Legendary Jazz Violinist Michael White with masterful band members, bring truly innovative music to the world of Jazz. Michael White Quintet transports " Timeless, Ageless, Borderless Sound with Kozmic Groove, takes audience into Another Dimension"
Michael White united with a multi-cultured Jazz vocalist Leisei Chen with their distinct unique sounds and grooves, sharing their mutual vision. The group consists of strings, voice and percussion. Pursuing their life work of artistic endeavors brought them together as music and life partners. In 2003, the Michael White Quintet was born. Reunited with uncanny masterful award winning musicians, Michael Howell guitar, Cecil Mcbee bass and Kenneth Nash percussion. The group's recent release "Voices", received praise from jazz critics as well as White's compositions were awarded from the International Songwriting Competition and Independent Music Awards. Songs from the album were also featured on the PBS documentary Roadtrip Nation and air-played around the world. Released at the same time as Impulse! re-issue of his album The Land of Spirit and Light, the album Voices connects White’s past body of work to his current creative endeavors. Says White of the group's spiritual tide, “The cornerstones of our music are 'Love, Healing, Inspiration and Hope.' Our sound is intended to touch one's heart and fill one's body with a cosmic groove!"
“White’s artistic mastery radiates in multifarious colors!”
Glenn Astarita, ejazznews.com
In recent years, Michael White Quintet performed at J'z Brat in Tokyo, Royce Hall UCLA shared stages with McCoy Tyner, Eagle Rock Music Festival, Blue Whale Jazz Club, The Center Of Arts Eagle Rock, Grand Performances, Croatian Cultural Center Of Greater Los Angeles.
Michael & Leisei made special guests appearances and recordings with many other groups. Their creativity extended to produce and perform at the multi-cultural arts project "tour the ARTS.MWQ" in beautiful artistic collaborations.
BOOKING: The Michael White Quintet is available for international engagements/tours, festivals, concerts, master classes, workshops, and multimedia projects.
MICHAEL WHITE - Violinist / Composer
Michael White is a truly original and groundbreaking violinist in the realm of jazz. He is also a composer, educator, innovator, and major recording artist formerly on Capitol, Columbia, Impulse and Elektra/Asylum records. In the 1960s, he introduced his unique violin style into the jazz scenes of the Bay Area and New York, playing with luminaries such as John Coltrane, Sun Ra and Pharoah Sanders among many others. In the early 1970s, he was a founding member of the first fusion group, the "Fourth Way". He released five albums with the Michael White Quartet on Impulse records, and toured throughout the United States and Europe. He has performed in Lagos, Nigeria with Stevie Wonder and Sun Ra. He continues to play with Pharoah Sanders, appearing on Sanders' 1996 album Message From Home. In 1998 he released an album of duets with Bill Frisell entitled Motion Pictures.
The Michael White Quintet (MWQ) was born in 2003, When Michael reunited with Leisei Chen, his soul mate, life and music partner. His latest recording "Voices", features a reunion with his original Impulse! Records rhythm section of Cecil McBee, bass; Kenneth Nash, percussion; along with guitarist Timothy Young and vocalist Leisei Chen. White's recent release, “Voices”, has received praise from jazz critics as well as awards from the International Songwriting Competition and Independent Music Awards. Songs from the album were featured on the PBS documentary “Road Trip Nation”. Released at the same time as Verve's re-issue of his album "The Land of Spirit and Light," the album "Voices" connects White's past body of work to his current creative endeavors, and prompted the formation of the Michael White Quintet. Says White of the group's philosophy, "The cornerstones of our music are 'LOVE. HEALING. INSPIRATION. HOPE.' Our sound is intended to touch one's heart and fill one's body with a 'kozmic groove'!"
Highly requested worldwide for reissue, his impulse albums “Spirit Dance” “Pneuma” and "The Land of Spirit and Light" have recently been re-released as well as “X-Factor” and “White Night” from Elektra after 40 years from the original releases. "The Blessing Song" from Pneuma has been compiled among many the world's renowned DJs such as BBC1 top DJ Gilles Peterson on "Pure Fire! A Gilles Peterson Impulse! Collection"(UK). Highly acclaimed as a Spiritual Jazz Master, his music is resonating through generations globally.
Currently Michael White is home-based in Los Angeles with his wife and musical partner multi cultural Jazz vocalist Leisei Chen, actively performing with the Michael White Quintet UNIT1 & UNIT2. MWQ UNIT1 consists of world-class JAZZ MASTER musicians, MWQ UNIT2 consists of L.A. based international musicians. Recently through serendipitous occurrences & encounters with artists, musicians and arts supporters, Michael & Leisei were led to create their band's NEW project "tour the ARTS.MWQ", producing & performing multi-cultural ARTS events for people of all colors and arts coming together for HUMANITY in beautiful artistic collaborations. The Michael White Quintet, music, arts & project will travel the WORLD.
SELECTED PERFORMANCES WITH OTHER ARTISTS/BANDS:
"Michael White has appeared in San Francisco, as a special guest with The John Coltrane Quartet, McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Gallison, Elvin Jones, along with Wes Mongomery and Eric Dolphy" Joe Bonner, Richard Davis,Henry Grimes, Tootie Heath, Philly Joe Jones (band), Rasaan Roland Kirk (band), Herbie Lewis, Buddy Montgomery, Eddie Moore, Phineas Newborn Jr., Odean Pope, George Szabo, Lonnie Liston Smith, McCoy Tyner, Alice Coltrane, Joe Henderson, John Handy, Sonny Simmons and others.
SELECTED FESTIVAL APPEARANCES:
Montreux Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Berkeley Jazz Festival, Pacific Coast Jazz Festival, FESTAC Multi-Arts Festival (Lagos, Nigeria), Newport Jazz Festival Violin Summit (with Ray Nance and Jean Luc-Ponty), Eddie Moore Jazz Festival (San Francisco, California), San Francisco Jazz Festival (Fourthway Reunion), Eagle Rock Music Festival (Los Angeles)
AWARDS AND HONORS:
* 2011 Michael White Quintet: Unit 2 addition to Los Angeles County Arts Commission's Musician Roster
* 2010 "Living Legend" Certificate of Recognition from US Congress, CA Legislature Assembly California State and the city of Los Angeles
* 2007 Winner in The 6th Annual Independent Music Awards (IMAs)
* 2006 Second Place Winner in The International Songwriting Competition (ISC)
* 2006 Honorable Mentions-Session 1 in The John Lennon Songwriting Contest
* Voice of America Radio New Star Awards
* Down Beat Magazine Award for Talent Deserving Wider Recognition
* Faculty member of the Cornish College of The Arts
LEISEI CHEN - Vocals / Voice / Composer
Leisei Chen is one of those rare vocalists that comes alone once in a blue moon. "Being blessed with an original sound, the listener is immediately transported into a world of compelling intimacy, a feeling of grace, love, healing, and a straight from the heart soulful warmth reminiscence of Billy Holiday"
She was born and raised in Kobe, Japan of Chinese heritage surrounded by a multi cultural international environment, who speaks and writes fluently in Japanese, English, and Mandarin Chinese. Leisei is very eclectic in her musical tastes. A child prodigy at age 4 of the electric organ and piano, her vast musical knowledge includes classical western and Chinese music as well as all types of modern music. Leisei’s professional career begun at age 10, as an organist/pianist for weddings and events. She studied percussion at age 19 at which time she became deeply involved in Jazz, Latin and Brazilian Music. After her graduation majoring in Jazz piano & vocal from the Koyo Conservatory in Kobe Japan, she attended the world renowned Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. She was also an original member as a vocalist of the Living Spirit Jazz Band, led by Larry Jones, with Hadley Calliman, Ricky Kelly, and Phil Sparks who performed weekly at Jazz Alley, the famous top Jazz club in the Northwest. Luminaries such as Evelyn Blakey (Art Blakey’s Daughter), Philly Joe Jones, Billy Wallace (Max Roach), Buddy Catlett (Louis Armstrong), Dick Berk (Billie Holiday) among others paved her path in Jazz. Also she had in depth mentorships with vocal coach Thomasa Eckert, Jazz pianist Jerome Gray, drummer and percussionist Toshio Kaneko.
Leisei is also an Qigong/Taiji artist and founder of “Qi Arts”, trained by renowned Qigong Taiji master artists. Combining sounds, music and her healing arts practices of Qigong, Taiji, and versed in Tibetan spiritual healing sounds. She demonstrates "Sounds/Music As A Healing & Unifying Force”. She appeared as a Qigong & Taiji performer & lecturer for the Evergreen Hospital & it’s TV commercials. She choreographed and performed for the Pat Graney Dance Company "The Movement Meditation Project" with 150 women martial artists in 1996.
Leisei has released a very beautiful album “Voice of Brazil” in 2000, accompanied by a Brazilian guitarist Marco de Carvlho, and drummer Ted Britton, sung in Portuguese & English, tribute to Antonio Carlos Jobim. She produced “Brazilian Jazz Night” at the Seattle Aquarium with JungleCity.com and performed her quartet with Eduardo Mendoca (OLODUM). In 2003, she produced and performed with her quartet “One Love Valentine” at the James Blues Land in Kobe, Japan, featuring 12 different international dishes, art exhibition and her Jazz Quartet.
Also In 2003, serendipitously Leisei reunited with legendary Jazz violinist Michael White, soon they became life and music partners. Her idea & essence of a band exactly matched his, together they formed “Michael White Quintet”. She recorded & designed an award winning album “Voices” with Michael White, Timothy Young, Cecil McBee and Kenneth Nash. Leisei & Michael produced and performed workshop “Spontaneous Inspiration For Jazz Improvision” in Reggio Emilia, Italy and USA. In 2004 they recorded a compilation album ‘Wedding Project' for american rag cie records. With her band 'Serenade' with Michael White and Japanese musicians, performed at "Jazz Cats" presented by the Jazz Sports in Tokyo, and many venues in Kobe, Osaka and Kyoto.
In 2009, Leisei & Michael relocated to Los Angeles. Together they were featured on free improvisational recordings “Love pt.1 & pt.2” with Build An Ark (LA based Jazz Collective). Michael & Leisei made special guests appearances with Build An Ark at Royce Hall UCLA, opening for McCoy Tyner and Grand Performances. Michael & Leisei Duo performed for the Alice Coltrane Tribute at Royce Hall UCLA, sharing the stage with Kyp Malone, McCoy Tyner, Han Bennink among others. With Michael White Quintet UNIT2 performed at KPFK, Eagle Rock Music Festival, Blue Whale Jazz Club and The Center Of Arts, Eagle Rock. Leisei & Michael produced, hosted and performed at the Croatian Cultural Center Of Greater Los Angeles, the multi-cultural arts project “tour the ARTS.MWQ” - the Michael White Quintet collaborates and shares stage/space with artists & bands from multi cultural backgrounds. It’s theme "People Of All Colors And Arts Coming Together For Humanity" was deeply felt by all who participated in the event. Currently Leisei is working on an new album and performing with Michael & the Michael White Quintet.
MICHAEL HOWELL - Guitar / Composer
Born in Kansas City Mo., innovative and skillful guitarist, Michael Howell was inspired and taught by his father and noted K.C. guitarist Herley Dennis in his youth. He later studied classical guitar at the Music and Arts Institute of San Francisco, and received a degree in Music from Lehman College in New York. Michael has performed and recorded with his own group as well as other musicians such as Bobby Hutchenson, Hampton Hawes, Art Blakey, George Duke, Gene Ammons, and Woody Shaw. He performed as a special guest at the Monterey Jazz Festival Guitar Summit which also included guitarist Joe Pass, Mondell Lowe, Jim Hall, and Lee Riteniur. Michael also worked five years internationally one of the great bebop inventors - the music genius and master entertainer - Dizzy Gillespie. Michael also performed on a number of televisions shows such as Oscar Brown Jr's "Jump Street", 60 Minutes, and The Today Show. He has recorded three solo albums: "Alone" on Catalyst Records, and "Looking Glass" & "In The Silence" on Mile Stone Records. The Michael Howell Trio has toured Italy doing concerts and master classes. He has toured with the Boys Choir of Harlem, and did an Ambassador tour with the Jimmy Owens Plus Group. Michael is in demand as an accompanist. He most recently performed with the wonderful singer Diane Reeves. Michael has taught both guitar and bass at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, the Harlem School of the Arts, and the Lucy Moses for Music and Dance. Presently, he teaches guitar at the JazzMobile Workshop where he was worked since 1990
KENNETH NASH - Percussion / Composer
Kenneth Nash is a pioneer musical voice in world and Jazz music. He was instrumental, along with a few others in the 70’s, in beginning to incorporate the use of percussion instruments from around the world in concert performances and recordings. His creative use of voice and percussion instruments from around the world has a made him a much sought-after performer, teacher and record producer. His talent and unique musical gift has taken him around the globe, performing with the likes of legendary musicians such as - Herbie Hancock, Weather Report, Pharoah Sanders, Dizzy Gilespie, Alice Coltrane, BB King, Bobby McFerrin, Sergio Mendez, Joe Henderson, Cannonball Adderly, Ahmad Jamal, Dexter Gordon, Freddy Hubbard, John Handy, Michael White, John Lee Hocker, and countless others. Nash has written, arranged and performed compositions for the Joffrey Ballet, filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola and many TV and documentary film projects. Kenneth has taught private musical workshops and at colleges and universities in the USA, Europe, Australia and the South Pacific. Author of the book “Rhythms Talk,” he created a one-of-a-kind teaching concept that helps percussionists and musicians in general experience the art of “Speaking Thru Their Instrument,” in other words, using music as language. As a founder of Nash Recording And Production Company and KENADE Music B.M.I - Kenneth Nash has produced, written, arranged, and engineered musical projects for a multitude of artists and groups. His latest personal projects are “Mama Blue Shoes” and “Heartcore Praise.”
Kenneth Nash performs with Billy Blast Drums, Remo World Percussion, Paiste Cymbals Gongs, Engelhart Mental Percussion, Nady Wirless Systems, Udu’s by Joe Agu
CECIL MCBEE - Bass / Composer
Cecil McBee was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a community of rich and varied roots, including country western, rhythm and blues, classical and jazz. Mr. McBee's musical career began in high school, where he played the clarinet. He and his sister, Shirley, gained statewide fame performing clarinet duets at concerts and in marching bands. By the age of 17, Cecil had begun to experiment with the string bass and played steadily at local night clubs with top groups. He attended Central State University at Wilber force, Ohio as a clarinet major and received a Bachelor of Science degree in music education. There the deep Jazz tradition inspired him to focus his attention on the bass, the classics, and jazz composition into the U.S. Army. He spent two years as the conductor of the 158th band at Fort Knox, Kentucky. There he developed a personal study of the possibilities of bass composition and improvisation. By the time he graduated from college, Cecil realized that although he had prepared for a career in education, he more inspired by Jazz Improvisation. Because of this, Cecil decided to live in Detroit, then one of the most powerful jazz communities in the world. Within a year, he joined the Paul Winter Sextet and moved to New York with them. Since his arrival in New York, Mr. McBee has traveled worldwide with groups as: Elvin Jones, Alice Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Miles Davis, Jack DeJohnette, Bobby Hutcherson, Keith Jarret, Wayne Shorter, Yusef Lateef, Jackie McLean, Pharoah Sanders, Freddie Hubbard, Charles Lloyd, Art Pepper, Chet Baker, Sam Rivers, Sonny Rollins, James Newton, Joanne Brackeen, Joe Henderson, Betty Carter and other s. Cecil's compositions are being played worldwide by various groups and have been recorded by: McCoy Tyner "Paradox" appears on "Four Quartets", Charles Tolliver "Felicite" appears on "Live at Slug's" Vol.2;"Wilpan's" appears on "Live at Slug's" Vol.1. Pharoah Sanders "Love" appears on "Thembi". Charles Lloyd "Song of Her" appears on "Forest Flower". The Leaders "Portrait" and "Blues on the bottom" are featured. Elvin Jones "D bass-ic Blues" appears on "Power Trio" etc. His first released, "Mutima" is on the Strata East Label SES 7417. Mutima contains six of Mr. McBee's original compositions: "From Within", "Voice of The Seventh Angel", "Life Waves", "Mutima", "A Feeling", "Tulsa Black". "Music from The Source", "Compassion", "Alternate Spaces" and "Flying Out" are other albums featuring his original compositions. In 1975 and 1980, Cecil McBee was awarded a National Endowment for The Arts grant for musiccomposition. In 1989, he was given the "Grammy Award" for his performance on "Blues for John Coltrane" (RCA) - featuring Roy Haynes, Pharoah Sanders, David Murry, McCoy Tyner, and Mr. McBee on string bass. In 1991, he was inducted into the "Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame". In addition to his various performances around the globe Cecil teaches improvisation at "The New School" in New York City and also has private students.
by Andrew Forbes : CKCU FM "Now's The Time"
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