Dr. Michael White is one of todays primary exponents of classic New Orleans jazz. The unique experiences that the clarinetist has had throughout his career and his ability to articulate the significance and timelessness of the music has made him a highly influential force and performer. Having suffered tremendous losses due to Hurricane Katrina, White has emerged with what promises to be his finest CD, Blue Crescent. This set of new New Orleans music features him, like the Crescent City, determined to rebuild, keeping the classic style not only alive but continually creative, and looking towards both the past with loving memory and the future.
Dr. Michael White, who was born and raised in New Orleans, is related to such pioneering jazz musicians as bassist Papa John Joseph (who was an associate of Buddy Bolden), and clarinetists Willie Joseph and Earl Fouche (who recorded with Sam Morgan in 1927). In addition to being a major performer whose clarinet style is inspired by the Creole and blues playing of Johnny Dodds, Jimmie Noone, Edmond Hall, George Lewis, Barney Bigard and Omer Simeon, Dr. Michael White has many other accomplishments. He has appeared on more than three dozen recordings, including 11 CDs of his own, four of which are on Basin Street Records: A Song for George Lewis, Jazz from the Soul of New Orleans, Dancing in the Sky, and Blue Crescent. He has traveled the world, performing in over two dozen countries, and his was the first traditional New Orleans jazz band to play at the legendary Village Vanguard, where he has been a regular for 16 years. After teaching Spanish for over twenty years, White currently holds the Keller Endowed Chair in the Humanities at Xavier University. He is also featured in several dozen books, has written scores of essays that have appeared in journals, books and encyclopedias, has worked on over two dozen documentary films and worked with Wynton Marsalis in creating major concert tributes to the early New Orleans jazz greats.
On Blue Crescent as throughout his musical life, Dr. Michael White keeps New Orleans jazz alive not only by celebrating the past but by creating new music in the classic tradition.