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Dr. Michael White: Woods Shedding

Dr. Michael White

Clarinetist Dr. Michael White thoroughly knows and loves New Orleans. He’s been playing gigs around there for over 30 years and also is an endowed chair of African-American studies and Spanish at Xavier University. Nevertheless, Algiers, La., across the Mississippi River from the Crescent City, was a place he knew mostly through local folklore. That all changed when White got a request from his protege, clarinetist Ben Schenck (leader of the klezmer-oriented Panorama Jazz Band), and his wife-to-be, Ama Rogan.

“I was invited to play an original song for their wedding,” White says at a French Quarter restaurant, downing glasses of water after doing an in-store performance and CD signing. “I had not heard of A Studio in the Woods where the ceremony was at. When driving there, I was kind of mad, because it was so far out, and to go somewhere in the city limits that takes 40 minutes is unusual. But from the minute I turned into the woods, it was like being transformed into another space and time.”

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