Jazz and Poetry. Now here are two terms that are innocent enough when taken separately but, when combined, stir a myriad of emotions in arts enthusiasts. In many cases it becomes an unhealthy blend concocted by a poet and a musician that refuses to jell because of individual personality differences. Drummer Chip White has solved that split on ["Double Dedication"] since he is both a poet and a practicing player. This two-disc presentation gives us a chance to listen to both sides of his creative persona. When he decided to call his accompanying unit the All-Star Ensemble, White was not exaggerating in the least—as one glance at the personnel listings will show. Of course singer Gail Allen will be a newcomer to most but she only appears on four tracks: the finger popper “Lester’s Blues,” the aptly-titled “Bossa For Lee,” the bopping “Mr. P. C. Blues,” and azure walker “Etta Jones” and shows no fear among the heavy traffic. The front line of trumpet, alto, and trombone is voiced nicely and although it is evident they are reading relatively new charts (the session is listed as only taking up one day) these guys have everything thoroughly covered. And what more can one say of the veteran team of Kenny Barron and Ray Drummond? They have fit together as snugly as right and left hand gloves as long as this writer can remember. As for the second disc, the leader reads his poems in a rather flat, unemotional voice but it is clear that White definitely has some talent as a wordsmith and taken in measured doses rather than trying to listen to all thirteen poems in a single setting, it is all rather painless and, at times, even inspiring if one loves the subject matter as deeply as Mr. White. All told, a successful pairing of two idioms that, while sometimes don’t quite go together, here fit like red beans and rice.” - Larry Hollis

— Cadence, Jan-Feb-Mar 2009

Veteran drummer-composer Chip White leads an all-star band (pianist Kenny Barron, trumpeter Randy Brecker, saxophonist Steve Wilson, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, bassist Ray Drummond) on a collection of swinging dedications to jazz royalty, including "Lester's Blue," "Three for Mr. Ellington," "Bird in the Yard," "Ode to Max," "Mellow Works for John Birks," and "Something About Mingus." A bonus CD features White reading brief, hip poems about each jazz icon from his book, I'm Just the Drummer in the Band.” - Bill Milkowski

— JazzTimes

With "Double Dedication," Chip White presents a program of entirely original music, performed by a truly all-star band. The music swings hard from the first note and keeps on swingin’ throughout the disc. This would surely be reason enough to praise the CD. There’s more to "Double Dedication," however. Each tune pays tribute to a jazz master. The titles (as well as the lyrics of vocal tracks) let you know who each tune is dedicated to. What’s even more fascinating about this concept is the way in which White and the band conjure up the images of the masters to which they pay tribute. White displays outstanding compositional skills in writing and arranging each tune “in the style of…” yet keeping an individual compositional voice. With the help of such talented musicians as those on "Double Dedication" the tributes come to life through stylistic nuance. The program begins with a tribute to Lester Young, entitled “Lester’s Blue.” This medium swinger features vocalist Gail Allen and Steve Wilson on alto saxophone. The next tune honors Duke Ellington and is entitled “Three for Mr. Ellington.” The piano (as played by Kenny Barron) is of course featured on this number which alternates Latin and jazz feels. “Bird in the Yard,” Charlie Parker’s number, is an appropriately fast and bop-flavored tune. Solos follow from the front line of Wilson, Randy Brecker and Wycliffe Gordon as well as from Barron. White himself is also featured in a round of furiously traded eights. Dizzy Gillespie’s track, “Mellow Works for John Birks” is set in a Latin style and features Randy Brecker on flugelhorn. White plays much of this tune with mallets—a nice touch. “Strays” pays tribute to Billy Strayhorn. It is a gentle ballad which features Wilson on flute and Brecker on muted trumpet. White honors trumpet master, Lee Morgan, whose life was tragically cut short in 1972 at the New York jazz club Slugs [what an irony], with “Bossa for Lee.” This tune is set in one of those quasi-bossa feels which Morgan was so fond of. Randy Brecker does a wonderful job on trumpet, as does Gail Allen with the vocal. “Etta Jones” is an oozingly slow swing number which again features Allen as well as a sultry trombone solo from Wycliffe Gordon. Another vocal tune continues the program. This one, entitled “Mr. P.C.’s Blues,” is an up-tempo swinger which honors bass legend Paul Chambers. Allen’s scatting is worth noting, as is bassist Ray Drummond’s extended solo. “One For Monk” is set in a relaxed medium tempo and has a decidedly “Monkish” feel. “Ballad for Bu” is a feature for saxophone, with horn backgrounds. “Bu” is short for Buhania, also known as Art Blakey. “Minor Blues for Coltrane” has the feel of Coltrane’s classic quartet, complete with a section featuring sax and drums only. “Ode to Max,” is a gentle ballad dedicated to drummer Max Roach, which again features Brecker on flugelhorn. It is a tribute to Max Roach’s musicality and total musicianship that White chose this type of tune to represent the drumming legend. The disc closes with an eclectic and eccentric tune entitled “Something About Mingus.” The tune is full of stops and starts and a free avant-garde feel pervades. There is a second disc included with "Double Dedication." This one features poetry, also written by White. Each poem tributes the jazz masters from the songs. White reads each poem over a backdrop of the music from the first CD. This is an ambitious idea, as is the entire CD. Chip White honors his heroes while at the same time struts his stuff as composer, bandleader and poet. The material is fresh, while always bringing to mind the musician for which it was written. The players are all first rate and do a magnificent job. In the liner notes, White dedicates the album to Max Roach, Etta Jones and John Coltrane.” - David Miele

JazzImprov NY

Since 1970, Chip White has played drums with a long list of jazz greats, including Carmen McRae, Jaki Byard, John Faddis, Chet Baker, Junior Cook, Dave Liebman, James Moody, Jimmy McGriff, Gary Bartz, Al Grey and Teddy Edwards. he was also a member of the Houston Person-Etta Jones [band] for nine years. A solid and swinging drummer, White always gives the soloists stimulating support. On the two-CD "Double Dedication," White leads a superior all-star group consisting of trumpeter Randy Brecker, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, altoist Steve Wilson, pianist Kenny Barron, and bassist Ray Drummond. On the first CD, they perform White's tributes to 13 major and inspiring musicians: Lester Young, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Billy Strayhorn, Lee Morgan, Etta Jones, Paul Chambers, Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey, John Coltrane, Max Roach and Charles Mingus. The drummer proves to be a skilled composer, for each of these numbers brings back the spirit and style of one of the musicians. While a few (such as "Bird in the Yard") are based closely on an earlier tune ("Confirmation"), most are more original, and also convey the personality of the subject. Gail Allen sings White's lyrics to four of the pieces, and each of the musicians has their solo spots, with Wycliffe Gordon's exuberant outbursts stealing the show. The second disc, which totals just under 14 minutes, has White reciting a short poem for each of the 13 musicians over an excerpt of the music. Chip White manages to sum up each musician's life in just a few words, showing that he is as skilled at words as he is at music. This very good set is available from www.chipwhitejazz.com.” - Scott Yanow

— LA Jazz Scene

Dedicated to the Ones He Loves Drummer Chip White writes and performs songs paying tribute to other musicians Earlier this month, drummer Chip White's animated percussion lent a vital spark to tenor saxophonist Houston Person's afternoon performance at the Newark Museum. White, a New York native and resident, has added similar rhythmic juice in outings with many noted jazz artists, among them singer Etta Jones, pianist Jaki Byard, and saxophonists Person and James Moody. He has also toured with singer and songwriter Tom Waits. A leader when he has the opportunity, White, 61, appears with a quintet Friday and Saturday at Cecil's in West Orange. The performance will spotlight other aspects of this multitalented artist: his compositions, and maybe his poems. With writing, you have your own voice, you're making your own contribution," says White, whose website is www.chipwhitejazz.com. White's new 2-CD package, "Double Dedication" (Dark Colors), contains 13 of his compositions, most about musicians he has heard -- often in person -- and one about Jones, simply called "Etta Jones." The tunes reflect their honorees. "Bird in the Yard" is White's own melody on top of the chord changes Charlie Parker wrote for his "Confirmation." "Lester's Blue" has a relaxed swing feel, Ã la Lester Young." "Etta Jones" is slow, with blues feeling, the kind of song Jones could nail. "Bossa for Lee" percolates over the bossa nova beat trumpeter Lee Morgan loved to play. I've been around, have heard these people, hope to do justice to their memory," says White, who has been writing seriously for 30 years. "I'm starting to get recognition as a composer. These are not just tunes with drum solos. I write and I play drums. I've written about 60 tunes, enough for a bunch of CDs." Some of the selections, like "Lester's Blue" and "Bossa for Lee," feature White as lyricist as well, a role he fell into by accident. One night I was listening to one of my tunes, and I started singing words," he recalls. "I'd never thought of doing that, though later I wondered if the time I spent with Tom Waits, from 1976 to 1979, subliminally had an effect, hearing songs he wrote." So I wrote some words down, finished a song, then wrote more," he says. "Then I got together with a couple of singers, and they liked what I'd done." On his CD, White employs an all-star cast that includes pianist Kenny Barron, trumpeter Randy Brecker and others, plus singer Gail Allen. The rich-voiced Allen will be at Cecil's, along with another top-drawer crew: saxophonist and flutist Patience Higgins, pianist Cecilia Coleman and bassist Don Moore. On tap will be mostly White's originals, plus maybe a standard to two. And if he feels the audience is in the mood, he may read some of his poems, as he does on disc two of his release. I've been writing poetry since the early 1990s," White says of his straight-forward prose poems, many of which he has self-published in "I'm Just the Drummer in the Band" (Bright Colors Music). "I wrote a few, and just felt like keeping on doing it." White knows he's fortunate making his living playing music. "It's something I love to do, and when people come to gigs, they leave feeling a lot better," he says.” - Zan Stewart

Newark Star Ledger