Lenny White's "Venusian Summer" is a reissue of a 1975 album by this superb jazz drummer, assisted by great guitarists such as Al Di Meola, Larry Coryell, Ray Gomez and Doug Rodrigues, along with keyboard players including Jimmy Smith and Larry Young. Six tracks total mark this classic mid '70s fusion album, including "Chicken Fried Steak" and "Prince Of The Sea", the latter which features Di Meola and Coryell cuttin' heads. A drummer-led, guitarist-fueled instrumental fusion must-have.
One of the better entries to emerge from a genre that was quickly growing tired. Return to Forever drummer Lenny White, while not as powerful or talented as counterparts Billy Cobham or Alphonse Mouzon, had an excellent feel for funk and an amazing sense of taste. "Chicken-Fried Steak" contains enough odd-time beats and fills to satisfy any drum fanatic, but White proves to be more than just a technician. "The Venusian Summer Suite" and "Mating Drive" are both moody pieces that were obviously influenced by the music of Tangerine Dream. But the primary reason this session succeeds is "Prince of the Sea." It is a strong composition that features Al di Meola and Larry Coryell. This was their only recorded performance together in the '70s and fans are still seeking this recording out to see "who won". This is a must-have fusion recording.
I have no problem giving this album 5 stars or more! The drummer from Return to Forever delivers an incredible fusion album that never got the recognition it deserves! David Sancious does his usual wonderful job on keyboards on a few tunes. And the closing finale piece has superlative playing by fusion guitar legends Larry Coryell and Al DiMeola (they each take one long solo, then they trade alternating solos at the end...an album highlight, for sure!). Billed as a concept album (as hard as it is to do that with an instumental album), this CD features influences of jazz, rock, funk, an occasional drift into classical, and just GREAT performances by all the musicians involved, although I don't remember recognizing any of the personnel other than those I have mentioned. Wonderful guitar solos are plentiful........keyboards solos pop up here and there.......there's even a flute solo in there somewhere. And of course, Lenny's drumming is spectacular, as always. Lenny wrote or cowrote most of the songs.....although his fusion mindset on this album is much different (more rockin') than the tunes he wrote for Return to Forever. Still, if you like fusion and you're a Return to Forever fan, this is an overlooked classic that you just have to hear! Take my word for it!! Don't pass this one up!!!
Bought this on vinyl back in the seventies. This music is the essence of fusion. Although there are a couple of space funk tunes on the album the rest follows the Venusian summer theme.Mating drive is strictly high energy fusion at its best. The rhythm section of Doug Rauch on bass and Lenny on drums absolutely smokes. Raymond gomez does the guitar work on this tune and does not disappoint. Prince of the sea is my favorite tune on this compilation. It starts off with the sound of seagulls and the sound of the sea.As the tune builds,Tom Harrel plays a great flugelhorn solo. Next the amazing solo by Larry Coryell. Coryell at this point has one of the best sounds on his guitar and takes it to the moon .After a great keyboard solo by Onjae Allan Gumbs, Al Dimeola takes his turn. After his amazing solo both he and Coryell trade off back and forth with some of the best guitar playing I ever heard.Please be advised this music is not for the faint of heart. Buy this disc if you dare,it's monster! Oh yeah, one of the keyboard players David Sancious has an album he put out back then called The Forest of Feelings. What an amazing album. Not a bad tune on the record check it out.
1. Chicken-Fried Steak (4:33)
2. Away Go Troubles (Down The Drain) (3:21)
3. The Venusian Summer Suite:
Part 1. Sirenes (4:28)
Part 2. Venusian Summer (6:38)
4. Prelude To Rainbow Delta (1:10)
5. Mating Drive (7:40)
6. Prince Of The Sea (11:37)
Line-up / Musicians:
Lenny White - bateria, Wandering Clavinet, Minimoog, Eu Synthesizer, ARP 2600, baixo, tímpano, Snare Drum B1, Roto-Toms, triangulo, gongo, marimba, címbalo suspenso
Larry Coryell - guitarra (6)
Al DiMeola - guitarra (6)
Raymond Gomez - guitarra rítmica (1, 5)
Doug Rodrigues - guitarra (1, 2, 5)
Jimmy Smith - órgão (1)
Larry Young - órgão (5)
David Sancious - Minimoog, órgão
Peter Robinson (Quatermass, Brand X) - Clavinet, Minimoog
Weldon Irvine - órgão (2)
Onaje Allan Gumbs - piano elétrico, piano, Clavinet, Mellotron, órgão (2, 3, 5, 6)
Tom Harrel - Minimoog, flugelhorn
Patrick Gleeson - Eu Synthesizer, ARP 2600, Minimoog Hubert Laws - flauta
Doug Rauch (Santana) - baixo
Dennis MacKay - gongo