LENNY WHITE — The Love Has Never Gone: Tribute to Earth, Wind & Fire (as Lenny White Project)

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LENNY WHITE - The Love Has Never Gone: Tribute to Earth, Wind & Fire (as Lenny White Project) cover
3.50 | 3 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2000

Filed under Post Bop
By LENNY WHITE

Tracklist

1. Evil (4:53)
2. Fantacy (8:48)
3. Earth, Wind & Fire (7:08)
4. After the Love Has Gone (7:51)
5. See the Light (7:13)
6. Runnin' (5:46)
7. Spirit (6:25)
8. Gateway (6:59)

Line-up/Musicians

- Ron Carter /bass
- Patrice Rushen /piano
- Bireli Lagrene /guitar
- Wallace Roney /trumpet
- Antoine Roney /saxophone
- Vanessa Rubin / vocals on "After The Love Has Gone"
- Lenny White / Drums

About this release

Music Taste/Horipro (Japan)

Recorded in Japan in 1998.

Thanks to snobb for the addition

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LENNY WHITE WIND & FIRE (AS LENNY WHITE PROJECT) THE LOVE HAS NEVER GONE: TRIBUTE TO EARTH reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

js
I didn’t know what to expect when I saw that Lenny White had recorded a CD of Earth Wind and Fire tunes. Certainly the complex jazzy pop of EW&F could lend itself to all manner of exotic arrangements and tone colors, but White and his crew decided not to go that direction and instead used the EW&F melodies as simple lead tunes for some modern post bop jamming ala a live club type scenario. In fact, on many of these tunes its hard to tell they are playing EW&F at all, they could just as well be jamming out on any tune from the fake book. The two ballads, “After the Love is Gone” and “Spirit”, as well as “Fantasy” are probably the ones that stay recognizable from start to finish, but that’s not to say that freeing things up on the other tunes is a bad thing at all. Although my hopes and expectations had leaned towards wanting to hear some creative arrangements, going the simple route and treating this like a bar gig may have been the best way to avoid excessive pretensions.

All that nitpicking aside, the playing on here is great. For being an early 21st century post bop record, this one has a lot of life and energy, there is no pastel-by-the-numbers clichés. On every track the band digs in hard and reaches for their best, pushing each other along. Lenny is not the most subtle drummer in the world, but he still has plenty of drive and is apt to reach into his old rockin/fusion thunder approach when the band gets worked up. Lots of great talent on here, but possibly the star of the show is guitarist Bireli Lagrene, an interesting choice for this project as he is usually known for his Django tributes.
snobb
Lenny's debut album "Venusian Summer" was extremely great release, but very soon he switched to commercial funk-jazz and I loosed any interest to his solo works (his collaborations with other musicians almost always showed his excellent level of musicianship though).

Many years have gone and Lenny returned with his "Lenny White Project" - all-stars team with bassist Ron Carter,excellent guitarist Bireli Lagrene and Patrice Rushen on piano,besides of himself. The only release of this project was recorded in Japan in 1998 and released in 2000 (Japan release only). It's a shame that this work for years was almost unnoticed in Europe and US.

First of all, musical material is of excellent quality - well-known r'n'b/jazz super-band Ears Wind and Fire compositions!But even more important - all them are played by acoustic post-bop super quartet!Everyone familiar with EW&F music knows how great they were at the beginning of their career and even when turned to more commercial direction later they still were excellent songwriters.

There on Lenny's tribute their well-known compositions gave a birth to fantastic music,full of acoustic guitar, piano, relaxed jazzy drums,deep bass groove and slight Latin scent in a moments. I expect rare listener could imagine how different and great these tunes can sound (when played by excellent acoustic jazz quartet).

Vanessa Rubin sings on one song (other are just instrumentals) and Wallace and Antoine Roney add their reeds arrangements in some places as guest musicians.But in general, this release is highest class musical material reworked by excellent musicians in a key of accessible and very enjoyable post-bop, removing even traces of disco influences of original versions.

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