Lenny White: Heavy Metal Monster
Heavy Metal Monster
Lenny White (drums)
The Adventures of Astral Pirates (Wounded Bird WOU 6121)
Lenny White (drums),
Nick Moroch, Jeff Sigman (guitars), Patrick Gleeson (synth programming, keyboards), Alex Blake (bass).
Composed by Lenny White.
Recorded: San Francisco, CA, August 1977
Rating: 82/100 (learn more)
Drummer Lenny White's fortuitous inclusion in the fusion supergroup Return to Forever will always be his most famous calling card. But like other noted jazz-rock drummers of his day, such as Tony Williams, Billy Cobham and Alphonse Mouzon, White was deemed worthy by record executives to front his own band to try and grab a piece of the fusion commercial pie. White was different from other fusion drummers of the day, who really depended upon the muscularity of their drumming to carry the fusion banner. White had some of that power, though a bit less than the others I mentioned. White showed off the more funky side of rhythm, especially on his own records. This style was an acquired taste, and many rabid fusion fans (including myself) never entirely glommed onto it. But thousands did, and White developed a loyal following.
I am not sure "Heavy Metal Monster" lives up to its title, but it is a fine jazz-rock tune, full of sustained power guitar chords and modern 1977 synth sounds. While its underpinning is jazz-funk, there is enough full-strength fusion seeping out of its pores to claim its rightful place in the genre. Guitarist Moroch and synth player Gleeson carry on an aggressive and impressive call and response as White and bassist Blake funk it up – but not too much.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky