Michael White


For many musicians, there comes a time when being a successful sideman isnít 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.

ìAfter so many years playing on other peopleís projects, Iím looking forward to sharing my own music with the audience, ì says Michael. Itís 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 isnít grooving, then it is hard to focus on the strength of the lead instrument. But if youíve got the flow happening, it sets up an even pace for everything.î

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 cityís 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 ìTo be a working musician you canít be one-dimensional.î 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 ñ alternating studio, movie scores and jingle dates with extensive touring with the whoís who of modern music.

The litany of Michael Whiteís 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, ìItís all music to me. As a drummer the main thing I think about is the groove! Everything else is just icing on the cake. ì

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:

Maze featuring Frankie Beverly
Earth Wind & Fire
The Commodores
The Dells
Ramsey Lewis
Jerry Butler
Phil Upchurch
Michael Brecker
Horace Silver
Patrice Rushen
Norman Brown
Euge Groove
Richard Elliott
Kirk Whalum
Gerald Albright
George Duke
Rachelle Ferelle
Johnathan Butler
Will Downing
Phil Perry
Ronnie Laws
Teena Marie
Stanley Turrentine
Al Jarraeu
Joe Sample
Wilton Felder
Rickey Minor
Wayman Tisdale
Norman Connors
Ray Parker Jr.
Paul Jackson Jr.
Club 1600/Rex Rideout
James Ingram
Cheryl Lynn
Junko Yagami
Sing Like Talking
Whitney Houston
Steely Dan
Rickee Lee Jones
Lou Rawls
Pointer Sisters
Patti LaBelle
Patti Austin
Deniece Williams
The Four Tops
Mary J. Blige
Dru Hill
Rick Braun
Curtis Mayfield
The Impressions
Mavis Staples
Lindsay Buckingham
Bobby Nunn
Luther Vandross
Marilyn Scott
Lalah Hathaway
Dave Koz
Brian Culbertson
Stanley Clarke
Everette Harp
Brian Simpson
Ray Fuller
Freddie Fox
ATF/Wah Wah Watson
Pat Kelley
Kenny Lattimore
Toko Furuuchi
Soul Bossa Trio
Dan Siegal
Boney James
Birds of a Feather
Juanita Dailey
Super Funky Sax
Mike Phillips
Bobby Lyle
Michael Paulo
Paul Taylor
Diana Ross
Rhythm Logic
Jeff Lorber
Jeff Golub
Gary Taylor
Howard Hewett
Kenny Burke
Eric Gale
The Gap Band
El DeBarge
Steve Cole
LA. Jazz Syndicate
Freddie Jackson
Mindi Abair
George Howard
Keith Washington
Gerald Levert
The Ojays
Chante Moore
Al Green
Yolanda Adams