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

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ron E. Carter - Play Hendrix – Covering the Jimi Hendrix catalogue requires skill as well as thought about which arrangements to interpret and which ones not to disturb. Stevie Ray Vaughn’s cover of “Voodoo Chile -...  (2002) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues