b. 4 June 1937, Litchfield, Connecticut, USA. When aged only six, Whitecage played alto and tenor saxophones and clarinet in his father’s family band, and at 12 had his union card. He played in local dance bands before moving into jazz. During military service in 1955, he briefly met and played with Eric Dolphy, a meeting that made Whitecage determined to follow his own star. On his discharge and back in Connecticut, he explored improvised music, meanwhile surviving through studio and club gigs, including his first record date on vibraphonist Bobby Naughton’s Nature’s Consort and Understanding. Involved in New York City’s 60s improvised music and avant garde jazz scenes, Whitecage played with clarinettist Perry Robinson, through whom he met Gunter Hampel, beginning a decade-long association with Hampel’s Galaxie Dream Band. This took Whitecage on many trips to Europe, appearances on several records, including Angel and Journey To The Song Within. During this period, Whitecage also played in bass player Saheb Sarbib’s groups, and performed with Annette Peacock and Paul Bley, Jeanne Lee and with several experimental dance troupes.
In the 80s, Whitecage was involved in a number of Robinson’s projects, including Licorice Factory, and he also formed and led the Glass House Ensemble to create music for Bernard and François Baschet’s sound sculptures, performing in New York and in Europe. The 90s found Whitecage especially active in recording studios, regular associates including bass player Dominic Duval, drummer Jay Rosen, pianist Joseph Scianni and cellist Tomas Ulrich. From the mid-90s, Whitecage was occasionally reunited with Anthony Braxton, whom he had met in Hampel’s band, for performances in a quartet and as featured soloist in the opera, Trillium R. In 1999, he toured Europe with his experimental electronics band, Electro!. In the early 00s, Whitecage formed a duo, RoMarkable, with his wife, clarinettist Rozanne Levine, and he has also played and recorded as co-leader of the Nu Band, in duo with Michael Jefry Stevens, with Duval, and with Lee. Whitecage has played at festivals throughout the USA and also in France, Germany and Hungary. He has performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Recital Hall, Museum of Modern Art, and at several universities including Yale, Columbia, and Wesleyan.