Maurice White 1941-2016
When Maurice White told me that he’d deputised for the absent Elvin Jones with the John Coltrane Quartet at a Chicago jazz club called McKie’s in the early 1960s, I was as impressed as I’d been by anything Earth, Wind & Fire had played at the OMNI arena in Atlanta the previous night.
It had been quite a gig, however, full of smoke and mirrors — the musicians materialising in transparent perspex tubes which had descended from above, and dematerialising as they made their departure, and the bass-guitarist (Verdine White, Maurice’s brother) levitating during his solo spot — with costumes from ancient Egypt, as well as red-hot playing. This was February 1978, and EW&F were the happening thing, to the extent that a bunch of journalists had been flown from Europe to witness their show.
Maurice hadn’t touched a drum throughout the set, but during the interview at their hotel the next morning that’s what I got…
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