By Thomas Semioli
Shining star indeed!
He anchors the ensemble named for the elements of our worldly existence. A showman, guru of the groove, Earth Wind & Fire bassist Verdine White incorporates his mastery of funk, soul, pop, rock, Gospel, rhythm & blues, disco and permutations thereof into an astonishing body of work.
Akin to Elvis, Miles, The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Babs Streisand, Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Prince, and Michael Jackson; EWF were among the rare class of artists who were not only the best of their generation, but also the most commercially successful.
A bassist who has inspired generations of players, White cites his heroes as session ace and EWF horn player Louis Satterfield (who was also his electric bass teacher), Sir Paul, and James Jamerson. Verdine studied upright with Radi Velah of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
A producer and composer, in addition to his tenure in EWF, White guested on slabs by Ramsey Lewis, Eumir Deodato, Jennifer Lopez, Kelly Clarkson, Flo Rida, Denice Williams, Gene Harris, and Solange to cite a select few.
White also created a foundation which bears his name to provide instruments and education to underserved youth.
Verdine was recognized by Bass Player magazine with a Lifetime Achievement Award and is listed among the 100 Greatest Bass Players of All Time. White’s primary weapon of choice during EWF’s glory years was the Fender Jazz bass. Nowadays Verdine works a Sadowsky Jazz, among other instruments.
Verdine White Sound & Vision…
“Serpentine Fire” https://youtu.be/XoI1XPqXQ90
“Keep Your Head to the Sky” https://youtu.be/qpD4siBSUOE
“Reasons” Live https://youtu.be/0Qz_b1di3i8
“Mighty Mighty” https://youtu.be/NKljHXYTRy0
White’s legendary solo from California Jam 1974 https://youtu.be/sJbZht9Jp94
Verdine’s “floating” bass solo: https://youtu.be/-iymKkfhL0E
Rare clip of Verdine working the Fender Precision “Fantasy” https://youtu.be/gL2MsEbrtgI
Tony Senatore Renders Verdine White:
“Yearnin’ Learnin’ https://youtu.be/H1Yn8i-d1dY
“Shinin’ Star” https://youtu.be/LKIb67U6-gA