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Lenny White biography
Legendary US drummer Lenny White was born in New York in 1949. After some years of musicianship in local bands, he participated in his first great job - recording of Bitches Brew with Miles Davis in 1969. In 1972 White joined the short-lived Azteca. It was after that band?s quick dissolve a year later that he joined Return To Forever, recorded 4 albums with them and got the reputation of respectable jazz-fusion drummer. Before RTF split up in 1977, White had made his debut as a bandleader two years earlier with the release of Venusian Summer.

Starting with a number of solo Fusion albums, Lenny moved into the 1980s, succeeding in genres ranging from Straight-Ahead Jazz ("Echoes of an Era" with Chaka Khan and "The Griffith Park Collection") to the Progressive Pop of his band Twennynine, Bass/Drum Funk with bassist Marcus Miller and the Jamaica Boys, and soundtracks for Spike Lee ("School Daze") and the Hudlin Brothers ("House Party").

Lenny then formed PRESENT TENSE with a mind that his musical exploration was still in its infancy. The first self-titled record included elements pulled from Lenny's entire career, but moved forward into Hard Rock, Modern Hip-Hop, and even what could be described as Heavy Metal. Today, the exploration continues with Lenny's new PRESENT TENSE, another band of younger, well-educated players who understand the complexities of Jazz, but who still have the open-minded abandon to follow Lenny's quick-to-change-direction musical lead.

Slava (Snobb)

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Hip Bop Essence 1999
$10.88 (used)
Venusian Summer RemasteredVenusian Summer Remastered
Wounded Bird Records 2017
$7.99 (used)
Big City RemasteredBig City Remastered
Wounded Bird Records 2017
$9.86 (used)
Abstract Logix 2010
$9.96 (used)
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LENNY WHITE discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

LENNY WHITE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.04 | 34 ratings
Venusian Summer
3.82 | 13 ratings
Big City
3.37 | 17 ratings
Presents The Adventures Of The Astral Pirates
2.99 | 12 ratings
3.00 | 4 ratings
Best Of Friends (as Twennynine Featuring Lenny White)
2.00 | 4 ratings
Twennynine With Lenny White (as Twennynine With Lenny White)
1.00 | 3 ratings
Just Like Dreamin' ( as Twennynine With Lenny White )
2.50 | 5 ratings
2.91 | 5 ratings
Present Tense
1.75 | 5 ratings
Renderers of Spirit
2.33 | 4 ratings
3.86 | 2 ratings
Tribute to Earth, Wind and Fire (as The Lenny White Project)
3.08 | 6 ratings

LENNY WHITE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

LENNY WHITE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

LENNY WHITE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings

LENNY WHITE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Big City by WHITE,LENNY album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.82 | 13 ratings

Big City
Lenny White Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars Big City is Lenny White's second solo album and his first upon leaving Return to Forever. Here he recruited a ton of musicians, more so than on Venusian Summer. Notables include Herbie Hancock, Tpwer of Power horn section, Brian Auger and his Oblivion Express (including Alex Ligertwood, Jack Mills, Clive Chaman, and Lennox Langton), Patrick Gleeson, Marcus Miller, soul singer Linda Tillery, Verdine White (Earth, Wind & FIre member and younger brother of Maurice White, of course), Jan Hammer, Jerry Goodman, David Earle Johnson, Miroslav Vitous, Bennie Maupin, and too many others. The title track sounds like a horn- driven version of Return to Forever (I know, Musicmagic used horns, but this is much better). Organ appears, from Brian Auger, naturally. I was a bit skeptical of "Sweet Dreamer" given the presence of Linda Tillery, as I was expecting some truly awful soul ballad, in the style of Motown or Philly International at its most sappy. Not at all, it's a rather pleasant song avoiding the worst pitfalls of that style. It's also the only song with vocals on the whole album. Then album gets more funky, more or less picking up where Venusian Summer left off, although the music isn't quite as spacy, and has a more urban feel to it (no surprise, given the album is titled Big City). There are some short orchestral pieces, with some amazing Mahavishnu Orchestra-type stuff going on, with violin from Jerry Goodman, and synth solos from Jan Hammer. "And We Meet Again" is a tribute to Miles (Miles Davis, of course, since Lenny did play on Bitches Brew). It's recorded live, and shows a more raw approach.

I was blown away by Venusian Summer, but Return to Forever's Musicmagic is as bad as most everyone says it is, so I feared Lenny White went that route on Big City. I am so happy that's as far from the truth as you can get. While I find Venusian Summer a better album, this is still very much worth having for fans of fusion and there are no bad songs on it, not even "Sweet Dreamer".

 Venusian Summer by WHITE,LENNY album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.04 | 34 ratings

Venusian Summer
Lenny White Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. The only thing keeping me from hitting the 5 star button is that funk fuelled opening track, the second is funky too but a much better tune. The rest is incredible to my ears so yes this is a top 15 album for me for 1975 right now. Lenny White is such a talented man and during a break from RETURN TO FOREVER he brought in some amazing musicians to record this his first solo album. I love that Patrick Gleeson from those "Mwandishi" albums is here along with many known names like Larry Young, Al DiMeola, Larry Coryell, David Sacious and more. That album cover would be perfect if the girl with the horns wasn't there. The title implies a Venus-like Summer I believe.

"Chicken-Fried Steak" is indeed funky with White adding clavinet to his drum duties. Some expressive guitar here as well. Catchy stuff and check out the organ from Jimmy Smith around 3 1/2 minutes. "Away Go Troubles Down The Drain" is also funky but the attraction for me here is the abundance of intricate sounds. Just a pleasure to really listen to this one even if I feel the remainder of this album is better. Sancious adds organ and synths to this one and we also get some guitar after a minute.

"The Venusian Summer" is a top three tune for me. The first of two sections that make up this track are filled with synths as four guys all play them and we also get sequencers and then piano late from Lenny. It's surprisingly spacey and dark. The latter is surprising given the title of the song. The second part of the song sounds completely different as we get this great sounding atmosphere as intricate sounds come and go. So good! Piano after 6 minutes followed by flute.

"Prelude To Rainbow Delta" is a short intro track to the next song. This has spacey synths and some percussion as it builds to a powerful sound full of atmosphere. It blends into "Mating Drive" a top three tune for me. It's sparse and atmospheric at first, spacey and dark. Soon it kicks in to an uptempo groove just before a minute. The lead guitar from Raymond Gomez shines here, Larry Young adds organ. Gomez is on fire before 3 minutes as he lights it up, nice bass as well. Organ to the fore after 4 minutes then it's the guitar's turn 5 1/2 minutes in. Check out the drumming to end this smoldering song. Nice.

"Prince Of The Sea" is my favourite song on here and a perfect closer. I love the guitar and here Al DiMeola and Larry Coryell put on quite the show, like a duel of sorts trading solos. Atmosphere and the sound of sea gulls to start. Soon synths I believe, then some piano and flugelhorn are added as it stays relaxed and mellow. A beat kicks in before 3 1/2 minutes along with guitar. It takes a minute but soon the guitars start to dominate. They are trading solos before 9 1/2 minutes. Oh my! It becomes a shred-fest. Nice. Sea gulls are back before 11 1/2 minutes to end it.

An incredible album that doesn't start off that well but just seems to get better as it plays out. Highly recommended to fans of Jazz/ Fusion out there. One of the classics.

 Streamline by WHITE,LENNY album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.99 | 12 ratings

Lenny White Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars While "Streamline" is certainly not as accomplished a work as the classic "Venusian Summer", it does merit its own place in Lenny White's discography , as well as being a rather original symbiosis of jazz, funk and fusion, armed with some harsher guitar work, a rather unusual combination that has not been overused to say the least. The list of luminaries include guitarist extraordinaire Jamie Glaser (JL Ponty), famous bass man Marcus Miller and finally Earth, Wind and Fire keyboardist Larry Dunn, who certainly adds to the funky vibe. Guitarist Nick Moroch has worked with Eddie Jobson's Zinc and provides a fair amount of crunch. That being said, this is a tale of two sides, one of pleasure and one of pain. Let's start with the torture first and get it out of the way. The first 4 tracks are painful. There are also 3 mini tracks under a minute that add absolutely nothing to the mix.

"Struttin" is bearable, a pure funk/rock hybrid with a chugga-chugga beat and expected flow. Kind of sloppy, which negates all the value within, as Lenny does this binary beat that lacks any conviction. There is a rather unfortunate rendering of the classic Beatles tune "Lady Madonna" which cannot even come close to the brilliant original, with way too much urban shrieking courtesy of Chaka Khan, a musical Swiss fondue that will make one cringe. The messy and disjointed "12 Bars from Mars" is presumably referring to intergalactic saloons that serve watered down drinks with soggy 'rocks' as this just goes nowhere in a warp hurry. "Earthlings" is sadly even worse, a stringy cheese of disco-inspired yuck, with a pedant vocal from Diane Reeves and a wholly predictable Moroch guitar solo that could have been so much more fulfilling.

Then, out of the blue, the album reverts to what it should have been, a serious jazz-rock extravaganza, though one has to wonder with a strange title like "Pooh Bear" (egad!). But the sweet scat-voiced background gives way to some smoking hot bass runs, a shuffling drum beat and some inspiring moments. Yeah, it's funky but technically sound and adventurous. Cool pickin' on guitar makes this a surprising illumination. "I'll See You Soon" is the longest track and serves up some interesting fare led by a looping bass run, as Marcus Miller is quite the virtuoso, a simple lilt that also fancies a slippery and bright Don Blackman synth solo. A favorable track again. The bass playing on "Night Games" is fully inspired and phenomenal, as if Marcus was the only one on board with this session, a nice Fender Rhodes piano section from Blackman and Lenny finally inspiring his wrists to go beyond the norm.

Not a bad album but not really anything special either. Just interesting. Nowhere near does one approach the effect of "Venusian Summer" and that Beatles cover version should be banned.

3 restructures

 Venusian Summer by WHITE,LENNY album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.04 | 34 ratings

Venusian Summer
Lenny White Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Another long forgotten jazz-rock gem from the heady Golden Years of rock music, Lenny White needs no introduction, having made his name with the still resounding and active Return to Forever. This his first solo album from 1975 has a lot going for it which is why it remains so highly rated , though not an easy or obvious find. The artwork is certainly typical of the era in question, an evocative horned nubile woman spread out on a Venusian landscape. As befits the jazz fusion genre, the guest list is quite impressive with such luminaries as guitarists Al DiMeola, Ray Gomez and Larry Coryell, keyboardists Dave Sancious, Jimmy Smith, Larry Young and Peter Robinson, former Santana bassist Doug Rauch and flugelhorn player Tom Harrell.

There is a strong American urban feel throughout the tracks, I daresay hyper funky in many ways, with loads of electric piano courtesy of Onaje Allan Gumbs. There are also blended into the mix a few ambient synthesizer interludes, as this was Patrick Gleeson's claim to fame both with Herbie Hancock (the "Sextant" album in particular) which contributes to the proggy feel. The first 2 tracks serve as warm up and do not really reflect the remaining 4 brilliant tracks, as both the oily "Chicken Fried Steak" and the rather flippant "Away Go Troubles (Down the Drain)" are nothing more than competent and amusing appetizers.

The glorious and epic title track is a fine case in point, served with a long spectral synth envelope to cast one out into deep space, voyaging into the cosmos with conviction and the will to discover ("Sirenes"). As soon as the initial electronic boosters are finally jettisoned, the icy cool jazz-funk groove kicks in with Lenny leading the rhythmic charge, flugelhorn in tow, blooming into a convoy of synthesized vehemence, in fact a devilish duel between Gleeson and Robinson that is jaw-dropping in intensity. The mood is catchy, eventful and bright, truly sophisticated music.

The hyper-active tornado is apparent on the dizzying "Mating Drive" , a super-funky and ambitious that has a sensational Ray Gomez extended guitar solo that is lightning precise and deadly , a furious Larry Young organ flurry, bubbly turbo-charged bass from Mr. Rauch and Lenny bashing away unmolested. Smoking chewy cigars, it's a boy!

Always saving the longest and the best for last, the tectonic "Prince of the Sea" starts off smoothly enough, a horizon of sweet synthesized fluffs, twinkling e-piano and languorous flugelhorn to set the stage for 2 of the greatest electric guitarists anywhere, as both DiMeola and Coryell trade licks as only they can, with convincing desperation and exalted confidence. Flicks of many wrists are on display, from all contributors, but electric guitar fans are in for quite a lesson in wizardry, emotion, speed and delivery.

Don't let the 2 intro pieces fool one into denying this recording's place in one's collection, as the three longest tracks here are world class compositions that will please many if not all progressive music fans. I am glad it still sits well in my collection.

4 July lovers

 Venusian Summer by WHITE,LENNY album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.04 | 34 ratings

Venusian Summer
Lenny White Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Progfan97402

5 stars This album really left me totally blown away. I couldn't believe what I was hearing! It's easy to be skeptical about solo albums from drummers. Sure Phil Collins, Don Henley, and even Ringo Starr had their share of successful solo albums, they did record songs geared for pop hit radio, and they all could sing. Usually, I imagine the reason for a drummer's solo album is to stroke their ego. That's how I felt about Carl Palmer's part of ELP's Works Vol. 1, none of the music left an impression on me, and the remake of "Tank" was a bit unnecessary. But there are people like Billy Cobham, Bill Bruford, and Lenny White who realize the rest of the music mattered as much as their drumming, and Lenny's Venusian Summer only proves that! This was released at the time where Return to Forever was still going on, here he has a list of musicians, varies depending on cut. He had included the likes of Larry Coryell, his RTF bandmate Al DiMeola, Ray Gomez, Peter Robinson (Quatermass, Sun Treader, Brand X), Dr. Patrick Gleeson (Herbie Hancock), and others. The first two songs, "Chicken Fried Steak" and "Away Go Troubles Down the Drain" (obvious Roto-Rooter reference) are firmly in the funk fusion vein, and the funkiness totally rivals anything I heard from Herbie Hancock's funk phase. Then a huge surprise comes next with "The Venusian Suite", a rather trippy, spacy ambient synthesizer park, which then goes into fusion territory. There is a bit of a spacy approach to the second half, and also includes some nice flute playing, with funky overtones. "Prelude to the Rainbow Delta" is another one of those calm spacy ambient numbers, which them goes into the unbelievable overdrive of "Mating Drive". This totally sounds like Mahavishnu Orchestra on steroids (which is saying a lot, given those guys weren't exactly slouches either). Spanish guitarist Ray Gomez must have worshipped at the altar of John McLaughlin, he even gives him a run for his money. It's only appropriate the last song, "Prince of the Sea" should be a bit more calm, not electronic, but still fusion, with guitar from both Larry Coryell and Al DiMeola. I really like the diverse ground he and participating musicians cover, some fusion albums can get a bit monotonous because they tread on safe water. Not what Lenny White does here, he's not afraid to go funk, go into Mahavishnu Orchestra territory, or into spacy ambient territory. As years pass, I have learned not to throw five stars at everything, but with an album like this packed full on nothing but amazing stuff, this album really deserves it. This album is truly a must have for all fusion fans!
 Venusian Summer by WHITE,LENNY album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.04 | 34 ratings

Venusian Summer
Lenny White Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Lenny White's debut solo album injects hot, sleazy funk into a sizzling jazz fusion context. It's not quite as polished, cutting-edge, or packed with surprises as, say, Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi albums - or even Hancock's more commercial Head Hunters offerings - but it's a solid listen which vividly evokes its era. You'd never mistake this for music from even a few years earlier or later; it reeks of the mid-1970s so distinctively that if you play it for too long you end up with Gerald Ford in the White House and gas shortages at the pumps. Play when you want accessible jazz fusion which could serve as a porn soundtrack and don't mind if it's a little dated.
 Venusian Summer by WHITE,LENNY album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.04 | 34 ratings

Venusian Summer
Lenny White Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars I cannot fathom how anyone hearing this album could not be blown away by the musicianship here. Doug Rauch on bass, Lenny White on drums, along with a veritable who's who of jazz fusion all-stars guesting throughout all playing as if their life depended on it. The song "Mating Drive" alone has got to be one of the greatest achievements in music performance with Lenny, Doug, David Sancious, organist extraordinaire Larry Young, and the most under-recongized super guitarist of all-time Ray Gomez, shredding the vinyl grooves with nothing but fire and brimstone! This album has it all: cinematic themes, funky fun, frenetic screams, players taxing their fingers and brains at break-neck speeds (check out Larry Coryell trying to keep up with Al Di Meola on "Prince of the Sea"). Another of my "closet favorites" from the 70s, this one has stood the test of time and remains one of my go-to albums for joy and exuberance. If you've never heard it, don't miss out! Venusian Summer has got some of the most amazing moments of virtuosity, passion, and beauty ever put to vinyl!
 Streamline by WHITE,LENNY album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.99 | 12 ratings

Lenny White Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Knapitatet

3 stars The year is 1978 and Lenny White has just released his seminal album "Adventures Of Astral Pirates". Return To Forever has broken up the year before, and all of its members have gone on to successfull solo careers. Lenny White quickly made a name for himself as a capable bandleader, if a prehaps a little to trendy. "Adventures Of Astral Pirates" had prehaps been a little to insipred by the general aestethics of "Star Wars" wich had been released the year before, but it made up for that by being a fantastic peice of Jazz Rock. "Streamline" however is not as lucky. The addition of Don Blackman and Chaka Khan, and the uninspired cover art (is Lenny stuck inside of the video game "Portal"?) foreshadows a considerably more commercial sound. "Struttin'" betrays no such intent however, it is simply a solid Funk tune. "Lady Madonna", is where you realise where this is going. A HORRIBLY dated Disco cover of a Beatles tune. This was just two years after The Bee Gees had done the same in the legendary flop "All This and World War II" and considering how you cannot visit any Bar during the summer without hearing some sadist with a synth, butcher a Beatles classic, there really is no way to describe this song except horrendously cheesy.

"12 bars from mars" picks up the slack, with some solid Rock, but we soon return to Disco in "Earthlings" this time with some quasi religious lyrics to boot. It is first when we get to the three final song that i am really reminded that this is supposed to be a Jazz Rock album. Lennys drumming wich all throughout this album has been rather anonymous, really picks up, and the great Marcus Miller shines on the bass. The greatest track on the entire album must be the last one called "Cosmic Indigo". It is a great Jazz track with some good swing drumming and crazy responses between piano and guitar. Want to know the kicker? Its only fifty seconds long! All in all, "Streamline" really isnt one of Lenny Whites best albums. There are enough good Funk and Jazz Rock tracks to please the fanatic, but way too much filler and Disco for the rest of us to care. This obssession with trends has always been Lennys problem IMO (his Rap records from the 90's comes to mind) and one of the reasons that i think his albums are less remembered than Billy Cobhams. Its not really fair, and Lenny is still one hell of a drummer, but his best work still lies with Return To Forever and his first solo albums.

 Presents The Adventures Of The Astral Pirates by WHITE,LENNY album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.37 | 17 ratings

Presents The Adventures Of The Astral Pirates
Lenny White Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

3 stars One of those outstanding jazz scene virtuoso's, drummer Lenny White made his bones playing for the likes of Miles Davis(he appeared on the seminal 1969 album 'Bitches Brew') and Chick Corea's 'Return To Forever'. However, like fellow sticksman Billy Cobham, White soon tired of playing other people's material and set off on his own solo journey with 1975's well-received 'Venusian Summer'. One more album followed - 1977's 'Fat City' - before White, in tandem with fellow musicians Don Blackman, Nick Moroch and Alex Blake, created the following years 'The Adventures Of Astral Pirates', an album deemed by many fans to be his finest release of all. A kind of hyper-real, sci-fi themed, jazz-fusion concept piece, this 1978 album features one of the more colourful sleeve designs of the decade(no mean feat) and a succession of inter-linking pieces, all played with impressive quicksilver precision. Highlights include the Eastern-tinged 'Mandaran Warlords', which segues smoothly from ominous opening tones to delectable old-school jazz riffery, the seven-minute White-only penned closer 'Climax', which inserts up-scale tribal drum licks into a fizzing brew of skilful hi-tech jamming, and last but by no means least the snazzy, funk-dipped strut of 'The Great Pyramid'. Although by no means in the same exulted class as fellow fusion proprietors Return To Forever and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, this colourful album does still feature its fair share of dazzling instrumental moments; as a result, 'The Adventures Of Astral Pirates' should more than please all you 1970's fusion freaks. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2013
 Venusian Summer by WHITE,LENNY album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.04 | 34 ratings

Venusian Summer
Lenny White Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Vibrationbaby

4 stars Enough talent to sink a battleship here on this exquisite 1976 debut from drummer Lenny White who was at the time fresh out of the recently disbanded Return To Forever. Al DiMeola and Larry Coryell duel it out on the closing track and it is probably the only time that they recorded together in the 70s. Venusian Summer could even be considered a Lenny White / Doug Rauch collaboration such are the funky bass contributions of Doug Rauch ( Santana, David Bowie ). It sort of reminds me of the funked out Mango Sunrise album from the John Lee Gerry Brown rhythm section pairing that went virtually unnoticed arriving with little fanfare at the time but enjoying a ressurrection on CD and blogspots over the internet.

Venusian Summer with it's ethereal cover by Larry Kresek is an instrumental concept album that really is a one off for White who demonstrates his thoughtful & moody compositional prowess that owe a lot to his time with Return To Forever. Essentially a progressive jazz album that obviously has White preoccupied with electronic ambient music that was becoming increasingly popular in the mid-seventies. White blends this fascination unobstrusively and it just works nicely. Even The Brooklyn Syntharmonic Orchestra is brought in on the hauntingly sophisticated "Sirenes" that sounds more like a soundscape from an abstract Tangerine Dream epic than a section of a jazz / rock fusion piece that morphs into a funked out R&B jam complete with a flute solo from Herbert Laws a classically trained session man! Other ambient experiments occur throughout the album on the short experimental "Prelude To Rainbow Delta" as well as the intro to "Prince of the Sea" featuring the Coryell / Di Meola twinning that is worth whatever price you pay for this gem. Ray Gomez's slick, fluid lead giutar soloing on the manic 4/4 "Mating Drive" is also something for fusion purists to look forward to. Seventies fusion guitar personified here. There is also a ton of keyboard hardware to be heard throughout in the capable hands of David Sancious, Patrick Gleeson, Onaje Allan and Larry Young who even begins to sound like Emerson on "Mating Drive".

One neat thing White did with the original 1976 Atlantic / Nemporer vinyl release of this ambitious project was to write liner notes with brief descriptions about what each track was supposed to reflect musically, even dedicating "The Venusian Summer Suite" to the crew of the Starship Enterprise adding to it's futuristic "progressive" aura.

Cool, esoteric and pure seventies fusion.

Thanks to snobb for the artist addition.

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