Tony White is a multi instrumentalist who plays, Saxophones, Flutes, Clarinets, Piano, Bass, Guitar and a bit of Trombone too. You may not know his name yet but you may have heard his playing and or his original music as he has had the honor of playing with some of the top names in the music business and his original music can be heard in films and on television & online sources all over the world.
Tony grew up in the suburbs of New York City and comes from the same hometown as the famous, Jerry Seinfeld, actors the Baldwin Brothers and the infamous Amy Fisher Joey Buttafuco, Massapequa NY.
“The earliest sounds I remember hearing are Louis Armstrong’s Trumpet, Frank Sinatra’s voice and The Beatles. My father a drummer and a fine harmonica player had a tremendous influence on me along with his idols the greats of Jazz, Gene Krupa, Lionel Hampton,Buddy Rich, Charlie Parker, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman.
My mother listened to WNEW-AM all day playing the greatest vocalists and bands translating the Great American Songbook. Dad’s drums were always out at family gatherings and there were always jam sessions and sing alongs. Music was and still is the central thread in mine and my families lives. My brother is an accomplished Pianist & Vocalist who has toured the world and he currently teaches voice at NYU in New York City.”
It was at one of these family jam sessions he first heard a cousin, who had played in the Glenn Miller Band, play Dixieland Clarinet. Tony was sold and started studying Clarinet at a very early age. Showing a great proficiency for the instrument and collecting high honors and awards along the way he studied with his mentor and teacher the great Joseph Genna (who also taught the NY Philharmonics Stanley Drucker) up to his admission into The Berklee School of Music in Boston MA.
“At Berklee I was lucky to connect with some fellow musicians who have all gone on to great success, Guitarist Steve Vai (Frank Zappa), Saxophonist Branford Marsalis and Bassist, innovator, Michael Mannring. Michael was the bassist in the first group I first toured with out of Berklee.”
That groups name was Spectrum. Spectrum went onto being an opening act for the singer BJ Thomas, Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head and the band Dr. Hook, Cover Of The Rolling Stone.
By the mid 80’s he relocated to Atlantic City NJ. There he co founded and led one of the town’s most sought after and successful acts “Cheers”. They won the prestigious “Lounge Act of the Year” in consecutive years, as voted by Atlantic City Magazine.
During this time Tony was musical director for many acts coming in and out of town. He was asked on numerous occasions to contract bands for corporate events and incoming acts and did so for the likes of The Sands Hotel, The Tropicana Hotel, Harrah’s Hotel and Casino and many others. He also cofounded one of the areas busiest horn sections called “The Allied Horn’s” The horn section has performed and or recorded with: The Temptations, David Ruffin Eddie Kendricks and Dennis Edwards, The 4 Tops, Tony Bennet, Billy Preston, Lanie Kazan, Franki Valli, Tom Jones, Little Anthony, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Wilson Pickett Ben E. King, Al Green, The Platter’s, Bobby Rydell, Frankie Avalon, Danny and The Juniors, Duke Daniels (The Platters) The Coasters, The Drifters, The Marvelettes Martha and the Vandellas, etc….
As a result of these collaborations two things happened in Tony’s career that have had a long lasting effect on his life.
He became a touring member of the Alternative Pop group 10,000 Maniacs which featured lead singer Natalie Merchant and he also became musical director for the group The Dovell’s, The Bristol Stomp, You Can’t Sit Down. His association with The Dovell’s led to Tony jamming with PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON on two separate occasions, he has also played with the President’s brother, Roger Clinton, but more on that in a bit.
“The first time we played with PRESIDENT CLINTON was at Garden State Park in Cherry Hill NJ. It was his last rally the night before his first election to the Presidency. I was told to bring an extra sax in the event the then Governor wanted to sit in and jam with us. Well not only did he jam with us he played my Tenor Sax with my mouthpiece and reed. The coverage of this was world wide and we were on every television network within hours. Photos of this event with me jamming along the future President appeared on the front page of the Sunday The New York Times, The NY Post, USA Today, Newsweek, and many other national publications. It was surreal and he could not have been more kind. His love for music is deep and he said that if he hadn’t run for Political offices he wanted to study the Saxophone in Paris”
Within the next month Tony was on the road with 10,000 Maniacs. By January of the following year 10,000 Maniacs was asked to appear on MTV’s Inaugural Ball after the election of President Clinton. Tony’s arrangement of To Sir With Love, sung by Natalie Merchant and R.E.M’s Michael Stipe, was one of the featured tunes that night. The arrangement was later released on CD to benefit the Rock The Vote Campaign.
Coincidentally Tony also played with En Vogue that evening featuring the President’s brother Roger Clinton singing Sam Cooke’s A Change is Gonna Come. After his TV performance that evening Tony went to play with The Dovells at The Great Southern Ball again jamming with President Clinton.
“He remembered us and even showed me he had purchased the same mouthpiece as mine as he said how he loved playing on it. It was an incredible experience to be standing next to the leader of the free world and in those moments we were just two saxophonists enjoying the beauty of making music together, something I will never forget”
Tony’s association with 10,000 Maniacs stands to this day and from this he has had the opportunity to play with many of the top names in the music business including Paul McCartney, The WallFlowers, World Party, Zap Mama, Burning Spear, Robyn Hitchcock, Michael Stipe (R.E.M.), Kenny Loggins, Paula Abdul, etc..
His TV appearances include The Today Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, The Arsenio Hall Show, MTV Drops The Ball, Soundstage, MTV’s Inaugural Ball.
He has performed on the World’s most prestigious stages including, Madison Square Garden, The Hollywood Bowl, Avery Fisher Hall, Red Rocks CO, The Chicago Theatre, Teatro Ciak Milan IT, Giuseppi Verdi Theatre Torino IT. He has played on Broadway playing the Billy Joel Twyla Tharp collaboration called Movin Out.
Tony has released numerous CD’s through the years which have garnered rave reviews from publications like Jazz Times Magazine, Jazziz, and many others.
“In early 2000 I moved to Los Angeles to study film composition and did so at UCLA. The lessons I learned and the friends I made there are invaluable and will be with me always. I had the great honor of scoring the film called “BUS STOP” which has appeared at festivals world wide. I have also scored numerous TV shows and my original music can be heard on these TV programs The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, The Steve Harvey Show, WWF Divas, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, The Diesel Brothers, American Pickers, Pawn Stars, Jeff Ross Presents, Double Divas, Ru Pauls Drag Race, etc…”
“Music is the universal language and the one thing, like Love, that we can all share as a common experience. I hope everyone in my audience feels my experiences and my influences through my music and I also hope they feel like they know me a little bit better.”
Tony is a nature lover and as he puts it “ A decent cook” and he continues to write and record in his studio, performing live and sharing his love of music with the world. His musical influences are wide and varied and are reflected in his playing and writing.