Exposé Online banner

Lenny White — Big City
(Wounded Bird WOU, 1977/2001, CD)

Lenny White — Venusian Summer
(Wounded Bird WOU 435, 1976/2001, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2002-04-01

Big City Cover artVenusian Summer Cover art

Looking back thirty years later on the “golden age” of jazz-rock fusion, we tend to focus on the super tight unison lines and complex rhythmic structures of the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return to Forever. We tend to forget (or at least I do) that fusion had a funky side, and these two solo releases from RTF’s ace drummer are a reminder of it. Both feature a similar outline: funky grooves (topped by hot playing from an all-star cast) set off with meditative moments that to today’s ears sound like New Age pseudo-classicism. The title suite of the first album could be from the lost soundtrack to Foxy Brown Goes to Venus. It starts with some spacey and (for the time) innovative electronics from Patrick Gleeson, then works its way into a mid-tempo funk beat with wah-wah guitar, trilling strings and a flute solo from Hubert Laws. Al DiMeola, David Sancious, Jimmy Smith, and others fill out White’s drums, keyboards, bass, and percussion parts. The second album starts out with its title cut, pealing out in high gear with the Tower of Power horns backed by White and Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express. That energy is killed by a lame vocal ballad featuring Linda Tilery, which even Herbie Hancock’s great piano solo can’t redeem. Fortunately that’s the only real misstep. After a couple of short interludes, “Rapid Transit” is a real gem, energetic and fun. Neal Schon, Jerry Goodman, Jan Hammer, Miroslav Vitous, and others show up for their moments in the spotlight.


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 24, 2001 releases, 1977 recordings, 1976 recordings

Related artist(s): Larry Coryell, Bennie Maupin, Lenny White, Michael Gibbs, Jan Hammer, Jerry Goodman, Al Di Meola, David Sancious, Herbie Hancock, Larry Young (Khalid Yasin Abdul Aziz), Miroslav Vitouš, Dr. Patrick Gleeson

Latest news

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Porcupine Tree - Metanoia – This hard-to-find treat was released after the live album Coma Divine but prior to the latest album Stupid Dream as a limited edition gatefold double 10" vinyl-only release. Recent interviews...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues