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White, Lenny: Anomaly

Over ten years since his last solo release Return To Forever drummer Lenny White returns in a big way with his new disc for Abstract Logix entitled Anomaly. White, along with other like minded drummers Tony Williams and Billy Cobham helped bring the fusion sounds of jazz and rock to the forefront, has assembled a star studded cast of supporting musicians which includes among others, bassists Stanley Clarke and Victor Bailey, guitarist Jimmy Herring and drummer Mike Clark, known for his work in Herbie Hancock's Headhunters.

White's intention on Anomaly was to create a fusion style disc with the sound of a rock album, but what is most impressive about this collection of music, in addition to some absolutely top notch musicianship, is just how perfectly White covers all the bases musically. He veers in an out of different styles with relative ease over the course of this eleven song collection, and yet nothing ever seems out of place. For example just in the first three tracks alone he establishes that Anomaly isn't going to be your typical fusion style release. "Drum Boogie" finds his him laying into some serious funk underneath Bailey's infectious bass groove and the equally as funky organ solo by Donald Blackman, before guitarist Nick Moroch lets loose with a torrid flurry of notes in his inspired solo. From there it's directly into "We Know" which begins as a relatively straight ahead, rock track with its muscular rhythms before the stage is turned over to Moroch and David Bendeth, an established producer but apparently also one hell of a guitarist as well. His frenzied soloing featured on the other side of a brief bass solo from RTF band mate Stanley Clarke helps lift this track straight into the stratosphere. "Forever" takes the instrumental pyrotechnics of the two previous cuts down significantly as female vocalist Nicki Richards brings her velvety sounding, soulful sprinklings to this smooth little R&B style gem.

The whole album is really one big highlight from beginning to end but other tracks worthy of mention include White's sleek rendition of Joe Henderson's "Gazelle" in which he demonstrates through a series of perfectly executed fills why he is regarded as one of the premier players of our time. "Election Day" is an upbeat sounding track celebrating the election of President Barak Obama, while "Catlett Out Of The Bag" offers a dual drum jam with Clark overtop a supercharged organ fueled groove, punctuated by a fiery horn section. A message of hope is delivered on the vocal track "Water Changes Everything" written for the people of Africa, while the closing number "The Wait Has Lifted The Weight" features White's own spoken musings on Obama's election, and what the monumental moment in history meant to black Americans. This incredibly cinematic and orchestral sounding composition features such a rich tapestry of sound; it is unlike anything we've come to expect from him. What's also remarkable about this song is that it here you have a musician who has been creating some of the most challenging music for well over four decades now, and yet there are apparently still some musical avenues that haven't been fully explored. It just further proves that age old adage that the best musicians are always the ones who are willing to learn and grow regardless of how long they've been plying their craft. After "The Wait Has Lifted the Weight" caresses your ears you'd swear that Lenny has been operating in this orchestral vein since day one.

While it may sound like a cliché, Lenny White like a fine wine has definitely gotten better with age and if you don't believe me, then one listen to Anomaly should be enough to change your mind. This is nothing less than a five star release from one of the most respected and accomplished musicians of our time.

Track Listing
1) Drum Boogie
2) We Know
3) Forever
4) Dark Moon
5) Gazelle
6) If U Dare
7) Election Day
8) Coming Down
9) CatLett Out Of The Bag
10) Water Changes Everything
11) Anthem
12) The Wait Has Lifted The Weight

Added: May 16th 2010
Reviewer: Ryan Sparks
Related Link: Abstract Logix
Hits: 2269
Language: english

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