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

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ian McDonald - Drivers Eyes – Let us take a long journey back through the ether to advent of progressive rock. Who do you see lurking around in the shadows? Well one person was Ian McDonald whose group, King Crimson, was a magic...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues