Harley White Jr. Orchestra
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Harley White Jr. Orchestra

Sacramento, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2006 | SELF

Sacramento, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2006
Band Blues Big Band

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This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Dec
18
Harley White Jr. Orchestra @ New Hope Baptist Church

Sacramento, California, United States

Sacramento, California, United States

Dec
16
Harley White Jr. Orchestra @ The Shady Lady Saloon

Sacramento, California, United States

Sacramento, California, United States

Dec
11
Harley White Jr. Orchestra @ Holiday Inn Sacramento Downtown - Arena

Sacramento, California, United States

Sacramento, California, United States

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Music

Press


"Word Associations"

By Josh Fernandez


Very few men can rock a beret; Harley White Jr. is one of them.
Photo By dominick porras
Watch the Harley White Jr. Orchestra play WWII-era music Tuesday, November 11, at Club 21, 1119 21st Street; $10; 9 p.m. There will be a dance lesson before the show.

When I was a kid, my dad gave me a John Coltrane record for Christmas. I couldn’t make sense of the jagged structure and the instruments’ nervous interplay. It sounded like a group of intellectuals arguing in a foreign language.
The music I listened to—hip-hop and punk rock, mostly—was so immediate: a simple hurricane of power chords or a four-bar intro and you were there in the moment. I put the Coltrane record down until later, when I realized that you learn the language of jazz by listening patiently.
So when I first heard the Harley White Jr. Orchestra, it at once appealed to my immediate sense of musical language and to my complex sense of musical language that had to be learned over time. Bassist and band leader White Jr. is just as likely to draw influence from Duke Ellington as he is from Operation Ivy or KRS-One. He insists on letting his wide influence determine the diction of his musical manifesto, which ultimately bridges the gap between traditional and contemporary music.
So here, in White Jr.’s language, are some word associations: complex, interesting, energetic and immediate—just like his music.
Tradition:
“This is how I would draw the line between traditional and nontraditional musicians: the ability to accept mentoring and the ability to turn around and give mentoring. There’s an apprenticeship involved. If you want to play an instrument, realize that you’re part of a continuum. There are no new notes under the sun. You didn’t invent anything. Take that apprenticeship and pass it on—then you’re an artisan.”
Blues:
“I don’t even call myself a musician anymore. I’m a bluesician. I just wrote my first bluesical. I play bluesicology. … Duke Ellington would say, ‘Blues can take you from the penthouse to the outhouse, and all the places in between.’ And that’s kind of what I do. I hear the blues in reggae. I hear it in hip-hop. I hear it in rock. I hear it in jazz. Ellington put the blues on everything. Everything. That’s not a bad thing to do. … It’s like Bruce Lee: Which style did he not study? In the end it was Jeet Kune Do, which was the summation of everything he did. I’ve been trying to do the same thing with music. You call it Jeet Kune Do, I call it musicology.”
Kids:
“In the ’30s, they didn’t care about children unless they were the bomb. You had to be Judy Garland. You had to be Shirley Temple. No one cared about kids. There would be no Jonas Brothers, really. There was the Nicholas Brothers, but they could really dance as well as anybody. The Jonas Brothers aren’t nowhere near the best guitar players on the planet. This fascination with kids is what has kind of changed things.”
Dancing:
“The disco era was the last era where people danced together—you have to ask a girl to dance. These motherfuckers don’t know shit about that. You go to a club and you’re all standing [around]. The question ‘Would you dance with me?’—no one asks that anymore. They go [to the club] to be bored. I don’t mind when people come around and start getting down. That’s what I’m here for.”
Integrity:
“Time trumps all the bullshit. If you hang onto integrity, you’ll be able to sleep at night. That’s why the best emcees will understand why we won’t listen to Puffy in 10 years. Why Mos Def is still blowing up. Why Duke Ellington’s music will be here five years from now … because integrity is a motherfucker. You can’t get around it.” - Josh Fernandez Sacramento News and Reviews


"Word Associations"

By Josh Fernandez


Very few men can rock a beret; Harley White Jr. is one of them.
Photo By dominick porras
Watch the Harley White Jr. Orchestra play WWII-era music Tuesday, November 11, at Club 21, 1119 21st Street; $10; 9 p.m. There will be a dance lesson before the show.

When I was a kid, my dad gave me a John Coltrane record for Christmas. I couldn’t make sense of the jagged structure and the instruments’ nervous interplay. It sounded like a group of intellectuals arguing in a foreign language.
The music I listened to—hip-hop and punk rock, mostly—was so immediate: a simple hurricane of power chords or a four-bar intro and you were there in the moment. I put the Coltrane record down until later, when I realized that you learn the language of jazz by listening patiently.
So when I first heard the Harley White Jr. Orchestra, it at once appealed to my immediate sense of musical language and to my complex sense of musical language that had to be learned over time. Bassist and band leader White Jr. is just as likely to draw influence from Duke Ellington as he is from Operation Ivy or KRS-One. He insists on letting his wide influence determine the diction of his musical manifesto, which ultimately bridges the gap between traditional and contemporary music.
So here, in White Jr.’s language, are some word associations: complex, interesting, energetic and immediate—just like his music.
Tradition:
“This is how I would draw the line between traditional and nontraditional musicians: the ability to accept mentoring and the ability to turn around and give mentoring. There’s an apprenticeship involved. If you want to play an instrument, realize that you’re part of a continuum. There are no new notes under the sun. You didn’t invent anything. Take that apprenticeship and pass it on—then you’re an artisan.”
Blues:
“I don’t even call myself a musician anymore. I’m a bluesician. I just wrote my first bluesical. I play bluesicology. … Duke Ellington would say, ‘Blues can take you from the penthouse to the outhouse, and all the places in between.’ And that’s kind of what I do. I hear the blues in reggae. I hear it in hip-hop. I hear it in rock. I hear it in jazz. Ellington put the blues on everything. Everything. That’s not a bad thing to do. … It’s like Bruce Lee: Which style did he not study? In the end it was Jeet Kune Do, which was the summation of everything he did. I’ve been trying to do the same thing with music. You call it Jeet Kune Do, I call it musicology.”
Kids:
“In the ’30s, they didn’t care about children unless they were the bomb. You had to be Judy Garland. You had to be Shirley Temple. No one cared about kids. There would be no Jonas Brothers, really. There was the Nicholas Brothers, but they could really dance as well as anybody. The Jonas Brothers aren’t nowhere near the best guitar players on the planet. This fascination with kids is what has kind of changed things.”
Dancing:
“The disco era was the last era where people danced together—you have to ask a girl to dance. These motherfuckers don’t know shit about that. You go to a club and you’re all standing [around]. The question ‘Would you dance with me?’—no one asks that anymore. They go [to the club] to be bored. I don’t mind when people come around and start getting down. That’s what I’m here for.”
Integrity:
“Time trumps all the bullshit. If you hang onto integrity, you’ll be able to sleep at night. That’s why the best emcees will understand why we won’t listen to Puffy in 10 years. Why Mos Def is still blowing up. Why Duke Ellington’s music will be here five years from now … because integrity is a motherfucker. You can’t get around it.” - Josh Fernandez Sacramento News and Reviews


"Word Associations"

By Josh Fernandez


Very few men can rock a beret; Harley White Jr. is one of them.
Photo By dominick porras
Watch the Harley White Jr. Orchestra play WWII-era music Tuesday, November 11, at Club 21, 1119 21st Street; $10; 9 p.m. There will be a dance lesson before the show.

When I was a kid, my dad gave me a John Coltrane record for Christmas. I couldn’t make sense of the jagged structure and the instruments’ nervous interplay. It sounded like a group of intellectuals arguing in a foreign language.
The music I listened to—hip-hop and punk rock, mostly—was so immediate: a simple hurricane of power chords or a four-bar intro and you were there in the moment. I put the Coltrane record down until later, when I realized that you learn the language of jazz by listening patiently.
So when I first heard the Harley White Jr. Orchestra, it at once appealed to my immediate sense of musical language and to my complex sense of musical language that had to be learned over time. Bassist and band leader White Jr. is just as likely to draw influence from Duke Ellington as he is from Operation Ivy or KRS-One. He insists on letting his wide influence determine the diction of his musical manifesto, which ultimately bridges the gap between traditional and contemporary music.
So here, in White Jr.’s language, are some word associations: complex, interesting, energetic and immediate—just like his music.
Tradition:
“This is how I would draw the line between traditional and nontraditional musicians: the ability to accept mentoring and the ability to turn around and give mentoring. There’s an apprenticeship involved. If you want to play an instrument, realize that you’re part of a continuum. There are no new notes under the sun. You didn’t invent anything. Take that apprenticeship and pass it on—then you’re an artisan.”
Blues:
“I don’t even call myself a musician anymore. I’m a bluesician. I just wrote my first bluesical. I play bluesicology. … Duke Ellington would say, ‘Blues can take you from the penthouse to the outhouse, and all the places in between.’ And that’s kind of what I do. I hear the blues in reggae. I hear it in hip-hop. I hear it in rock. I hear it in jazz. Ellington put the blues on everything. Everything. That’s not a bad thing to do. … It’s like Bruce Lee: Which style did he not study? In the end it was Jeet Kune Do, which was the summation of everything he did. I’ve been trying to do the same thing with music. You call it Jeet Kune Do, I call it musicology.”
Kids:
“In the ’30s, they didn’t care about children unless they were the bomb. You had to be Judy Garland. You had to be Shirley Temple. No one cared about kids. There would be no Jonas Brothers, really. There was the Nicholas Brothers, but they could really dance as well as anybody. The Jonas Brothers aren’t nowhere near the best guitar players on the planet. This fascination with kids is what has kind of changed things.”
Dancing:
“The disco era was the last era where people danced together—you have to ask a girl to dance. These motherfuckers don’t know shit about that. You go to a club and you’re all standing [around]. The question ‘Would you dance with me?’—no one asks that anymore. They go [to the club] to be bored. I don’t mind when people come around and start getting down. That’s what I’m here for.”
Integrity:
“Time trumps all the bullshit. If you hang onto integrity, you’ll be able to sleep at night. That’s why the best emcees will understand why we won’t listen to Puffy in 10 years. Why Mos Def is still blowing up. Why Duke Ellington’s music will be here five years from now … because integrity is a motherfucker. You can’t get around it.” - Josh Fernandez Sacramento News and Reviews


"Word Associations"

By Josh Fernandez


Very few men can rock a beret; Harley White Jr. is one of them.
Photo By dominick porras
Watch the Harley White Jr. Orchestra play WWII-era music Tuesday, November 11, at Club 21, 1119 21st Street; $10; 9 p.m. There will be a dance lesson before the show.

When I was a kid, my dad gave me a John Coltrane record for Christmas. I couldn’t make sense of the jagged structure and the instruments’ nervous interplay. It sounded like a group of intellectuals arguing in a foreign language.
The music I listened to—hip-hop and punk rock, mostly—was so immediate: a simple hurricane of power chords or a four-bar intro and you were there in the moment. I put the Coltrane record down until later, when I realized that you learn the language of jazz by listening patiently.
So when I first heard the Harley White Jr. Orchestra, it at once appealed to my immediate sense of musical language and to my complex sense of musical language that had to be learned over time. Bassist and band leader White Jr. is just as likely to draw influence from Duke Ellington as he is from Operation Ivy or KRS-One. He insists on letting his wide influence determine the diction of his musical manifesto, which ultimately bridges the gap between traditional and contemporary music.
So here, in White Jr.’s language, are some word associations: complex, interesting, energetic and immediate—just like his music.
Tradition:
“This is how I would draw the line between traditional and nontraditional musicians: the ability to accept mentoring and the ability to turn around and give mentoring. There’s an apprenticeship involved. If you want to play an instrument, realize that you’re part of a continuum. There are no new notes under the sun. You didn’t invent anything. Take that apprenticeship and pass it on—then you’re an artisan.”
Blues:
“I don’t even call myself a musician anymore. I’m a bluesician. I just wrote my first bluesical. I play bluesicology. … Duke Ellington would say, ‘Blues can take you from the penthouse to the outhouse, and all the places in between.’ And that’s kind of what I do. I hear the blues in reggae. I hear it in hip-hop. I hear it in rock. I hear it in jazz. Ellington put the blues on everything. Everything. That’s not a bad thing to do. … It’s like Bruce Lee: Which style did he not study? In the end it was Jeet Kune Do, which was the summation of everything he did. I’ve been trying to do the same thing with music. You call it Jeet Kune Do, I call it musicology.”
Kids:
“In the ’30s, they didn’t care about children unless they were the bomb. You had to be Judy Garland. You had to be Shirley Temple. No one cared about kids. There would be no Jonas Brothers, really. There was the Nicholas Brothers, but they could really dance as well as anybody. The Jonas Brothers aren’t nowhere near the best guitar players on the planet. This fascination with kids is what has kind of changed things.”
Dancing:
“The disco era was the last era where people danced together—you have to ask a girl to dance. These motherfuckers don’t know shit about that. You go to a club and you’re all standing [around]. The question ‘Would you dance with me?’—no one asks that anymore. They go [to the club] to be bored. I don’t mind when people come around and start getting down. That’s what I’m here for.”
Integrity:
“Time trumps all the bullshit. If you hang onto integrity, you’ll be able to sleep at night. That’s why the best emcees will understand why we won’t listen to Puffy in 10 years. Why Mos Def is still blowing up. Why Duke Ellington’s music will be here five years from now … because integrity is a motherfucker. You can’t get around it.” - Josh Fernandez Sacramento News and Reviews


"Word Associations"

By Josh Fernandez


Very few men can rock a beret; Harley White Jr. is one of them.
Photo By dominick porras
Watch the Harley White Jr. Orchestra play WWII-era music Tuesday, November 11, at Club 21, 1119 21st Street; $10; 9 p.m. There will be a dance lesson before the show.

When I was a kid, my dad gave me a John Coltrane record for Christmas. I couldn’t make sense of the jagged structure and the instruments’ nervous interplay. It sounded like a group of intellectuals arguing in a foreign language.
The music I listened to—hip-hop and punk rock, mostly—was so immediate: a simple hurricane of power chords or a four-bar intro and you were there in the moment. I put the Coltrane record down until later, when I realized that you learn the language of jazz by listening patiently.
So when I first heard the Harley White Jr. Orchestra, it at once appealed to my immediate sense of musical language and to my complex sense of musical language that had to be learned over time. Bassist and band leader White Jr. is just as likely to draw influence from Duke Ellington as he is from Operation Ivy or KRS-One. He insists on letting his wide influence determine the diction of his musical manifesto, which ultimately bridges the gap between traditional and contemporary music.
So here, in White Jr.’s language, are some word associations: complex, interesting, energetic and immediate—just like his music.
Tradition:
“This is how I would draw the line between traditional and nontraditional musicians: the ability to accept mentoring and the ability to turn around and give mentoring. There’s an apprenticeship involved. If you want to play an instrument, realize that you’re part of a continuum. There are no new notes under the sun. You didn’t invent anything. Take that apprenticeship and pass it on—then you’re an artisan.”
Blues:
“I don’t even call myself a musician anymore. I’m a bluesician. I just wrote my first bluesical. I play bluesicology. … Duke Ellington would say, ‘Blues can take you from the penthouse to the outhouse, and all the places in between.’ And that’s kind of what I do. I hear the blues in reggae. I hear it in hip-hop. I hear it in rock. I hear it in jazz. Ellington put the blues on everything. Everything. That’s not a bad thing to do. … It’s like Bruce Lee: Which style did he not study? In the end it was Jeet Kune Do, which was the summation of everything he did. I’ve been trying to do the same thing with music. You call it Jeet Kune Do, I call it musicology.”
Kids:
“In the ’30s, they didn’t care about children unless they were the bomb. You had to be Judy Garland. You had to be Shirley Temple. No one cared about kids. There would be no Jonas Brothers, really. There was the Nicholas Brothers, but they could really dance as well as anybody. The Jonas Brothers aren’t nowhere near the best guitar players on the planet. This fascination with kids is what has kind of changed things.”
Dancing:
“The disco era was the last era where people danced together—you have to ask a girl to dance. These motherfuckers don’t know shit about that. You go to a club and you’re all standing [around]. The question ‘Would you dance with me?’—no one asks that anymore. They go [to the club] to be bored. I don’t mind when people come around and start getting down. That’s what I’m here for.”
Integrity:
“Time trumps all the bullshit. If you hang onto integrity, you’ll be able to sleep at night. That’s why the best emcees will understand why we won’t listen to Puffy in 10 years. Why Mos Def is still blowing up. Why Duke Ellington’s music will be here five years from now … because integrity is a motherfucker. You can’t get around it.” - Josh Fernandez Sacramento News and Reviews


"Word Associations"

By Josh Fernandez


Very few men can rock a beret; Harley White Jr. is one of them.
Photo By dominick porras
Watch the Harley White Jr. Orchestra play WWII-era music Tuesday, November 11, at Club 21, 1119 21st Street; $10; 9 p.m. There will be a dance lesson before the show.

When I was a kid, my dad gave me a John Coltrane record for Christmas. I couldn’t make sense of the jagged structure and the instruments’ nervous interplay. It sounded like a group of intellectuals arguing in a foreign language.
The music I listened to—hip-hop and punk rock, mostly—was so immediate: a simple hurricane of power chords or a four-bar intro and you were there in the moment. I put the Coltrane record down until later, when I realized that you learn the language of jazz by listening patiently.
So when I first heard the Harley White Jr. Orchestra, it at once appealed to my immediate sense of musical language and to my complex sense of musical language that had to be learned over time. Bassist and band leader White Jr. is just as likely to draw influence from Duke Ellington as he is from Operation Ivy or KRS-One. He insists on letting his wide influence determine the diction of his musical manifesto, which ultimately bridges the gap between traditional and contemporary music.
So here, in White Jr.’s language, are some word associations: complex, interesting, energetic and immediate—just like his music.
Tradition:
“This is how I would draw the line between traditional and nontraditional musicians: the ability to accept mentoring and the ability to turn around and give mentoring. There’s an apprenticeship involved. If you want to play an instrument, realize that you’re part of a continuum. There are no new notes under the sun. You didn’t invent anything. Take that apprenticeship and pass it on—then you’re an artisan.”
Blues:
“I don’t even call myself a musician anymore. I’m a bluesician. I just wrote my first bluesical. I play bluesicology. … Duke Ellington would say, ‘Blues can take you from the penthouse to the outhouse, and all the places in between.’ And that’s kind of what I do. I hear the blues in reggae. I hear it in hip-hop. I hear it in rock. I hear it in jazz. Ellington put the blues on everything. Everything. That’s not a bad thing to do. … It’s like Bruce Lee: Which style did he not study? In the end it was Jeet Kune Do, which was the summation of everything he did. I’ve been trying to do the same thing with music. You call it Jeet Kune Do, I call it musicology.”
Kids:
“In the ’30s, they didn’t care about children unless they were the bomb. You had to be Judy Garland. You had to be Shirley Temple. No one cared about kids. There would be no Jonas Brothers, really. There was the Nicholas Brothers, but they could really dance as well as anybody. The Jonas Brothers aren’t nowhere near the best guitar players on the planet. This fascination with kids is what has kind of changed things.”
Dancing:
“The disco era was the last era where people danced together—you have to ask a girl to dance. These motherfuckers don’t know shit about that. You go to a club and you’re all standing [around]. The question ‘Would you dance with me?’—no one asks that anymore. They go [to the club] to be bored. I don’t mind when people come around and start getting down. That’s what I’m here for.”
Integrity:
“Time trumps all the bullshit. If you hang onto integrity, you’ll be able to sleep at night. That’s why the best emcees will understand why we won’t listen to Puffy in 10 years. Why Mos Def is still blowing up. Why Duke Ellington’s music will be here five years from now … because integrity is a motherfucker. You can’t get around it.” - Josh Fernandez Sacramento News and Reviews


"Word Associations"

By Josh Fernandez


Very few men can rock a beret; Harley White Jr. is one of them.
Photo By dominick porras
Watch the Harley White Jr. Orchestra play WWII-era music Tuesday, November 11, at Club 21, 1119 21st Street; $10; 9 p.m. There will be a dance lesson before the show.

When I was a kid, my dad gave me a John Coltrane record for Christmas. I couldn’t make sense of the jagged structure and the instruments’ nervous interplay. It sounded like a group of intellectuals arguing in a foreign language.
The music I listened to—hip-hop and punk rock, mostly—was so immediate: a simple hurricane of power chords or a four-bar intro and you were there in the moment. I put the Coltrane record down until later, when I realized that you learn the language of jazz by listening patiently.
So when I first heard the Harley White Jr. Orchestra, it at once appealed to my immediate sense of musical language and to my complex sense of musical language that had to be learned over time. Bassist and band leader White Jr. is just as likely to draw influence from Duke Ellington as he is from Operation Ivy or KRS-One. He insists on letting his wide influence determine the diction of his musical manifesto, which ultimately bridges the gap between traditional and contemporary music.
So here, in White Jr.’s language, are some word associations: complex, interesting, energetic and immediate—just like his music.
Tradition:
“This is how I would draw the line between traditional and nontraditional musicians: the ability to accept mentoring and the ability to turn around and give mentoring. There’s an apprenticeship involved. If you want to play an instrument, realize that you’re part of a continuum. There are no new notes under the sun. You didn’t invent anything. Take that apprenticeship and pass it on—then you’re an artisan.”
Blues:
“I don’t even call myself a musician anymore. I’m a bluesician. I just wrote my first bluesical. I play bluesicology. … Duke Ellington would say, ‘Blues can take you from the penthouse to the outhouse, and all the places in between.’ And that’s kind of what I do. I hear the blues in reggae. I hear it in hip-hop. I hear it in rock. I hear it in jazz. Ellington put the blues on everything. Everything. That’s not a bad thing to do. … It’s like Bruce Lee: Which style did he not study? In the end it was Jeet Kune Do, which was the summation of everything he did. I’ve been trying to do the same thing with music. You call it Jeet Kune Do, I call it musicology.”
Kids:
“In the ’30s, they didn’t care about children unless they were the bomb. You had to be Judy Garland. You had to be Shirley Temple. No one cared about kids. There would be no Jonas Brothers, really. There was the Nicholas Brothers, but they could really dance as well as anybody. The Jonas Brothers aren’t nowhere near the best guitar players on the planet. This fascination with kids is what has kind of changed things.”
Dancing:
“The disco era was the last era where people danced together—you have to ask a girl to dance. These motherfuckers don’t know shit about that. You go to a club and you’re all standing [around]. The question ‘Would you dance with me?’—no one asks that anymore. They go [to the club] to be bored. I don’t mind when people come around and start getting down. That’s what I’m here for.”
Integrity:
“Time trumps all the bullshit. If you hang onto integrity, you’ll be able to sleep at night. That’s why the best emcees will understand why we won’t listen to Puffy in 10 years. Why Mos Def is still blowing up. Why Duke Ellington’s music will be here five years from now … because integrity is a motherfucker. You can’t get around it.” - Josh Fernandez Sacramento News and Reviews


"Word Associations"

By Josh Fernandez


Very few men can rock a beret; Harley White Jr. is one of them.
Photo By dominick porras
Watch the Harley White Jr. Orchestra play WWII-era music Tuesday, November 11, at Club 21, 1119 21st Street; $10; 9 p.m. There will be a dance lesson before the show.

When I was a kid, my dad gave me a John Coltrane record for Christmas. I couldn’t make sense of the jagged structure and the instruments’ nervous interplay. It sounded like a group of intellectuals arguing in a foreign language.
The music I listened to—hip-hop and punk rock, mostly—was so immediate: a simple hurricane of power chords or a four-bar intro and you were there in the moment. I put the Coltrane record down until later, when I realized that you learn the language of jazz by listening patiently.
So when I first heard the Harley White Jr. Orchestra, it at once appealed to my immediate sense of musical language and to my complex sense of musical language that had to be learned over time. Bassist and band leader White Jr. is just as likely to draw influence from Duke Ellington as he is from Operation Ivy or KRS-One. He insists on letting his wide influence determine the diction of his musical manifesto, which ultimately bridges the gap between traditional and contemporary music.
So here, in White Jr.’s language, are some word associations: complex, interesting, energetic and immediate—just like his music.
Tradition:
“This is how I would draw the line between traditional and nontraditional musicians: the ability to accept mentoring and the ability to turn around and give mentoring. There’s an apprenticeship involved. If you want to play an instrument, realize that you’re part of a continuum. There are no new notes under the sun. You didn’t invent anything. Take that apprenticeship and pass it on—then you’re an artisan.”
Blues:
“I don’t even call myself a musician anymore. I’m a bluesician. I just wrote my first bluesical. I play bluesicology. … Duke Ellington would say, ‘Blues can take you from the penthouse to the outhouse, and all the places in between.’ And that’s kind of what I do. I hear the blues in reggae. I hear it in hip-hop. I hear it in rock. I hear it in jazz. Ellington put the blues on everything. Everything. That’s not a bad thing to do. … It’s like Bruce Lee: Which style did he not study? In the end it was Jeet Kune Do, which was the summation of everything he did. I’ve been trying to do the same thing with music. You call it Jeet Kune Do, I call it musicology.”
Kids:
“In the ’30s, they didn’t care about children unless they were the bomb. You had to be Judy Garland. You had to be Shirley Temple. No one cared about kids. There would be no Jonas Brothers, really. There was the Nicholas Brothers, but they could really dance as well as anybody. The Jonas Brothers aren’t nowhere near the best guitar players on the planet. This fascination with kids is what has kind of changed things.”
Dancing:
“The disco era was the last era where people danced together—you have to ask a girl to dance. These motherfuckers don’t know shit about that. You go to a club and you’re all standing [around]. The question ‘Would you dance with me?’—no one asks that anymore. They go [to the club] to be bored. I don’t mind when people come around and start getting down. That’s what I’m here for.”
Integrity:
“Time trumps all the bullshit. If you hang onto integrity, you’ll be able to sleep at night. That’s why the best emcees will understand why we won’t listen to Puffy in 10 years. Why Mos Def is still blowing up. Why Duke Ellington’s music will be here five years from now … because integrity is a motherfucker. You can’t get around it.” - Josh Fernandez Sacramento News and Reviews


"Word Associations"

By Josh Fernandez


Very few men can rock a beret; Harley White Jr. is one of them.
Photo By dominick porras
Watch the Harley White Jr. Orchestra play WWII-era music Tuesday, November 11, at Club 21, 1119 21st Street; $10; 9 p.m. There will be a dance lesson before the show.

When I was a kid, my dad gave me a John Coltrane record for Christmas. I couldn’t make sense of the jagged structure and the instruments’ nervous interplay. It sounded like a group of intellectuals arguing in a foreign language.
The music I listened to—hip-hop and punk rock, mostly—was so immediate: a simple hurricane of power chords or a four-bar intro and you were there in the moment. I put the Coltrane record down until later, when I realized that you learn the language of jazz by listening patiently.
So when I first heard the Harley White Jr. Orchestra, it at once appealed to my immediate sense of musical language and to my complex sense of musical language that had to be learned over time. Bassist and band leader White Jr. is just as likely to draw influence from Duke Ellington as he is from Operation Ivy or KRS-One. He insists on letting his wide influence determine the diction of his musical manifesto, which ultimately bridges the gap between traditional and contemporary music.
So here, in White Jr.’s language, are some word associations: complex, interesting, energetic and immediate—just like his music.
Tradition:
“This is how I would draw the line between traditional and nontraditional musicians: the ability to accept mentoring and the ability to turn around and give mentoring. There’s an apprenticeship involved. If you want to play an instrument, realize that you’re part of a continuum. There are no new notes under the sun. You didn’t invent anything. Take that apprenticeship and pass it on—then you’re an artisan.”
Blues:
“I don’t even call myself a musician anymore. I’m a bluesician. I just wrote my first bluesical. I play bluesicology. … Duke Ellington would say, ‘Blues can take you from the penthouse to the outhouse, and all the places in between.’ And that’s kind of what I do. I hear the blues in reggae. I hear it in hip-hop. I hear it in rock. I hear it in jazz. Ellington put the blues on everything. Everything. That’s not a bad thing to do. … It’s like Bruce Lee: Which style did he not study? In the end it was Jeet Kune Do, which was the summation of everything he did. I’ve been trying to do the same thing with music. You call it Jeet Kune Do, I call it musicology.”
Kids:
“In the ’30s, they didn’t care about children unless they were the bomb. You had to be Judy Garland. You had to be Shirley Temple. No one cared about kids. There would be no Jonas Brothers, really. There was the Nicholas Brothers, but they could really dance as well as anybody. The Jonas Brothers aren’t nowhere near the best guitar players on the planet. This fascination with kids is what has kind of changed things.”
Dancing:
“The disco era was the last era where people danced together—you have to ask a girl to dance. These motherfuckers don’t know shit about that. You go to a club and you’re all standing [around]. The question ‘Would you dance with me?’—no one asks that anymore. They go [to the club] to be bored. I don’t mind when people come around and start getting down. That’s what I’m here for.”
Integrity:
“Time trumps all the bullshit. If you hang onto integrity, you’ll be able to sleep at night. That’s why the best emcees will understand why we won’t listen to Puffy in 10 years. Why Mos Def is still blowing up. Why Duke Ellington’s music will be here five years from now … because integrity is a motherfucker. You can’t get around it.” - Josh Fernandez Sacramento News and Reviews


"Word Associations"

By Josh Fernandez


Very few men can rock a beret; Harley White Jr. is one of them.
Photo By dominick porras
Watch the Harley White Jr. Orchestra play WWII-era music Tuesday, November 11, at Club 21, 1119 21st Street; $10; 9 p.m. There will be a dance lesson before the show.

When I was a kid, my dad gave me a John Coltrane record for Christmas. I couldn’t make sense of the jagged structure and the instruments’ nervous interplay. It sounded like a group of intellectuals arguing in a foreign language.
The music I listened to—hip-hop and punk rock, mostly—was so immediate: a simple hurricane of power chords or a four-bar intro and you were there in the moment. I put the Coltrane record down until later, when I realized that you learn the language of jazz by listening patiently.
So when I first heard the Harley White Jr. Orchestra, it at once appealed to my immediate sense of musical language and to my complex sense of musical language that had to be learned over time. Bassist and band leader White Jr. is just as likely to draw influence from Duke Ellington as he is from Operation Ivy or KRS-One. He insists on letting his wide influence determine the diction of his musical manifesto, which ultimately bridges the gap between traditional and contemporary music.
So here, in White Jr.’s language, are some word associations: complex, interesting, energetic and immediate—just like his music.
Tradition:
“This is how I would draw the line between traditional and nontraditional musicians: the ability to accept mentoring and the ability to turn around and give mentoring. There’s an apprenticeship involved. If you want to play an instrument, realize that you’re part of a continuum. There are no new notes under the sun. You didn’t invent anything. Take that apprenticeship and pass it on—then you’re an artisan.”
Blues:
“I don’t even call myself a musician anymore. I’m a bluesician. I just wrote my first bluesical. I play bluesicology. … Duke Ellington would say, ‘Blues can take you from the penthouse to the outhouse, and all the places in between.’ And that’s kind of what I do. I hear the blues in reggae. I hear it in hip-hop. I hear it in rock. I hear it in jazz. Ellington put the blues on everything. Everything. That’s not a bad thing to do. … It’s like Bruce Lee: Which style did he not study? In the end it was Jeet Kune Do, which was the summation of everything he did. I’ve been trying to do the same thing with music. You call it Jeet Kune Do, I call it musicology.”
Kids:
“In the ’30s, they didn’t care about children unless they were the bomb. You had to be Judy Garland. You had to be Shirley Temple. No one cared about kids. There would be no Jonas Brothers, really. There was the Nicholas Brothers, but they could really dance as well as anybody. The Jonas Brothers aren’t nowhere near the best guitar players on the planet. This fascination with kids is what has kind of changed things.”
Dancing:
“The disco era was the last era where people danced together—you have to ask a girl to dance. These motherfuckers don’t know shit about that. You go to a club and you’re all standing [around]. The question ‘Would you dance with me?’—no one asks that anymore. They go [to the club] to be bored. I don’t mind when people come around and start getting down. That’s what I’m here for.”
Integrity:
“Time trumps all the bullshit. If you hang onto integrity, you’ll be able to sleep at night. That’s why the best emcees will understand why we won’t listen to Puffy in 10 years. Why Mos Def is still blowing up. Why Duke Ellington’s music will be here five years from now … because integrity is a motherfucker. You can’t get around it.” - Josh Fernandez Sacramento News and Reviews


"Word Associations"

By Josh Fernandez


Very few men can rock a beret; Harley White Jr. is one of them.
Photo By dominick porras
Watch the Harley White Jr. Orchestra play WWII-era music Tuesday, November 11, at Club 21, 1119 21st Street; $10; 9 p.m. There will be a dance lesson before the show.

When I was a kid, my dad gave me a John Coltrane record for Christmas. I couldn’t make sense of the jagged structure and the instruments’ nervous interplay. It sounded like a group of intellectuals arguing in a foreign language.
The music I listened to—hip-hop and punk rock, mostly—was so immediate: a simple hurricane of power chords or a four-bar intro and you were there in the moment. I put the Coltrane record down until later, when I realized that you learn the language of jazz by listening patiently.
So when I first heard the Harley White Jr. Orchestra, it at once appealed to my immediate sense of musical language and to my complex sense of musical language that had to be learned over time. Bassist and band leader White Jr. is just as likely to draw influence from Duke Ellington as he is from Operation Ivy or KRS-One. He insists on letting his wide influence determine the diction of his musical manifesto, which ultimately bridges the gap between traditional and contemporary music.
So here, in White Jr.’s language, are some word associations: complex, interesting, energetic and immediate—just like his music.
Tradition:
“This is how I would draw the line between traditional and nontraditional musicians: the ability to accept mentoring and the ability to turn around and give mentoring. There’s an apprenticeship involved. If you want to play an instrument, realize that you’re part of a continuum. There are no new notes under the sun. You didn’t invent anything. Take that apprenticeship and pass it on—then you’re an artisan.”
Blues:
“I don’t even call myself a musician anymore. I’m a bluesician. I just wrote my first bluesical. I play bluesicology. … Duke Ellington would say, ‘Blues can take you from the penthouse to the outhouse, and all the places in between.’ And that’s kind of what I do. I hear the blues in reggae. I hear it in hip-hop. I hear it in rock. I hear it in jazz. Ellington put the blues on everything. Everything. That’s not a bad thing to do. … It’s like Bruce Lee: Which style did he not study? In the end it was Jeet Kune Do, which was the summation of everything he did. I’ve been trying to do the same thing with music. You call it Jeet Kune Do, I call it musicology.”
Kids:
“In the ’30s, they didn’t care about children unless they were the bomb. You had to be Judy Garland. You had to be Shirley Temple. No one cared about kids. There would be no Jonas Brothers, really. There was the Nicholas Brothers, but they could really dance as well as anybody. The Jonas Brothers aren’t nowhere near the best guitar players on the planet. This fascination with kids is what has kind of changed things.”
Dancing:
“The disco era was the last era where people danced together—you have to ask a girl to dance. These motherfuckers don’t know shit about that. You go to a club and you’re all standing [around]. The question ‘Would you dance with me?’—no one asks that anymore. They go [to the club] to be bored. I don’t mind when people come around and start getting down. That’s what I’m here for.”
Integrity:
“Time trumps all the bullshit. If you hang onto integrity, you’ll be able to sleep at night. That’s why the best emcees will understand why we won’t listen to Puffy in 10 years. Why Mos Def is still blowing up. Why Duke Ellington’s music will be here five years from now … because integrity is a motherfucker. You can’t get around it.” - Josh Fernandez Sacramento News and Reviews


"Word Associations"

By Josh Fernandez


Very few men can rock a beret; Harley White Jr. is one of them.
Photo By dominick porras
Watch the Harley White Jr. Orchestra play WWII-era music Tuesday, November 11, at Club 21, 1119 21st Street; $10; 9 p.m. There will be a dance lesson before the show.

When I was a kid, my dad gave me a John Coltrane record for Christmas. I couldn’t make sense of the jagged structure and the instruments’ nervous interplay. It sounded like a group of intellectuals arguing in a foreign language.
The music I listened to—hip-hop and punk rock, mostly—was so immediate: a simple hurricane of power chords or a four-bar intro and you were there in the moment. I put the Coltrane record down until later, when I realized that you learn the language of jazz by listening patiently.
So when I first heard the Harley White Jr. Orchestra, it at once appealed to my immediate sense of musical language and to my complex sense of musical language that had to be learned over time. Bassist and band leader White Jr. is just as likely to draw influence from Duke Ellington as he is from Operation Ivy or KRS-One. He insists on letting his wide influence determine the diction of his musical manifesto, which ultimately bridges the gap between traditional and contemporary music.
So here, in White Jr.’s language, are some word associations: complex, interesting, energetic and immediate—just like his music.
Tradition:
“This is how I would draw the line between traditional and nontraditional musicians: the ability to accept mentoring and the ability to turn around and give mentoring. There’s an apprenticeship involved. If you want to play an instrument, realize that you’re part of a continuum. There are no new notes under the sun. You didn’t invent anything. Take that apprenticeship and pass it on—then you’re an artisan.”
Blues:
“I don’t even call myself a musician anymore. I’m a bluesician. I just wrote my first bluesical. I play bluesicology. … Duke Ellington would say, ‘Blues can take you from the penthouse to the outhouse, and all the places in between.’ And that’s kind of what I do. I hear the blues in reggae. I hear it in hip-hop. I hear it in rock. I hear it in jazz. Ellington put the blues on everything. Everything. That’s not a bad thing to do. … It’s like Bruce Lee: Which style did he not study? In the end it was Jeet Kune Do, which was the summation of everything he did. I’ve been trying to do the same thing with music. You call it Jeet Kune Do, I call it musicology.”
Kids:
“In the ’30s, they didn’t care about children unless they were the bomb. You had to be Judy Garland. You had to be Shirley Temple. No one cared about kids. There would be no Jonas Brothers, really. There was the Nicholas Brothers, but they could really dance as well as anybody. The Jonas Brothers aren’t nowhere near the best guitar players on the planet. This fascination with kids is what has kind of changed things.”
Dancing:
“The disco era was the last era where people danced together—you have to ask a girl to dance. These motherfuckers don’t know shit about that. You go to a club and you’re all standing [around]. The question ‘Would you dance with me?’—no one asks that anymore. They go [to the club] to be bored. I don’t mind when people come around and start getting down. That’s what I’m here for.”
Integrity:
“Time trumps all the bullshit. If you hang onto integrity, you’ll be able to sleep at night. That’s why the best emcees will understand why we won’t listen to Puffy in 10 years. Why Mos Def is still blowing up. Why Duke Ellington’s music will be here five years from now … because integrity is a motherfucker. You can’t get around it.” - Josh Fernandez Sacramento News and Reviews


"Harley White Jr. The Blues and the Abstract Truth"

By Dennis Yudt Photos by Scott Duncan

While the rain drizzled over Midtown and the Bill Evans Trio whispered a soundtrack in the background, Harley White Jr. turned his head toward the window. Tears rolled down his face, mirroring the raindrops’ slow, hesitant voyage on the pane.

“When friends die, it always knocks you sideways. You never see that coming.” Almost four years have passed since his fellow bass player and close friend, musician Eric Kleven, was killed in an automobile accident but the memory still haunts. “He’s my mentor. I mean, when he passed away…I don’t want to get sad, but I think about him all the time.” But within a few minutes, the 45-year-old musician, promoter, educator and avid supporter of all things musical in Sacramento was laughing about his and Kleven’s last conversation, where Kleven jokingly took White to task over a quote about a peer in the local press.

Calling Midtown home since 1991, Harley White Jr. has been a fixture on stages and classrooms throughout the Sacramento area. His resume staggers as much as his genre-bending talent: Papa’s Culture, his world-beat project, released an album on Elektra Records in 1993; he’s played indie-rock, funk/hip-hop fusion and reggae with Seventy, Original Heads and Dr. Echo respectively; wrote the song “Lucky Day” on Faith Evans’ chart-topping 2005 release, The First Lady; appeared on albums from artists as diverse as Cake, Blackalicious, Melvin Van Peebles, Ben Harper and local poet Jose Montoya; an educator at the Waldorf high school and artist-in-residence at Thomas Jefferson Elementary; lead the “Housecats” and “Take 5? youth jazz ensembles; provided music for television, motion pictures and stage production; won a ‘Best New Faces” honor from Rolling Stone magazine in 1993. But truth be told, this list is a fraction of his achievements. Harley White Jr., as any local musician will tell you, is an essential component of our musical community and works as hard behind the scenes as he does on-stage.

His father, Harley White Sr., is a renowned music educator and a well-regarded jazz bassist in the Bay Area, and the respect, love, and admiration he has for him runs through our conversation. It’s not hard to see why Harley Jr.’s life has taken the trajectory it has;he was raised in a household where musicians held court with impromptu jam sessions and heard stories from regular guests like Charles Mingus’ wife, Sue. The culmination of this musical journey is all rolled up in the Harley White Jr. Orchestra, a small, but incendiary, group that finds the hard blues swing in the music of Count Basie, Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington.

In our wide-ranging conversation, White riffed on subjects like he would on an old jazz standard. Outspoken, but with the eyes and ears of a seasoned and deeply educated participant, his brash and hold-no-bars opinions were well thought out, full of piss and vinegar, and above all, entertaining as hell. Here are a few of the high points from Mr. White:

On hip-hop: “Hip hop is really a training ground for actors. They don’t mature into artists. Who gives a shit about a 40-year-old rapper? There is nothing more pathetic. You better learn how to act, homie, if you want to stay in the game. Why would Will Smith cut another hip-hop record? Why would (Queen) Latifah go back to hip-hop? Or Ice-T? You name it. Why? There’s no reason. The game’s up when you’re 30. It’s done! Start a clothing label! I can’t support an art form that discards the maturation of its artists. That’s why as an art form, I kind of have to fuck with it.”

On punk rock: “As far as punk rock, you have to give Little Richard the mantle. As far as scaring the shit out of white peoples’ parents… gay, big ass hair, freaky makeup…he was kind of goth but in the ‘50s. This wasn’t 1975 post-Vietnam War… this was still squeaky-clean American… Johnny Lydon was a malcontent in 1975, but to be a malcontent in 1955? And black on top of it? And gay? Can you be any more punk rock?”

On being a professional musician: “Are there any 14 year-old professional firemen? Or 14-year-old professional nurses? I have to compete against 14 year-olds in my profession. There is an apprenticeship that is involved in this. In my profession and in yours – journalism – the line between amateur and professional is so blurred. There are a lot of minimally talented people getting a lot of love in this city. They do! A lot of genres that don’t take that much to be good at get a lot of write-ups in this city. I’m more perplexed by the critics, why they aren’t more critical, more than at the kids.”

Whether it’s the blues, jazz, reggae or whatever genre White finds himself tapped into this week, one can’t help but be impressed not only by his expressive bass work, but by the missionary’s zeal that’s imprinted in his music and his being. For Harley White Jr., it’s not just about the rhythm of the music; it’s about the rhythm of life.

The Harley White Jr. Orches - Dennis Yudt Midtown Monthly


"Harley White Jr. The Blues and the Abstract Truth"

By Dennis Yudt Photos by Scott Duncan

While the rain drizzled over Midtown and the Bill Evans Trio whispered a soundtrack in the background, Harley White Jr. turned his head toward the window. Tears rolled down his face, mirroring the raindrops’ slow, hesitant voyage on the pane.

“When friends die, it always knocks you sideways. You never see that coming.” Almost four years have passed since his fellow bass player and close friend, musician Eric Kleven, was killed in an automobile accident but the memory still haunts. “He’s my mentor. I mean, when he passed away…I don’t want to get sad, but I think about him all the time.” But within a few minutes, the 45-year-old musician, promoter, educator and avid supporter of all things musical in Sacramento was laughing about his and Kleven’s last conversation, where Kleven jokingly took White to task over a quote about a peer in the local press.

Calling Midtown home since 1991, Harley White Jr. has been a fixture on stages and classrooms throughout the Sacramento area. His resume staggers as much as his genre-bending talent: Papa’s Culture, his world-beat project, released an album on Elektra Records in 1993; he’s played indie-rock, funk/hip-hop fusion and reggae with Seventy, Original Heads and Dr. Echo respectively; wrote the song “Lucky Day” on Faith Evans’ chart-topping 2005 release, The First Lady; appeared on albums from artists as diverse as Cake, Blackalicious, Melvin Van Peebles, Ben Harper and local poet Jose Montoya; an educator at the Waldorf high school and artist-in-residence at Thomas Jefferson Elementary; lead the “Housecats” and “Take 5? youth jazz ensembles; provided music for television, motion pictures and stage production; won a ‘Best New Faces” honor from Rolling Stone magazine in 1993. But truth be told, this list is a fraction of his achievements. Harley White Jr., as any local musician will tell you, is an essential component of our musical community and works as hard behind the scenes as he does on-stage.

His father, Harley White Sr., is a renowned music educator and a well-regarded jazz bassist in the Bay Area, and the respect, love, and admiration he has for him runs through our conversation. It’s not hard to see why Harley Jr.’s life has taken the trajectory it has;he was raised in a household where musicians held court with impromptu jam sessions and heard stories from regular guests like Charles Mingus’ wife, Sue. The culmination of this musical journey is all rolled up in the Harley White Jr. Orchestra, a small, but incendiary, group that finds the hard blues swing in the music of Count Basie, Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington.

In our wide-ranging conversation, White riffed on subjects like he would on an old jazz standard. Outspoken, but with the eyes and ears of a seasoned and deeply educated participant, his brash and hold-no-bars opinions were well thought out, full of piss and vinegar, and above all, entertaining as hell. Here are a few of the high points from Mr. White:

On hip-hop: “Hip hop is really a training ground for actors. They don’t mature into artists. Who gives a shit about a 40-year-old rapper? There is nothing more pathetic. You better learn how to act, homie, if you want to stay in the game. Why would Will Smith cut another hip-hop record? Why would (Queen) Latifah go back to hip-hop? Or Ice-T? You name it. Why? There’s no reason. The game’s up when you’re 30. It’s done! Start a clothing label! I can’t support an art form that discards the maturation of its artists. That’s why as an art form, I kind of have to fuck with it.”

On punk rock: “As far as punk rock, you have to give Little Richard the mantle. As far as scaring the shit out of white peoples’ parents… gay, big ass hair, freaky makeup…he was kind of goth but in the ‘50s. This wasn’t 1975 post-Vietnam War… this was still squeaky-clean American… Johnny Lydon was a malcontent in 1975, but to be a malcontent in 1955? And black on top of it? And gay? Can you be any more punk rock?”

On being a professional musician: “Are there any 14 year-old professional firemen? Or 14-year-old professional nurses? I have to compete against 14 year-olds in my profession. There is an apprenticeship that is involved in this. In my profession and in yours – journalism – the line between amateur and professional is so blurred. There are a lot of minimally talented people getting a lot of love in this city. They do! A lot of genres that don’t take that much to be good at get a lot of write-ups in this city. I’m more perplexed by the critics, why they aren’t more critical, more than at the kids.”

Whether it’s the blues, jazz, reggae or whatever genre White finds himself tapped into this week, one can’t help but be impressed not only by his expressive bass work, but by the missionary’s zeal that’s imprinted in his music and his being. For Harley White Jr., it’s not just about the rhythm of the music; it’s about the rhythm of life.

The Harley White Jr. Orches - Dennis Yudt Midtown Monthly


"The Only Living Big Band in Sacramento: The Harley White Jr. Orchestra"

The Harley White Jr. Orchestra is one of the few jazz bands playing regularly in Sacramento. Harley White Jr. is an accomplished performer with an impressive set of credentials. He has produced and composed for a variety of groups including Cake, Blackalicious, Papa’s Culture, Faith Evans, and others.

According to local fans, he is one of the few musicians keeping jazz alive in the capital. White has captured a classic jazz aesthetic by keeping his sound in line with the evolution of the music. You might catch him playing big band swing with a 20's-style banjo accompainment or at a small venue freely improvising over spoken poetics.

Classic improvisational jazz does not always draw a hard-drinking, college-aged crowd. White spoke about the difficulty of working with club owners who cater to this demographic and the lack of pro-active jazz promoters.

Still, he noted how many great musicians are out here, “We really are ‘world-class’ in Sacramento. I am honored to work with the high-level of players in the Orchestra.”
White grew up in San Francisco with his father, a bay area bassist and educator. “It was a great place to grow up. Sonny Stitt played with my father on a few occasions, as did Earl Hines. “

The great Lester Young’s niece, Martha Young, is a family friend and Harley’s godmother.

Harley began playing music on the violin and later, the tuba. By age fifteen, he had begun playing upright bass. He received his performance degree from the University of Southern California and the University of North Texas.

When asked about his influences, Harley rattled off a list of famous bass players. These include James Jamerson, Charles Mingus, Jimmie Blanton, Jaco Pastorious, Paul McCartney, and Israel “Cachao” Lopez.

“No matter what I’m doing you can trace it back to the blues.” Harley describes his musical perspective as a “ponderosa,” wide open and reflecting the west coast atmosphere. “Where you're from flavors and influences your music,” he said.

The Orchestra’s first album is currently in the works. It is classic big band jazz but contains trip hop and dub elements which you normally don’t find on jazz albums. “I am trying to meld the old with the new,” said White, “I’m more of a musical painter. You can’t get all the sound with just four guys.”

The Orchestra is a full set-up with a 6-piece horn section. You can see them play regularly at the Crescent Club every second and fourth Friday of the month.

When asked about the future of the Orchestra, White stated the next step is to become an “Orchestra of the Americas.” White wants to incorporate sounds including the blues and Ozark folk music with Latin and Caribbean grooves.

Harley White Jr. Shows:

Thursdays: The Torch Club, 904 15th St.

1st and 3rd Fridays: The Shady Lady, 1409 R St.

2nd and 4th Fridays: The Crescent Club, 1150 Firehouse - Sacramento Jazz Music Examiner


"The Only Living Big Band in Sacramento: The Harley White Jr. Orchestra"

The Harley White Jr. Orchestra is one of the few jazz bands playing regularly in Sacramento. Harley White Jr. is an accomplished performer with an impressive set of credentials. He has produced and composed for a variety of groups including Cake, Blackalicious, Papa’s Culture, Faith Evans, and others.

According to local fans, he is one of the few musicians keeping jazz alive in the capital. White has captured a classic jazz aesthetic by keeping his sound in line with the evolution of the music. You might catch him playing big band swing with a 20's-style banjo accompainment or at a small venue freely improvising over spoken poetics.

Classic improvisational jazz does not always draw a hard-drinking, college-aged crowd. White spoke about the difficulty of working with club owners who cater to this demographic and the lack of pro-active jazz promoters.

Still, he noted how many great musicians are out here, “We really are ‘world-class’ in Sacramento. I am honored to work with the high-level of players in the Orchestra.”
White grew up in San Francisco with his father, a bay area bassist and educator. “It was a great place to grow up. Sonny Stitt played with my father on a few occasions, as did Earl Hines. “

The great Lester Young’s niece, Martha Young, is a family friend and Harley’s godmother.

Harley began playing music on the violin and later, the tuba. By age fifteen, he had begun playing upright bass. He received his performance degree from the University of Southern California and the University of North Texas.

When asked about his influences, Harley rattled off a list of famous bass players. These include James Jamerson, Charles Mingus, Jimmie Blanton, Jaco Pastorious, Paul McCartney, and Israel “Cachao” Lopez.

“No matter what I’m doing you can trace it back to the blues.” Harley describes his musical perspective as a “ponderosa,” wide open and reflecting the west coast atmosphere. “Where you're from flavors and influences your music,” he said.

The Orchestra’s first album is currently in the works. It is classic big band jazz but contains trip hop and dub elements which you normally don’t find on jazz albums. “I am trying to meld the old with the new,” said White, “I’m more of a musical painter. You can’t get all the sound with just four guys.”

The Orchestra is a full set-up with a 6-piece horn section. You can see them play regularly at the Crescent Club every second and fourth Friday of the month.

When asked about the future of the Orchestra, White stated the next step is to become an “Orchestra of the Americas.” White wants to incorporate sounds including the blues and Ozark folk music with Latin and Caribbean grooves.

Harley White Jr. Shows:

Thursdays: The Torch Club, 904 15th St.

1st and 3rd Fridays: The Shady Lady, 1409 R St.

2nd and 4th Fridays: The Crescent Club, 1150 Firehouse - Sacramento Jazz Music Examiner


"Making noise with Sacramento's WhiteNoise Festival"

The first time Harley White put on a WhiteNoise Festival, the event was a party.

It was actually a celebration of the composer and bassist's 40th birthday. So he put in calls to various musicians he knew from the many bands he had played with and they all turned up.

It reunited Papa's Culture, the before-its-time eclectic pop band he cofounded in 1991 with Blake Davis. White's elusive hip-hop group, the Original Heads, also found their way to the gig, and the rock-based group Seventy he was in with guitarist Vinnie Montoya also played.

That elective, expansive spirit has fueled subsequent WhiteNoise Festivals, and it has grown in size and scope, eventually spreading over a couple of days at Cesar Chavez Plaza.

This year, WhiteNoise has a more contained – though no less wide-ranging – event planned Sunday at the Torch Club.

Scheduled performers include The Broun Fellinis, Elements Brass Band, DJ Larry Rodriguez, Aaron King, Jimmy Pailer, Electropoetic Coffee, Mike Farrell, The Addict Merchants, The Sizzling Sirens Burlesque Experience, Exquisite Corp, The CUF, Prieta, Sankofa, The Cave Women, The Yarddogs and The Harley White Jr. Orchestra.

White's jazz orchestra is a 10-person horn-based unit playing in the tradition of swinging big bands led by Fletcher Henderson, Count Basie and Duke Ellington. It's an ambitious concept, as White knows all too well.

"We're still not hitting what I want to hit, but we're getting closer to it," White said recently.

"Our mission statement would be to play the blues, but not in any traditional way, we're looking back, but the reason we're looking back is to look forward," White added. His explanation fits much of jazz, which honors a tradition while simultaneously extending the form.

"I want to be around sophisticated cats who can play like that, and the music that they play is orchestral blues," White said.

White said it's been a challenge finding musicians who can pull the dynamics off. There are those who can play in forward-thinking music but aren't interested in history, and there are others who know their historical references but don't have the progressive edge White desires.

"This is not your grandpa's swing band," the typically candid White said.

He sees the band making a jazz record with DJ remixes on it, not a revolutionary concept these days, but it still could send mixed messages to some.

"No. 1 , the remix is very musical, but also I want my record to hit the way records hit now, just from a production standpoint," White said.

As much as he loves the Duke Ellington songbook, White is trying to gently steer the band away from the master.

"One of the challenges when I started was to write the Ellington out of our book," he said. "And, in no way am I trying to compare my music to Ellington's."

What he's trying to do is create more original music in the great tradition.

"Slowly, I've put my arrangements into the book and other guys' arrangements into the book, and some it has worked and some of it hasn't," White said. "Some are still works in progress but that's a huge part of what we're doing – trying to find our way now."

Guitarist Aaron King, who brings his blues-based trio to the festival, appreciates White's efforts at building the festival and nurturing musicians.

"There's a wealth of talent here that goes unnoticed. You have all these great musicians who play around the world, around the country, and they're toiling away doing their art and people don't recognize it."

King acknowledges fellow guitarist Ross Hammond (playing the WhiteNoise Festival with his Electropoetic Coffee project) along with White for creating musical events.

"I respect people like Harley and Ross. Those guys are musicians' musicians," King said. "It's an honor when a fellow musician asks you to play on his bill."

What: This all-day music festival, curated by Harley White, brings together a wide range of Northern California-based musical acts performing to benefit the Roberts Family Development Center in North Sacramento.

When: Noon to midnight Sunday

Where: The Torch Club, 904 15th St., Sacramento

Tickets: - Marcus Crowder Sacramento Bee


"Making noise with Sacramento's WhiteNoise Festival"

The first time Harley White put on a WhiteNoise Festival, the event was a party.

It was actually a celebration of the composer and bassist's 40th birthday. So he put in calls to various musicians he knew from the many bands he had played with and they all turned up.

It reunited Papa's Culture, the before-its-time eclectic pop band he cofounded in 1991 with Blake Davis. White's elusive hip-hop group, the Original Heads, also found their way to the gig, and the rock-based group Seventy he was in with guitarist Vinnie Montoya also played.

That elective, expansive spirit has fueled subsequent WhiteNoise Festivals, and it has grown in size and scope, eventually spreading over a couple of days at Cesar Chavez Plaza.

This year, WhiteNoise has a more contained – though no less wide-ranging – event planned Sunday at the Torch Club.

Scheduled performers include The Broun Fellinis, Elements Brass Band, DJ Larry Rodriguez, Aaron King, Jimmy Pailer, Electropoetic Coffee, Mike Farrell, The Addict Merchants, The Sizzling Sirens Burlesque Experience, Exquisite Corp, The CUF, Prieta, Sankofa, The Cave Women, The Yarddogs and The Harley White Jr. Orchestra.

White's jazz orchestra is a 10-person horn-based unit playing in the tradition of swinging big bands led by Fletcher Henderson, Count Basie and Duke Ellington. It's an ambitious concept, as White knows all too well.

"We're still not hitting what I want to hit, but we're getting closer to it," White said recently.

"Our mission statement would be to play the blues, but not in any traditional way, we're looking back, but the reason we're looking back is to look forward," White added. His explanation fits much of jazz, which honors a tradition while simultaneously extending the form.

"I want to be around sophisticated cats who can play like that, and the music that they play is orchestral blues," White said.

White said it's been a challenge finding musicians who can pull the dynamics off. There are those who can play in forward-thinking music but aren't interested in history, and there are others who know their historical references but don't have the progressive edge White desires.

"This is not your grandpa's swing band," the typically candid White said.

He sees the band making a jazz record with DJ remixes on it, not a revolutionary concept these days, but it still could send mixed messages to some.

"No. 1 , the remix is very musical, but also I want my record to hit the way records hit now, just from a production standpoint," White said.

As much as he loves the Duke Ellington songbook, White is trying to gently steer the band away from the master.

"One of the challenges when I started was to write the Ellington out of our book," he said. "And, in no way am I trying to compare my music to Ellington's."

What he's trying to do is create more original music in the great tradition.

"Slowly, I've put my arrangements into the book and other guys' arrangements into the book, and some it has worked and some of it hasn't," White said. "Some are still works in progress but that's a huge part of what we're doing – trying to find our way now."

Guitarist Aaron King, who brings his blues-based trio to the festival, appreciates White's efforts at building the festival and nurturing musicians.

"There's a wealth of talent here that goes unnoticed. You have all these great musicians who play around the world, around the country, and they're toiling away doing their art and people don't recognize it."

King acknowledges fellow guitarist Ross Hammond (playing the WhiteNoise Festival with his Electropoetic Coffee project) along with White for creating musical events.

"I respect people like Harley and Ross. Those guys are musicians' musicians," King said. "It's an honor when a fellow musician asks you to play on his bill."

What: This all-day music festival, curated by Harley White, brings together a wide range of Northern California-based musical acts performing to benefit the Roberts Family Development Center in North Sacramento.

When: Noon to midnight Sunday

Where: The Torch Club, 904 15th St., Sacramento

Tickets: - Marcus Crowder Sacramento Bee


Discography

Albums
* 1993 Papa's Culture 'Papa's Culture but...' (Elektra Records
* 1995 Melvin Van Peebles 'Ghetto Gothic' (Capitol Records)
* 1998 Cake "Prolonging the Magic " (Volcano Records)
* 1998 Blackalicious 'Nia ' (Quannum Records)
* 2002 Blackalicious 'Blazing Arrows' (MCA/Universal)
* 2002 Ben Harper/Blackalicious 'Blazing Arrows' (MCA/Universal)
* 2004 Jose Montoya/Casindio "Locura Cura" (Royal Chicano Air Force)
* 2005 Faith Evans ' The First Lady' (Capitol)

Theatrical
* 1995 Uncle Bend's: An American Negro Narrative, Sacramento Theatre Company (actor, performer)
* 1999 'Live from Death Row: The Scottsboro Boys' by Mark Stein, Sacramento River Stage. (Composer, performer)
* 2009 Sizzling Sirens Burlesque Experience

Film/TV
"It's Going Down" for Universal Motion Picture release "Brown Sugar"
"Beautiful Dream" for UPN Television Show "Girlfriends"

Photos

Bio

“If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.”

 

Emile Zola, French novelist, playwright and writer

 

 

Pulitzer Prize-nominated musician and composer Harley White Jr. has been living life out loud, one note at a time, since the moment he picked up his first instrument – a violin –  at the daybreak of his youth.

 

Although the self-described “Bluesician” is best known as a virtuoso bassist, White, leader of the Harley White Jr. Orchestra, always had an eye for sounds –  and the mellifluous colors that span across each measure.

 

The Northern California-based instrumentalist’s talents recently earned him a 2015 Pulitzer Prize nomination as musical director of Mark Stein’s “Direct From Death Row, The Scottsboro Boys: An Evening of Vaudeville and Sorrow.”

 

That talent and musical dedication is now on display for the masses, as White and his band embark on their latest tour, highlighting the musical genius of past jazz giants like Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Louie Armstrong while constantly breaking artistic ground and traveling new frontiers with funk, Latin, cabaret and beyond.

 

“We’re not just a band, we’re a repertory company,” said White, describing his nine-member orchestra.

 

“We do historical pieces, and original pieces that I do. There was a long time when we only did music that was before the 1950s. Now with the passing of Prince, we have a book of music that’s funk oriented and we’re developing that. You have to be up on popular styles and also the past.”

 

“We play traditional music – but we don’t play it traditionally,” White emphasized. “We can’t do it better than Count Basie did it back then, we must do something new that reflects what we’re doing now.”

 

White’s recent Pulitzer nomination nod for his work on Direct From Death Row: The Scottsboro Boys is rooted in his early upbringing in the arts and theater, due to his mother’s work as a theater activist and gospel singer.

 

“Few kids can say they saw James Earl Jones do Fences at The Curran theater. I did and I was there, it was awesome,” White smiled. “My mom always had us in the mix with theater.”

 

White composed the music for Scottsboro Boys on piano, and also performed it live during its early run at Sacramento’s River Stage. The play later found a new life at Los Angeles’ Fountain Theatre, before moving on to massive acclaim at Chicago’s Raven Theatre and locations nationwide.

 

“(In Chicago) it just went crazy and that’s how we got the Pulitzer nomination,” said White. “I am not surprised that it resonated so much in Chicago because there is so much injustice in Chicago.”

 

White’s musical education also started during his formative years, having a father recognized in jazz circles as a bass player in his own right. White picked up violin in second grade, eventually moving onto trumpet and tuba.

 

At age 14 White picked up bass, and started playing local gigs in Northern California not long after that. By the early 1990s White’s funk-worldbeat band Papa’s Culture landed a record deal with Electra, leading to the band’s eponymous album.

 

“Papa’s Culture is definitely a producer’s record,” explained White. “We have a lot of sound bites, sitars and glockenspiels. We went crazy with all of the sonic things you can do. And a lot of people picked up on that.”

 

The success of the Papa’s Culture was followed by numerous opportunities for White, including numerous stints recording with hip-hop legends Blackalicious (Nia/Blazing Arrows 1998,2012), in addition to working with a wide variety of artists and writers in the industry including filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles (Ghetto Gothic, 1995), writer and former New Jersey poet laureate Amiri Baraka and R&B sensation Raphael Saadiq.

 

White has also worked with acts like Faith Evans, Ben Harper, Al Young, Will Alexander, Trio Casindio (Jose Montoya), Daisy Spot and Dr. Echo.

 

Plus, White has made a name for himself as a music teacher in Sacramento, teaching young people the fundamentals and history of jazz. He spearheaded Joe’s Style Shop” during the early 2000s – a venue that hosted workshops, exhibits and other artistic endeavors.

 

 


 


Band Members