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Dr. Michael White - Dancing in the Sky PDF Print E-mail
Written by Edward F. Nesta   

Dr. Michael White - Dancing in the SkyThe life and times of Dr. Michael White wrapped up and presented with the New Orleans Jazz sound in Dancing in the Sky.   



Dr. Michael White - Dancing in the Sky

Dr. Michael White - Dancing in the Sky     

Dr. Michael White - Dancing in the Sky: Algiers Hoodoo Woman; Dancing In The Sky (Reflection) ); The Truth of the Blues; Give It Up (Gypsy Second Line); The Hag's Rag; Angel In The Day (Devil At Night); Jambalaya Strut; When The Mighty Mississippi Sleeps; New Orleans Bounce (Out Of The Woods); Creole Nights; Down By The Riverside; Amazing Grace; Dancing In The Sky (Transition)

Personnel: Dr. Michael White: clarinet; Nicholas Payton: trumpet; Thais Clark: vocal; Gregory Stafford: trumpet, vocals; Mark Braud: trumpet; Lucien Barbarin: trombone; Detroit Brooks: banjo and guitar; Herman Lebeaux: drums; Kerry Lewis: bass, tuba; Mark Brooks: bass   

Dancing in the Sky is a Basin Street Records release. Dr. Michael White is a New Orleans native and is a professor of African-American music at Xavier University. Though he was classically trained, he was influenced as a teenager by the traditional jazz bands that he heard at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival; after playing in a few brass bands, he landed his first big break as a teenager when he played with trumpeter Doc Paulin's Brass Band. Dr. Michael White has played with some of the all time legends from the New Orleans Jazz beat, and though many of the greats have passed on he continues to hold-on to the tradition and the sound of New Orleans Jazz while creating and adding a new flare; in addition, he works closely with up-and-coming musicians to pass on the history of the music to ensure that it will live on.

With a keen ear for music, Dr. Michael White wrote many of the songs with a specific musician in mind, thus Dancing in the Sky is not only a collection of music, but also is collaboration with musicians. Developing the foundation of what became Dancing in the Sky came from a period of inner thought and retrospective that Dr. Michael White achieved during a two-month residency at an artists' retreat in the deep south of the New Orleans area called "A Studio in the Woods." With time to think, time take to question everything and anything, and time to create, the outcome was 10 original tracks of the 13 tracks on the release, the most original material on any release by Dr. Michael White. Each of the songs has a meaning and is drawn from experiences he has encountered in his life.

The lead track Algiers Hoodoo Woman was inspired from the vast folklore related to voodoo, which has become identified with New Orleans. The track opens with the sauntering beat of the drums, the mystical sound of the clarinet, and the muffled sounds of the trumpet to create an eerie tone that conjures up the feeling of an Algiers Hoodoo Woman. The title song Dancing in the Sky was written in honor of a longtime friend and musician Anthony "Tuba Fats" Lacen who Dr. Michael White had the honor and distinction to play with in the early pick-up brass band era. The track runs deep with the brass band sound that has become synonymous with the ‘jazz funeral' that celebrates the joy we should feel when someone passes on to the eternal life; this is a perfect song for the remembrance of the life of Anthony "Tuba Fats" Lacen who must be having a great time playing his music in the external life.  Dancing in the Sky is full of feeling, it is a compilation of varied but tight music, it showcases great musicians, and is a thank you to the sound that is New Orleans. The track Jambalaya Strut was born out of the influence of Louis Armstrong; the track Angel in the Day (Devil in the Night) was a look at the ‘classic blues' style of the 1920s; and the track New Orleans Bounce (Out of the Woods) is part of the ‘jump blues' genre made famous in the 1940s and 1950s.

In the hands of Dr. Michael White, you know that the New Orleans tradition will continue and grow as he creates a new foundation for musicians who hopefully will embrace and carry it forward.       

A few websites where you can procure Dancing in the Sky are Basin Street Records, Artists Direct, CD Universe, Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, and MSN Music.  

Note - Music Scene is not sponsored by any third party. All music that is written about in Music Scene are the views and experiences of the writer, and reflects a compilation of music, sent to us by musicians, producers, acquired during travel to unique destinations, recommended by our country host or a local resident, just happening upon a music event, searching out a Jazz club, or other live music venue.

© November 2006. Luxury Experience. All rights reserved.

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