Sunday, August 21, 2011

Lenny White - Venusian Summer (1975)

Oh Noes! It's Fusion!

I imagine I am not alone in avoiding this album for a long time due to its, frankly, hideous cover art. But it's a very groovy number, and mercifully mostly free of the greater excesses of fusion that you might have expected from just looking at the cover, although it does have a mini-moog solo or two. And just look at the list of synthesizers in the credits.

Lenny White was one of the battery of batterie on Miles Davis's Bitches Brew, and later joined Chick Corea's Return to Forever. Must admit, I've never really dug RTF, other than the first couple of albums with Airto and Flora Purim. Maybe I'll give 'em a go one day. Lenny's lately been playing in a trio with Larry Coryell and Victor Bailey, whose recordings I've enjoyed.

This one features guest spots from such notables as Larry Young (aka Khalid Yasin), Larry Coryell, Al DiMeola, Hubert Laws and Jimmy Smith (not sure whether this is The Incredible Jimmy Smith himself, but I think it might be). As a bonus, unlike several albums of its ilk, there are no fawning references to L. Ron Hubbard in the liner notes.

This was Lenny's debut album as leader. I gather it came out on CD on Wounded Bird some years ago, but seems to be unavailable now. Fairly common on vinyl, though, and easy to spot with that cover.

Recorded June and August 1975, Electric Lady Studios, New York.
Engineer Dennis MacKay.
Produced by Lenny White.
Mastered by John Dent.

A1: Chicken-Fried Steak (4:36)
A2: Away go Troubles Down the Drain (3:32)
The Venusian Summer Suite:
A3: Part 1. Sirénes (4:27)
A4: Part 2. Venusian Summer (6:04)*
B1: Prelude to Rainbow Delta (1:13)
B2: Mating Drive (7:43)
B3: Prince of the Sea (11:37)

Nemperor Records, USA, 1975. Cat # NE 435

Lenny White: Drums, Clavinet, Mini-Moog, Eµ synthesizer, ARP 2600, piano, snap bass [whatever that is], percusssion.
Doug Rauch: bass (A1, A4, B2, B3)
Doug Rodrigues: guitar (A1, A2, B2)
Raymond Gomez: rhythm guitar (A1)
Jimmy Smith: organ (A1)
David Sancious: Mini-Moog, organ (A2, A4)
Weldon Irvine: Organ (A2)
Allan Gumbs: electric piano, piano, Clavinet (A2, A4)
Patrick Gleeson: Eµ synthesizer, ARP 2500/2600, Mini-Moog, Oberheim digital sequencer (A3, A4, B1)
Tom Harrel: Mini-Moog (A3), orchestration (A3, A4), flugelhorn (B3)
Hubert Laws: flute (A4)
Dennis MacKay: backwards gong (B1)
Larry Young (Khalid Yasin): organ (B2)
Larry Coryell: guitar (B3)
Al DiMeola: guitar (B3)

All songs written by Lenny White except:
A1 by Dough Rauch & Doug Rodrigues
A2 by Lenny White, Doug Rauch & Doug Rodrigues
B1 by Patrick Gleeson

320kbps mp3
[Links Fixed 22/1/12]

*Side one has some low-volume music looping in the lock groove. I have preserved a few revolutions at the end of 'Venusian Summer,' just because I think things like that are cool.