer.
This is the ex-drummer from the great Chick Corea band Return
to Forever. His fame with them was on the CD Romantic Warrior.
(get this too ,amazing!!) The is much better than his first,
White uses an all-star cast to make this cd Groove!!! Great
CD,worth getting.

How long I have waited to see the great Lenny White's work available on digital media. I just died and went to heaven!!! This album is a funky masterpiece that has been hidden from view in the the digital world far too long!!! I still have my vinyl copy under lock and key as well as armed guards on duty round the clock!!! If anyone even thinks about stealing my "Big City" LP all I have to say is make sure your insurance premiums are paid up and you may as well say good-bye to your family, because when I catch you with my copy of Lenny Whites "Big City" the undertaker will have work to do!!!

Tracks Listing:
1. Big City
  2. Sweet Dreamer
  3. Egypt
  4. Nocturne
  5. Rapid Transit
  6. Ritmo Loco
  7. Dreams Come And Go Away
  8. Enchanted Pool Suite(Part I-II)
  9. And We Meet Again

Line-up / Musicians

Lenny White Synthesizer, Bass, Piano, Arranger, Conga, Drums, Keyboards, Timbales, Moog Synthesizer, Producer, Oberheim, Horn Arrangements, Roto Toms, Announcer, Mini Moog, Arp Strings, Moog Drum
Verdine White Bass  
Tower of Power Horn
Miroslav Vitous Bass, Bass (Acoustic)
Neal Schon Guitar, Guitar (Electric), Soloist
Marcus Miller Bass
Bennie Maupin Saxophone, Sax (Soprano)
Patrick Gleeson Synthesizer, Keyboards, Producer, Brass, Brass Arrangement, Arp Strings
Ray Gomez Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Arranger, Guitar (Electric), Performer, Soloist
Jerry Goodman Violin
Onaje Allan Gumbs Piano, Keyboards
Jan Hammer Piano, Keyboards, Piano (Electric), Mini Moog
Herbie Hancock Keyboards, Piano (Electric)
Paul Jackson, Jr. Bass
Paul Jackson Bass
Greg Adams Trumpet
Lamar Alsop Violin, Viola
Brian Auger Organ, Piano, Keyboards, Piano (Electric)
Raymond Beckenstein Flute
Don Blackman Performer
Alex Blake Bass
Al Brown Viola
Emilio Castillo Sax (Tenor)
Clive Chaman Bass
Louis Colin Harp
Michael Comins Violin
Harry Cykman Violin
Harvey Estrin Flute
Barry Finclair Violin
Paul Gershman Violin
Mike Gibbs Piano, Orchestration
Mic Gillette Trombone, Trumpet
David Earle Johnson Conga
Gary King Bass, Drums
Harold Kohon Violin
Stephen "Doc" Kupka Sax (Baritone)
Lennox Laington Conga
Walter Levinsky Flute
Jesse Levy Cello
Alex Ligertwood Guitar
Guy Lumia Violin
Charles McCracken Cello
Homer Mensch Double Bass
Jack Mills Guitar, Soloist
Marin Morganstern Violin
Marvin Morgenstern Violin
David Nadien Violin
Lenny Pickett Sax (Tenor), Lyricon, Soloist
John Pintavalle Violin
Max Pollikoff Violin
Alan Shulman Cello
Linda Tillery Vocals


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  2. Thanks so much sir!

  3. Pull out you vinyl copies of his first two albums. Side 1 of Venusian has locked groove music, and Big City has music on the locked grooves of both sides!