Renderers of the Spirit
Famous for his work with Miles Davis, Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke, among others, drummer Lenny White knows that timing and space can have as much meaning as the notes. His Renderers of the Spirit (Hip Bop Records HIBD 8014; 62:12) runs the gamut from cornered hip-hop percussive ("Ho-Cake," featuring stuttering, bizarre moog effects by George Duke) to knuckleball fusion grooves ("Pick Pocket"), but maintains a bracing effect throughout by way of sensitive dynamics, memorable melodies and White's rock-solid, anchoring drums. White, who also produces, solicits fine supporting performances as well, like Dean Brown's raw, squishy guitar work on "Whew! What a Dream," and Michael Brecker's mournful sax melody on "The Abyss," which adds to the piece's feeling of a slow walk downhill. Equally inventive is a dark-toned arrangement of the classic Dionne Warwick hit, "Walk On By" (given a tough-and-tender vocal read by Audrey Northington), which is further evidence of White's talent for finding a song's emotional nuance.