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JWhite's debut CD “Melodies for My Heart,” released at a Sept. 8 party featuring 220 Live and Tawanna Campbell at the Legions Club in Little Rock, showcases his up-tempo, smooth jazz and R&B sound.
The Detroit native has been playing for 15 years, studying with the late Emil Acitelli and performing with the Wind Symphony and Jazz Ensemble in his youth. Upon graduation from Thurston High School, he was presented the prestigious Louis Armstrong Award. Shortly thereafter, JWhite was offered a music scholarship at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
While at UAPB, he performed with the Marching Band and Wind Symphony and toured with the Jazz Ensemble under the direction of the late Odie Burrus. He also became a regular at local jazz clubs and other venues with the Too Hot N' Demand Band. He graduated in 2004 with a degree in music.
JWhite has an amazing saxophone sound that can hang with renowned jazz cats like Najee, David Sandborn, Kirk Whalum, Walter Beasley, Boney James and the late Grover Washington Jr. This cat's CD definitely shows that he has nothing but class with his music.
His mastery of the saxophone will alternately mellow listeners out and compel them to get up on their feet and jam to the music. CD highlights include “Motown Funk,” on which JWhite salutes the Motown sound with a remarkable alto and soprano sax combination, and “Relaxation,” sure to soothe a listener's mind, body and soul with Josh Jackson's acoustic guitar and Rod Cole's amazing background vocals.
JWhite does a notable job on Freddie Jackson's “Jam Tonight,” as does vocalist Keia Johnson. A memorable cover of Chaka Khan's “Through the Fire” features the sultry vocals of Johnson, followed by JWhite on sax. On Benny Golson's song “Killer Joe,” the saxophonist shows his jazz side, while “Mr. Magic Jr.” is a magnificent tribute to the late Washington.
JWhite is going places.
— Renarda Williams