Basic Background Info

Birth: December 19, 1949
Location: New York City, New York
Band: Miles Davis, Azteca, Santana, Return to Forever, Justin Hinds & the Dominoes, Echoes of an Era, Griffith Park
Genres: Jazz, Fusion, Latin, Classic Rock, Progressive Rock
Instruments: Drums
Occupation: Musician, Composer, Arranger, Producer, Writer


Left-handed drummer Lenny White taught himself to play on a right-handed kit. Lenny White is best known for his performance on Miles Davis’s historic Bitches’ Brew and as the driving force behind Chick Corea’s jazz-rock/funk outfit, Return to Forever. Many consider Lenny White one of the founders of jazz fusion drumming.

Throughout high school and college, Lenny White regularly gigged with Jackie McLean before he received a call from Miles Davis. Two years later, in 1969, Lenny White drummed on Bitches’ Brew. Lenny White was only eighteen, and he returned to college following the album's release. In 1970, Lenny White played with Freddie Hubbard on Red Clay. Then, in 1972, Lenny White was invited to join Return to Forever and Azteca with Chick Corea. At the same time, Lenny White auditioned for Journey, but nothing came of it.

Azteca soon dissolved, and Lenny White dedicated himself exclusively to Return to Forever. The group derived influences from many sources, but primarily they incorporated classic rock, progressive rock, and fusion styles in their unique sound. Return to Forever released a variety of albums, including the award-winning Romantic Warrior and No Mystery. The group members parted ways in 1977, and White signed with Nemperor through Atlantic Records. Lenny White recorded two albums as band leader with the label.

In 1978, Lenny moved to Elektra for the album Best of Friends and formed Twennynine the following year. Twennynine was comprised of vocalists Carlo Vaughn and Jocelyn Smith, keyboardist Skip Anderson, bassist Barry Johnson, and guitarist Eddy Martinez. Next, Lenny White joined the Jamaica boys with Marcus Miller and Dinky Bingham. He went on to work with two all-star groups, Echoes of an Era and Griffith Park.

In addition to his own projects, Lenny White has accompanied many other prominent musicians throughout his career including Gato Barbieri, Gil Evans, Woody Shaw, Joe Henderson, Stan Getz, and Jaco Pastorius.

Lenny White, Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, and Al Di Meola reunited to form Return to Forever in 2008. They embarked on a U.S. tour that year.


Album Year Album Name Album Band
1941 Orchestra: 1941 Charlie Barnet
1956 Meilleur de Miles Davis Miles Davis
1956 Miles Davis: The Columbia Years 1955-1985 Miles Davis
1967 Milestone Years Joe Henderson
1969 Bitches Brew Miles Davis
1969 Complete Bitches Brew Sessions (August 1969-February Miles Davis
1969 Complete Bitches Brew Sessions (August 1969-February Miles Davis
1969 Passing Ships Andrew Hill
1970 Best of Freddie Hubbard [Columbia] Freddie Hubbard
1970 Blackstone Legacy Woody Shaw
1970 If You're Not Part of the Problem.... Joe Henderson
1970 In Pursuit of Blackness Joe Henderson
1970 Joe Henderson Quintet at the Lighthouse Joe Henderson
1970 Red Clay [Bonus Track] Freddie Hubbard
1970 Red Clay Freddie Hubbard
1970 Tetragon/In Pursuit of Blackness Joe Henderson
1971 Fenix Gato Barbieri
1972 Azteca Azteca
1972 Caravanserai Santana
1972 Children of Forever Stan Clarke
1972 Compact Jazz: Chick Corea Chick Corea
1972 For Those Who Chant Luis Gasca
1973 Brains on Fire Heiner Stadler
1973 Crankin' Curtis Fuller
1973 Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy Return to Forever
1973 Legend of Gato Barbieri Gato Barbieri
1973 Pyramid of the Moon Azteca
1973 Realization Eddie Henderson
1974 Cosmic Vortex (Justice Divine) Weldon Irvine
1974 Polar AC Freddie Hubbard
1974 Where Have I Known You Before Return to Forever
1975 Journey to Love Stanley Clarke
1975 No Mystery Return to Forever
1975 Venusian Summer Lenny White
1976 Aurora/Total Tom Harrell
1976 Caliente! Gato Barbieri
1976 Hear and Now Don Cherry
1976 Jaco Pastorius Jaco Pastorius
1976 Jezebel Justin Hinds & the Dominoes
1976 Land of the Midnight Sun Al di Meola
1976 Romantic Warrior Return to Forever
1976 School Days Stanley Clarke
1976 Sit on It! Jimmy Smith
1977 Arabesque John Klemmer
1977 Big City Lenny White
1977 Don't Stop the Music The Brecker Bros.
1977 Elegant Gypsy Al di Meola
1977 Love Will Find a Way Pharoah Sanders
1977 Majesty Music Miroslav Vitous
1978 Adventures of Astral Pirates Lenny White
1978 Ruby, Ruby Gato Barbieri
1978 Streamline Lenny White
1978 Tribute to Monk and Bird Heiner Stadler
1979 Adrenalin David Bendeth
1979 Best of Friends Twennynine Featuring Lenny White
1979 Brazilia John Klemmer
1979 Perspective Stefan Grossman/Steve Grossman
1979 Urban Express Michal Urbaniak
1980 Best of John Klemmer, Vol. 1: Mosaic John Klemmer
1980 Twennynine with Lenny White Twennynine with Lenny White
1981 Double Rainbow Terumasa Hino
1981 Fuse One Fuse One
1981 Just Like Dreamin' Twennynine with Lenny White
1981 Magic Sylvia Saint James
1982 Best of Pieces of a Dream Pieces of a Dream
1982 CTI Double Gold Superdisc [2 LPs] Various Artists
1982 Echoes of an Era Echoes of an Era
1982 Griffith Park Collection, Vol. 2: In Concert Stanley Clarke & Chick Corea
1982 Griffith Park Collection, Vol. 2 Griffith Park Collection
1982 Griffith Park Collection Stanley Clarke & Chick Corea
1982 Griffith Park Collection Griffith Park Collection
1982 Touchstone Chick Corea
1983 Attitude Lenny White
1983 Funky Beat Bernard Wright
1985 Best of Return to Forever Return to Forever
1985 Best of the Blue Note Years Michel Petrucciani
1985 I Must Not Be Kinky Tin Harris
1986 Illusions Eliane Elias
1986 Joyride Pieces of a Dream
1987 Denon Jazz Sampler, Vol. 2 Various Artists
1987 Fuse One [Japan] Fuse One
1987 Obsession Bob James
1987 School Daze [EMI] Original Soundtrack
1988 Fire and Passion Gato Barbieri
1988 In Touch Amina Claudine Myers
1989 City of Dreams Gil Goldstein
1989 Complete Recordings Fuse One
1989 First Instrument Rachelle Ferrell
1989 Music Michel Petrucciani
1989 Spendel Spendel
1990 Manhattan Project Various Artists
1990 Party in the Basement Pete Levin
1990 Rejoice Bob Baldwin
1990 Spendel Christoph Spendel
1991 Draped Chris Bender
1991 La La Means I Love You! La La
1991 Look Straight Ahead Straight Ahead
1991 Manhattan Project [Video/DVD] Various Artists
1991 Voyce Boxing Voyce Boxing
1992 Classic Jazz-Funk, Vol. 3 [Mastercuts] Various Artists
1992 Manhattan Man Michal Urbaniak
1992 Meltdown: The Birth of Fusion Various Artists
1992 Milky Way Milky Way
1992 Next Future Eddie Gomez
1992 Trust the Universe Rachel Z
1993 Acoustic Masters II Bobby Hutcherson
1993 Acoustic Masters I Charles Lloyd
1993 Body & Soul Straight Ahead
1993 Compact Jazz: The Seventies Chick Corea
1993 Remembering North Kenneth Sivertsen
1993 Sun Don't Lie Marcus Miller
1994 Essence of Al Di Meola Al di Meola
1994 Friday Night At the Village Vanguard Michael Urbaniak Quartet
1994 Phat Trax: The Best of Old School, Vol. 1 Various Artists
1994 Tales Marcus Miller
1994 Urbanator Urbanator
1994 World Tour Jason Miles
1995 Afro Cubano Chant Various Artists
1995 All Day Thumbsucker Revisited Various Artists
1995 Alone George Garzone
1995 Chartbusters! Various Artists
1995 Da Funk Various Artists
1995 Electric Anthology Al di Meola
1995 Essence of Funk Various Artists
1995 GRP Christmas Collection, Vol. 2 Various Artists
1995 Keeper of the Spirit Charles Fambrough
1995 Move to Groove: The Best of 1970s Jazz-Funk Various Artists
1995 Power Forward Wayman Tisdale
1995 Present Tense Lenny White
1995 Primal Blue Kenny Burrell/Ron Carter/Tim Hagans/Crai
1996 B-III Toshihiko Kankawa
1996 Billboard Hot R&B Hits 1980 Various Artists
1996 Essence All Stars Various Artists
1996 Hub Art: A Celebration of the Music of Freddie Hubbar Freddy Hubbard
1996 Miles 2 Go Mark Ledford
1996 Mosaic: The Best of John Klemmer John Klemmer
1996 Mr. X Jason Miles
1996 Music Forever and Beyond: The Selected Works of Chick Chick Corea
1996 Renderers of Spirit Lenny White
1996 Set 'Em Up Tony Purrone
1996 Some Aspects of Water Geri Allen
1996 Street Jams: Back 2 the Old Skool, Vol. 1 Various Artists
1996 This Is Jazz, Vol. 12 Return to Forever
1997 Blue Patches Michael Stewart
1997 CTI: Acid Jazz Grooves Various Artists
1997 Hot Jazz Biscuits Various Artists
1997 Maximum Club Classics, Vol. 1 Various Artists
1997 Porter for Sale Various Artists
1997 This Is Jazz, Vol. 25 Freddie Hubbard
1997 This Is Jazz, Vol. 31 Al di Meola
1997 Village Wallace Roney
1998 Endless Miles: A Tribute to Miles Davis Various Artists
1998 Gathering Geri Allen
1998 Greatest Years at CTI Freddie Hubbard
1998 Hipbop 'N' Funk Various Artists
1998 Live & More Marcus Miller
1998 Minh Chris Minh Doky
1998 One on One Phyllis Hyman
1998 Return to the Seventh Galaxy: The Anthology Return to Forever
1998 Secrets Tricia Tahara
1998 Somewhere Along the Way Buster Williams
1999 Best of the Early Years Gato Barbieri
1999 Edge Lenny White
1999 Hip Bop'N Smooth Various Artists
1999 In Pursuit of Blackness/Black Is the Color Joe Henderson
1999 Jazz That's Easy Various Artists
1999 Street Jams: Back 2 the Old Skool [Box] Various Artists
1999 Various Fusion 101 Various Artists
1999 Vert˙ Vert˙
1999 Wonderful World of Cease A Leo [Clean] Lil' Cease
2000 Anthology Al di Meola
2000 Best of Freddie Hubbard in the CTI Years Freddie Hubbard
2000 Best of Marcus Miller Marcus Miller
2000 Black Box of Jazz [Millenia] Various Artists
2000 Concerts Inedits Michel Petrucciani
2000 Gato Barbieri's Finest Hour Gato Barbieri
2000 Ken Burns Jazz Miles Davis
2000 No Room for Argument Wallace Roney
2000 On the One Sammy Peralta
2000 One Day in October Kenneth Sivertsen
2000 Smooth and Straight Various Artists
2000 Smooth Jazz for the Open Road Various Artists
2000 Tic Code Original Score
2000 Until We Meet Again: Nap˙a Davoy Sings the Music of A Nap˙a Davoy
2000 World of Drums And Percussion, Vol. 2 Various Artists
2001 Houdini Buster Williams Trio
2001 M≤ [Limited Edition] Marcus Miller
2001 M≤ Marcus Miller
2001 New York City After Hours Various Artists
2001 That's Right Victor Bailey
2001 Unbreakable Heart Sue Maskaleris
2002 Charles Fambrough Live at Zanzibar Blue Charles Fambrough
2002 Classic Blue Note Recordings Wayne Shorter
2002 Flying Dutchman Anthology Various Artists
2002 Freewheelin' Various Artists
2002 Jazz for Singers and Dreamers Various Artists
2002 Ken Burns Jazz, Vol. 2 Various Artists
2002 Lenny White Collection Lenny White
2002 Love Affair in Paris Buddy Montgomery All Star Group
2002 Soul Spectrum: Radio Sessions Greg Edwards
2002 Stardust Ron Carter
2002 Tom Browne Collection [2002] Tom Browne
2002 Tom Joyner Presents: The Old School Mix Returns Various Artists
2003 Complete Jack Johnson Sessions Miles Davis
2003 Easy Does It Javon Jackson
2003 Happiness Heartaches Brian Auger's Oblivion Express
2003 N-Coded Music Presents, Vol. 3: Smooth Urban Keys Various Artists
2003 Punk Jazz: The Jaco Pastorius Anthology Jaco Pastorius
2003 Stone Jazz Stone Jazz
2003 Timeless Eliane Elias Eliane Elias
2003 Tom Browne Collection [2003] Tom Browne
2004 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Gato Barbieri
2004 Contemporary Records Story Various Artists
2004 CTI Master Collection, Vol. 2 Various Artists
2004 Czarno Na Bialym/Spoza Nas Mietek Szczesniak
2004 Dreyfus Night in Paris Marcus Miller/Michel Petrucciani
2004 Essential Jazz Collection [Encoded] Various Artists
2004 Giants of Jazz: Samba Bossa Nova Various Artists
2004 Griot Liberte Buster Williams
2004 Guitar & Bass Jaco Pastorius
2004 Live at the Village Vanguard Freddie Hubbard
2004 Shades Beyond Dave Stryker
2004 Time Works for Dreamers Various Artists
2004 Tribute to Earth, Wind and Fire The Lenny White Project
2004 Trios Freddie Hubbard
2004 Undercover [Hip Bop] Various Artists
2004 Unicorn Teruo Nakamura
2004 Very Best of Chick Corea [Korea] Chick Corea
2005 Anthology - The Soul-Jazz Fusion Years: 66-82 Freddie Hubbard
2005 CTI CD Club: The Best of CTI, 2-CD Set Various Artists
2005 Electric Larry Coryell/Victor Bailey/Lenny White
2005 Larry Coryell, Victor Bailey & Lenny White Larry Coryell
2005 Mosaic Select 16: Andrew Hill Andrew Hill
2005 Progressions: 100 Years of Jazz Guitar Various Artists
2006 Blues for Dad Dmitri Kolesnik
2006 Fusion with Attitude Various Artists
2006 Milestone Profiles Joe Henderson
2006 Sneakin' Up Behind You: The Very Best of the Brecker Brecker Brothers
2006 Traffic Larry Coryell/Victor Bailey/Lenny White
2007 Evolution of the Groove Miles Davis
2007 Five Corners Dmitri Kolesnik
2007 Master of All Trades Marcus Miller
2007 Original Album Classics Stanley Clarke
2007 Very Best of Wayman Tisdale Wayman Tisdale
2008 Anthology Return to Forever
2008 Definitive Collection Chick Corea and Return to Forever
2008 Miles from India Various Artists
2008 Where Have I Known You Before/No Mystery Return to Forever
2008 Nemporer Line Various Artists
2008 The Complete Dreyfus Jazz Recordings Michel Petrucciani
2008 Pray for the Lion Lenny Williams
2008 Miles from India Various Artists
2008 Live from Montreux 2008 Return to Forever
2008 Hancock Island: The Music of Herbie Hancock Steve Wilson
2008 Definitive Collection Return to Forever
2009 The Music of Miles Davis Miles Davis
2009 Returns Return to Forever
2009 Quintessence Meeting Point
2009 Night Dubbin' Idjut Boys
2009 Only the Best of Charles Lloyd Charles Lloyd
2009 La Piedra del Sol Azteca
2009 Jazz in the Garden Stanley Clarke
2009 Creed Taylor + Rudy Van Gelder: CTI/RVG Best Selection Creed Taylor
2010 Jump! Pete Levin
2010 Elegant Gypsy/Casino Al di Meola
2010 Carnival of Soul Mike Clark
2010 Anomaly Lenny White
2011 The Definitive Chick Corea on Stretch and Concord Chick Corea
2011 Jazz Loves Marvin Gaye Various Artists
2011 Forever Chick Corea
2011 Abstract Logix Live: The New Universe Music Festival 2010 Various Artists
2012 The Mothership Returns Return to Forever
2012 The Complete Columbia Albums Collection Return to Forever
2012 The Complete Arista Albums Collection The Brecker Brothers
2012 The Complete 1970s Epic Albums Collection Stanley Clarke
2012 The RCA Years Weldon Irvine
2013 Lenny White Live Lenny White
2013 Iridium Live 008: 4-8-2012 Pete Levin
2013 Explorations of Space and Time Jamey Haddad
2013 #BAM: Live at Bohemian Caverns Nicholas Payton
2014 The Box Set Series Miles Davis
2014 Keep Your Soul Together/Polar AC/Skagly Freddie Hubbard


  • Istanbul Agop issued a Lenny White cymbal—the Lenny White Signature "Epoch" Ride. It was developed by Lenny and master Turkish cymbal crafters in Istanbul. The ride produces a decidedly dry, dark sound, due to its unique hammering, lathing, and B20 bronze consturction.
  • Some sources claim that the cymbal's design was inspired by a ride that the late Tony Williams gave to Lenny.

Instruments of Choice



Drums: Innovation Drums, Gretsch, Tama
Cymbals: Zildjian
Sticks: Vic Firth

Pics & Clips