Chip White Beats Vibrant Messages Chip White's father used to tall the story about taking Chip to church when he was just a toddler. "I hadn't been to Mass in so long that I wouldn't have been surprised if the priest hadn't remembered my name. But he couldn't forget us because when Chip saw all those candles burning on the altar, my son started singing. "Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday!" Of course, you never knew whether it was true or not because Al and his father, Charles White, before him, were great storytellers, but one thing he was serious about -- and still is -- that practice makes perfect. On Harrison Avenue in Peekskill, where Chip grew up, when strangers passing through would look anxiously at the sky when they suddenly heard the roll of thunder, or duck, expecting a gangfight when they heard what they thought was the staccato burst of a machine gun, neighbors just shrugged and said, "That's no thunder -- no machine gun either. That's just Algernon White and his son, Chipper, practicing their drum rolls." Every fourth of July, or Decoration Day, or whenever there was a parade in that little Hudson River town heading the parade was a group of drummers -- Algernon White, his brother Gilbert, a cousin Ronnie Peterson, and little Chip -- representing the Spirit of "76, those guys you see in the history books from the American Revolution. In junior high school, Chip and three other youngsters had a jazz quartet that played at parties and local functions. By the time he got to high school and became a member of the Peeksill High School Jazz Big Band, he knew that music was his thing. Travels -- Far Further study at Ithaca College and Boston's Berklee School of Music produced a polished percussionist who has drums and will travel -- far. Not only did Chip serve in Korea as an Army MP in Special Service, but as a civilian he's been sending out messages on his drums in concerts and festivals from coast-to-coast in the States, Canada, Europe and Japan, performing with such stars as Carmen McCrae, Jaki Byard, James Moody, Frank Wess, Hohnny Coles, Dave Liebman, Marion Cowings, Charlie Mariano, and Enrico Rava. Once a member of the rock band "Cynara," he soon formed the Chip White Sextet. Studying orchestration and arranging with Frank Foster, with Donald Byrd at Columbia, as well as with Alan Dawson, Mariano at Berklee and Freddie Buda of the Boston Symphony, when you hear his combo, you hear a lot of original compositions. At the Blue Note and other clubs, the Chip White Sextet has been frequently booked. Even at the International Paper Plaza, where he and his group performed in an outdoor concert the other day, the lunch crowd applauded and a passenger in a stretch limousine in the traffic on 45th Street rolled down the tinted windows to get a better look at this outstanding group of musicians: Mike Cochrane, piano; Todd McKinney, trumpet; Dave Dunaway, bass; Dave Hubbard, tenor and alto sax and flute; and Chip on drums. Caught 'Trane Way back in the Sixties, Chip heard the great John Coltrane play at the legendary Birdland. "He was something bordering on the mystical -- so much knowledge, so spritual -- and changed my whole head. It was like watching somebody walking water. It was a great night -- I saw Jackie Robinson and his wife there. "Trane was making people aware of another energy." Some of that same energy you could hear at that outdoor concert in "19th Street," by Chip -- a kind of international, exotic sound. Then there were those solos by Mike Cochrane, flicking out the melody with a strong right hand as he embroidered harmonies in the lower register on his own "Passing Thought." Dunaway walked with his bass and Chip's drums gave a bouncy support like Converse sneakers. Hubbard, too, played a pretty ballad on his tenor -- in fact each member of the combo contributes their own numbers. Then the lovely icing on the cake is the articulate, attractive Vanessa Davis, who sang a tribute to Johnny Hartman -- "Lush Life," a song he recorded on an album with Coltrane. She also was wonderful on "Sashay Blues," a Chip gem.” - Mel Tapley

— New York Amsterdam News, September 8, 1984