BIO / DISCOGRAPHY
For many musicians, there comes a time when being a successful sideman isn’t enough and a true artist with a unique voice emerges. For Michael White, drummer extraordinaire whose multi-faceted resume as a touring and session player has encompassed a versatile blend of Rock, Country, R&B and Jazz for over fifteen years, that time is now.
“After so many years playing on other people’s projects, I’m looking forward to sharing my own music with the audience, “ says Michael. It’s like most of the work I do in contemporary Jazz, live and in the studio – no sequencers, no overdubs or sampling, no frills, just solid playing by great musicians. I bring a spirit to my music. I put all my heart and soul into a unique sense of groove. I go by feel, trying to make the music just feel good. If you feel good, everything else comes easy. If a tune isn’t grooving, then it is hard to focus on the strength of the lead instrument. But if you’ve got the flow happening, it sets up an even pace for everything.”
Michael, who is also a world class percussionist versed in Reggae, Latin and Brazilian Jazz, grew up in Chicago and began playing drums at age four. Influenced by the city’s lively music scene and inspired by legends like Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson, Elvin Jones, as well as Coltrane and Miles, he was always active in school and neighborhood bands the same. He earned several scholarships, including one to the American Conservatory of Music, a prestigious Chicago music college, where he solidified his drumming skills and learned about composition, mallets, and piano playing. From local gigs, playing with the likes of Ramsey Lewis, word of his talent spread and soon he was too busy working and was forced to drop out of school. Soon he was laying down grooves for some of Chicago highest profile artists, among those being The Dells, Curtis Mayfield, The Impressions, and Jerry Butler. Michael went on his first tour during this time with Denise Williams and a tour with Lou Rawls and Curtis Mayfield soon followed.
He ventured to Los Angeles in 1982, where he put to test his credo that “To be a working musician you can’t be one-dimensional.” During a gig at a Chicago club Phil Upchurch told Michael that if he came to LA, he would offer him a regular Sunday gig at the Baked Potato, which would offer the young musician maximum exposure to the cities top musicians. He took the bait, and was soon embarking on a whirlwind career – alternating studio, movie scores and jingle dates with extensive touring with the who’s who of modern music.
The litany of Michael White’s studio and live association over the years is staggering in its versatility and adaptability to all genres. Of his ability to play in such diverse settings, Michael comments, “It’s all music to me. As a drummer the main thing I think about is the groove! Everything else is just icing on the cake. “
The evolution is complete. An amazing drummer and one of the most accomplished sideman in the business, has finally stepped out.
Artists Mike has worked with:
Al Green Althea Renee Anjulie ATF Wah Wah Watson Barry Eastmond Benson Birds of a Feather Bobby Lyle Bobby Nunn Boney James Boz Scaggs Brian Culbertson Brian Simpson Cal Harris Jr Chante Moore Cherly Lynn Club 1600 Craig Sharmat Curtis Mayfield Dan Siegal Darren Rahn Dave Koz David Benoit David Sanborn Denice Williams Diana Ross Donald Fagen Donald Harrison Dru Hill Dwayne Smitty Smith Earth Wind and Fire El DeBarge Eric Gale Euge Groove Everette Har Everette Harp Frankie Beverly Freddie Fox Freddie Jackson Freddie Washington Gail Jhonson Gary Taylor George Benson George Duke George Howard Gerald Albright Gerald Levert Hill St soul Horace Silver Howard Hewett Imprompt2 Jaared James Ingram Jarreau Jay Soto Jeff Golub Jeff Kashiwa Jeff Lorber Jerry Butler Joe Joe Sample Jonathan Butler Juanita Dailey Junko Yagami Kashif Keith Washington Kenny Burke Kenny Lattimore Kevin Whalum Kevon Edmonds Kim Waters Kirk Whalum Koko Lee Toko Furuuchi LA. Jazz Syndicate Lalah Hathaway Ledesi Lindsay Buckingham Lou Rawls Luther Vandross Marcus Miller Marilyn Scott Marion Meadows Mary J Blige Mavis Staples Maysa Maze Michael Brecker Michael Broenig Michael McDonald Michael Paulo Mike's Client List: Al Jarreau Mike Phillips Mindi Abair Najee Norman Brown Norman Connors Pat Kelley Patrice Rushen Patti Austin Patti LaBelle Paulette McWilliams Paul Jackson Jr Paul Taylor Phil Perry Phil Upchurch Pointer Sisters Rachelle Ferelle Raheem DeVaughn Ramsey Lewis Ray Fuller Ray Parker Jr Rex Rideout Rhythm Logic Richard Elliott Rick Braun Rickey Minor Rikki Lee Jones Ronnie Laws Sing Like Talking Soul Bossa Trio Stanley Clark Stanley Turrentine Steely Dan Steve Cole Super Funky Sax The Commodores The Dells The Emotions The Four Tops The Gap Band The Impressions The Ojays The Wiggles Tim Bowman Tina Marie Tom Braxton Tom Scott Unam Urban Jazz Network Vanessa Williams Warren Hill Wayman Tisdale Whitney Houston Will Downing Wilton Felder Yolanda Adams