Joshua White came so highly recommended to Rudresh Mahanthappa that the celebrated saxophonist hired him for a European concert tour without having ever met—or even heard—the San Diego piano phenom. That was in late 2015, two years before the release of 13 Short Stories, White’s audacious, long-overdue leader debut on Fresh Sound Records.
“I’d been hearing about him from a few different sources, and I think Mark Dresser was the first to mention him to me,” Mahanthappa recalled recently. “I was intrigued that somebody Mark enjoyed playing with had also been a finalist in the  Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz competition [where White earned second place]. I was like, ‘Whoa! What planet is this guy from?’