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Michael White

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Information about Michael White

Profile image of Michael White

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Jazz Musician
Music Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Hamburgers
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Southern France, Coastal Japan, Norwegian Fjords
Favorite Quote:
A Friend In Need Is A Friend Indeed.

Birthplace

Born:
11/29/1954
Birth Location:
New Orleans, Louisiana

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Jazz Musician
Music Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Hamburgers
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Southern France, Coastal Japan, Norwegian Fjords
Favorite Quote:
A Friend In Need Is A Friend Indeed.

Birthplace

Born:
11/29/1954
Birth Location:
New Orleans
See how Michael White is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Music professor and jazz musician Michael White was born on November 29, 1954 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Descended from early jazz notables such as bassist Papa John Joseph and clarinetist Willie “Kaiser” Joseph, White did not know of his background, but saw his aunt, who played classical clarinet, as his influence. White too played clarinet in the noted St. Augustine’s High School Marching Band and took private lessons from the band’s esteemed director, Lionel Hampton, for three years.

White balanced school with his interest in the clarinet. He went on to obtain his B.A. degree from Xavier University in 1976 and his M.A. degree in Spanish from Tulane University in 1979. That same year, White joined the Young Tuxedo Brass Band, and two years later, White founded The Original Liberty Jazz Band with the aim of preserving the musical heritage of New Orleans. In 1984, White earned his Ph.D. degree in Spanish from Tulane University and began teaching Spanish and African American music at Xavier University. Around this time, White started collaborating with jazz great Wynton Marsalis; in 1989, White was featured on Wynton Marsalis’ seminal recording, Majesty of the Blues, and that same year, the two worked together on “A Tribute to Jelly Roll Morton,” performed at New York’s Lincoln Center, in which White served as musical director.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. White was living in a one-story home in the Gentilly district of New Orleans, near the London Avenue Canal, and his home was destroyed by the flooding. White was a collector of jazz artifacts and history, but lost all thirty years of jazz memorabilia in the flooding, including interviews of early jazzmen, a clarinet mouthpiece that once belonged to Sidney Bechet, approximately 9000 records and CDs, and a collection of over five dozen vintage clarinets. Still, White embraced jazz’s spirit of improvisation and released his most recent album, Blue Cresent, in 2008, which consists of mainly original compositions and was met with critical acclaim.

The recipient of a 2008 National Heritage Fellowship Award from the National Endowment of the Arts, White has performed at Carnegie Hall and the Newport Jazz Festival. In 1987, the French Government bestowed upon White the rank of Chevalier of Arts and Letters. As a resident artist at the Lincoln Center, White has served as musical director for several of their concerts, including 1992’s Blue Clarinet Stomp and 1994’s Cornet Kings Before Armstrong. White serves as Commissioner of the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park, sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Interior, and in 2002 he was appointed as the first incumbent of the Rosa and Charles Keller Endowed Chair in the Humanities at Xavier University. Most recently, in 2010, White was named Humanist of the Year by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.

Michael White was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 7, 2010.

See how Michael White is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Michael White's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Michael White lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Michael White describes his mother's upbringing in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Michael White talks about his mother's education and career
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Michael White recalls his relationship with his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Michael White talks about Papa John Joseph
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Michael White talks about the early recordings of New Orleans jazz music
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Michael White talks about his maternal family's musical background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Michael White describes his maternal grandparents
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Michael White recalls his maternal grandmother's candy making business, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Michael White recalls his maternal grandmother's candy making business, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Michael White describes his maternal aunt's musicianship
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Michael White recalls his early musical experiences in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Michael White talks about his father's background
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Michael White remembers his father's organizational activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Michael White recalls his parents' involvement in the Knights of Peter Claver
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Michael White talks about how his parents met
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Michael White describes his earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Michael White describes his community in the 9th Ward of New Orleans, Louisiana, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Michael White describes his community in the 9th Ward of New Orleans, Louisiana, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Michael White describes the sights and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Michael White remembers Morgus the Magnificent
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Michael White desvribes his early education
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Michael White describes his early personality
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Michael White remembers his early awareness of race, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Michael White remembers his early awareness of race, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Michael White talks about the Creole identity, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Michael White describes the placage system
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Michael White talks about the Creole identity, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Michael White describes his experiences of discrimination in the majority-white Carrollton neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Michael White describes his experiences of discrimination in the majority-white Carrollton neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Michael White talks about his sister
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Michael White remembers his paternal grandfather
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Michael White describes his Catholic schooling in New Orleans, Louisiana, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Michael White describes his Catholic schooling in New Orleans, Louisiana, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Michael White remembers Hurricane Betsy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Michael White remembers learning to play the clarinet
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Michael White describes St. Augustine High School in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Michael White describes his early musical instruction
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Michael White recalls playing with the St. Augustine High School Marching 100, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Michael White recalls playing with the St. Augustine High School Marching 100, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Michael White remembers his early interest in jazz
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Michael White remembers his high school instruction in Spanish
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Michael White recalls his decision to study Spanish
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Michael White recalls his start at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Michael White remembers Xavier University of Louisiana
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Michael White recalls his professors at Xavier University of Louisiana
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Michael White talks about his exposure to New Orleans jazz
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Michael White remembers joining Ernest "Doc" Paulin's brass band
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Michael White remembers meeting Danny Barker
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Michael White talks about the social aid and pleasure clubs of New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Michael White describes the jazz funeral tradition
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Michael White demonstrates the clarinet's role in a jazz funeral
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Michael White describes the conclusion of a jazz funeral
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Michael White remembers his early gigs with Ernest "Doc" Paulin's band
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Michael White recalls the musicians in Ernest "Doc" Paulin's band
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Michael White reflects upon the evolution of the New Orleans jazz community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Michael White talks about the significance of social aid and pleasure club parades
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Michael White describes the structure of a social aid and pleasure club parade, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Michael White describes the structure of a social aid and pleasure club parade, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Michael White talks about the origin of jazz in New Orleans, Louisiana, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Michael White talks about the history of jazz, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Michael White characterizes the jazz style of New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Michael White talks about the history of jazz, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Michael White differentiates New Orleans jazz from Dixieland music
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Michael White recalls his decision to leave Ernest "Doc" Paulin's band
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Michael White remembers playing with smaller jazz bands
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Michael White talks about jazz musicians of New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Michael White remembers his rendition of 'Burgundy Street Blues'
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Michael White remembers his introduction to New Orleans' jazz scene
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Michael White describes his membership in the American Federation of Musicians Local 174-496
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Michael White describes the generations of New Orleans jazz musicians, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Michael White describes the generations of New Orleans jazz musicians, pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Michael White talks about jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis' early popularity
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Michael White recalls Wynton Marsalis' resistance to playing New Orleans jazz
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Michael White talks about the influence of New Orleans jazz on Duke Ellington
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Michael White remembers recording 'The Majesty of the Blues'
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Michael White talks about playing at jazz festivals with Wynton Marsalis
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Michael White recalls his work as a musical director
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Michael White talks about his careers in academia and music
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Michael White remembers his first record, 'Shake It and Break It'
  • Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Michael White talks about forming the Original Liberty Jazz Band