Detroit drummer Alexander White may have started like many other 2-year olds do, banging away on pots and pans, but the road between then and now has led him to captivate audiences around Detroit and the world with his lively interpretation of swing and groove.
On October 2nd White released his first original album “Ubuntu” with the Detroit Record Forge, which masterfully showcases a variety of styles and genres executed by some of the finest young musicians Detroit has to offer including De’Sean Jones, Rafael Statin, Ian Finkelstein, Sasha Kashperko, Ari Teitel, Marcus Elliot, Glenn Tucker, Ben Rolston, Jon Leavell, and more.
Alexander is yet another talent force to come from Marcus Belgrave’s renowned Civic Jazz Youth Ensemble, White’s earlier inspiration and musical education was fostered around fellow family musicians. He mastered the gospel style of drumming while playing at his grandfather’s church, but he also spent endless hours practicing to the music of Michael Jackson, Prince, Sly and the Family Stone, Fred Hammond, Motown Classics, and anything else he could wrap his ears around.
“Back then, if someone would have told me I couldn’t practice, I probably would have taken a bite out of them,” says the passionate drummer. “Practicing all those hours gave me a sense of purpose and destiny.”
Introduced to the Youth Ensemble by his cousin, cellist Cecilia Sharpe, he forged bonds that have lasted throughout the last decade of his young life. Later, he attended the Detroit School of Fine and Performing Arts and trained in the arts of classical percussion under Edward Quick.
As a teenager, White studied with other Detroit jazz greats that include Rodney Whitaker, Diego Rivera, John Douglas, Kris Johnson, Darrell Campbell, Jon Dixon, and several others who helped shape and mentor him into one of the city’s most creative young players.
“All of that music made me hungry to perform,” says White, whose influences such as Lawrence Williams, George Davison, and Karriem Riggins can be heard in his performances.
Now eagerly accepting the torch as part of the next generation of Detroit musicians, White is currently touring internationally with the James Carter Organ Trio. When he is not hitting the stage in Spain, France, Poland or Italy, he can be seen around town playing with various artists including De’Sean Jones and Knomadik, The Marcus Elliot Quartet, Rafael Statin, Sky Covington and Club Crescendo, Ralph Armstrong and Damon Warmack.