RIP MAURICE & NATALIE
#blues2jazzguy posted by Robert J. Carmack
The founder of soul group Earth, Wind & Fire, Maurice White, has died in his sleep early Thursday morning, his brother, Verdine stated emotionally. White, 74, died from complications brought on by Parkinson’s Disease.
His band had a series of hits including Reasons,September, Boogie Wonderland, Shining Star and After the Love has Gone. The singer-songwriter was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1992 but his condition was reported to have become worse in recent months. Earth, Wind & Fire were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, and Maurice was individually inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010.
“Reese”, as those that worked with him called him, worked with various well-known recording artists such as The Emotions, Deniece Williams, Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond to name a few. Earth, Wind & Fire have sold more than 90 million albums worldwide.Many of which was under his production leadership.
As a big fan of EWF when they first hit Los Angeles where this writer resides, They were a very strong Jazz-influenced ensemble, fronting strong local LA based musicians and vocalists such as Roland Bautista, Wade Flemmons, Jessica Cleaves, Sherry Scott, Sonny Emory, Johnny Graham, Leslie Drayton to name a few. Many of us college students at the time would flock the outdoor concerts of LA in the 70s to catch Early days of big band battles with EWF, WAR, Mandrill,for bragging rights in the city.Maurice was a big part of the Hip, swagger of a bell-bottomed brother with the cool afro and bright colored outfits belting out love songs and funk, He did “Not Look” like all the “so called pretty boy crooners” of the era.
Before anyone knew it Maurice and his influence in style , approach, vision had taken over.. spinning off other acts too like, The Emotions & Denice Williams, under the umbrella of Kalimba Productions. BOY, are we really going to miss “Reese” and his fingerprints on the music quality.. Thats for sure.
A founder of the supergroup Earth, Wind & Fire, singer, drummer, songwriter and producer Maurice White is known for his stagecraft and inventive compositions
Early Life and Career
Singer, songwriter, producer and percussionist Maurice “Reese” White was born on December 19, 1941, in Memphis, Tennessee. After studying at the Chicago Conservatory of Music, he found work in 1963 as a session drummer for Chess Records. Four years later, he began playing with the Ramsey Lewis Trio. In 1969, he formed his own band in Chicago, which was called the Salty Peppers.
Earth, Wind & Fire
After a move to Los Angeles, White renamed his band as Earth, Wind & Fire (the name was a nod to his astrological chart, which had no water signs). He also invited his younger brother, bassist Verdine, to join the group. When their first albums didn’t break out, White shuffled the band’s members. Newcomers included singer Philip Bailey and keyboardist Larry Dunn; guitarist Al McKay became a band mate as well.
Along with its revamped membership—only White and Verdine were holdovers from the group’s first incarnation—Earth, Wind & Fire’s music changed. The band began mixing jazz, R&B, funk, soul and pop music. They also used African sounds, such as White playing the kalimba (an African thumb piano). With a new style and a new record label, Earth, Wind & Fire’s album Head to the Sky (1973) sold more than 500,000 copies. The group proceeded to put out a succession of gold and platinum albums throughout the 1970s and early ’80s.
Many of the band’s hit songs were ones that White helped compose, such as “Shining Star,” “September” and “Let’s Groove.” White won six Grammys with Earth, Wind & Fire, and received an award of his own for arranging “Got To Get You Into My Life.” As a musician and vocalist, White also participated in the group’s spectacular concerts, which featured exotic touches such as pyramids and disappearing acts.
Though he spent time on outside projects—such as an album for Deniece Williams—White remained with Earth, Wind & Fire until the band took a four-year break from 1983 to 1987. After reuniting, White toured with the group until 1995. Though he stopped touring, he continued to work with Earth, Wind & Fire as a producer and songwriter. He was also with the band for its 2000 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.