Lenny White

Streamline

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Lenny White's 1977 recording The Adventures of Astral Pirates was an incredibly tough act to follow -- so tough, in fact, that anything less than a five-star gem was likely to seem a bit disappointing. Streamline, the 1978 LP that came right after The Adventures of Astral Pirates, isn't a five-star gem, but it isn't bad either. Although not in a class with The Adventures of Astral Pirates or 1975's Venusian Summer, let alone White's work with Return to Forever, Streamline is a generally decent, if mildly uneven, collection of instrumental jazz fusion and R&B vocal numbers. While this album (which White produced with Earth, Wind & Fire keyboardist Larry Dunn) isn't as R&B-oriented as White's Twennynine projects would be, the drummer is obviously going after R&B audiences on "Time" (a somewhat Earth, Wind & Fire-ish funk item) and an interesting cover of the Beatles' "Lady Madonna" (which features soul goddess Chaka Khan). But there is also plenty of fusion, and instrumentals like "Night Games," "Struttin'," and the Brazilian-influenced "Pooh Bear" are enjoyable even though they fall short of the brilliance of the material on The Adventures of Astral Pirates and Venusian Summer. While Streamline isn't among White's essential albums, it's a likable set.

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