Filled with layered, precise arrangements that jump off the speakers and cut straight to your soul, Lenny White's Edge (Hip Bop HIBD 8019; 60:40) is a great example of tearing down constricting genre borders and rebuilding from the ground up. Drummer White lays rock solid foundations for short-form artistic dramas like "Mr. DePriest," a hard-fusion walk spritzed with horns and set up by Bennie Maupin's dark bass clarinet. "Raiders in the Temple of Boom" builds a multi-layered, somewhat laid-back percussive foundation which peels back occasionally for hard-screaming lead figures to appear. White's group features the dual bass work of Victor Bailey and Foley, adding to the gritty foundation.
Two of the most memorable and surprising tracks here are covers. First, a stunning reworking of Led Zepplin's "Kashmir" which stings with soulful vocal harmony and bass. Then, just when you thought you'd heard it all, White offers up a darkly electronic, eerie take on "It Was a Very Good Year," with haunted synth strings stirring the mood for Diane Reeves' masterful vocal. This version owes more to Laurie Anderson than Frank Sinatra, and shows the outside-the-box thinking that sets Lenny White's edge out considerably further than many of his contemporaries'.