The last drummer hired to play with the Duke Ellington Orchestra during the leader's lifetime, White stayed with the band after Duke's death in 1974, playing first under the leadership of Mercer Ellington, then--following Mercer's death--Duke's grandson Paul Ellington. White studied music at Texas Southern University in the early ‘70s. Ellington hired him right out of college in 1973 as part of an infusion of young players known within the band as "The Mod Squad." White was on hand for the 1973 recording of Duke Ellington's Third Sacred Concert, and recorded several albums with the band after Mercer took over, including the soundtracks to the film "The Fabulous Baker Boys" and the Broadway show "Sophisticated Ladies.". By the late ‘90s White had also become the band's road manager.
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