A versatile drummer, Lenny White is still best-known for being part of Chick Corea's Return To Forever in the 1970's. White was self-taught on drums and he largely started his career on top, playing regularly with Jackie McLean (1968) and recording "Bitches Brew" with Miles Davis in 1969.
White was soon working with some of the who's who of jazz including Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Woody Shaw, Gato Barbieri, Gil Evans, Stanley Clarke and Stan Getz among others. As a member of Return To Forever during 1973-76, White gained a strong reputation as one of the top fusion drummers, but he was always versatile enough to play in many settings.
After the breakup of RTF, Lenny White headed several fusion projects but none of the recordings (for Nemperor and Elektra) have dated well at all, emphasizing commercial funk. However his work with the Echoes Of An Era and Griffith Park all-star groups were been more successful and he has been a valuable sideman for a wide variety of projects.
Lenny White was born in New York City.
A self-taught, left-handed drummer on a right-handed kit, he began his career in local groups, and playing regularly with Jackie McLean in the late 1960s.
In 1969, he first appeared on Miles Davis' historic recording on Bitches' Brew and later in 1970 he played with Freddie Hubbard on Red Clay before joining Corea's Return to Forever and Azteca in 1972.
A year later, Azteca dissolved and he became dedicated to RTF. For five years, he recorded a number of albums with Return to Forever including the award winning No Mystery and Romantic Warrior.
When the group split up in 1977 White signed with the Nemperor label (via Atlantic) and recorded two albums as leader.
In 1978, he switched to Elektra for his album Best of Friends, before forming the group Twennynine in 1979, with Carlo Vaughn (vocals), Jocelyn Smith (vocals), Skip Anderson (keyboards), Barry Johnson (bass), and Eddy Martinez (guitar).
He later became one of the Jamaica Boys, a group also including Marcus Miller (bass) and Dinky Bingham (vocals), and worked with all-star groups Echoes of an Era and Griffith Park.
White has played with Joe Henderson, Woody Shaw, Geri Allen, Gato Barbieri, Gil Evans, Jaco Pastorius, Miles Davis, and Stan Getz.