THE ICON: Michael White
THE LEGACY: Dr. Michael White was born into a musical family, tracing his interest in the clarinet to an aunt who played classical clarinet. So it was only natural for him to carry the torch as a member of the St. Augustine High School Marching Band, the Young Tuxedo Brass Band and a founder of the Original Liberty Jazz Band. But he’s not just a performer. He’s a musical preservationist. As someone lucky enough to have known — and heard — some of jazz’s earliest practitioners, White lets their stylings inform his performances, bringing their knowledge to contemporary audiences and, in the process, helping keep the sounds of traditional New Orleans jazz alive.
THE ARTIST: Sean Randall
THE INSPIRATION: “As a result of the civil rights movement, many black people wanted to abandon everything that came from our difficult history, including early jazz, which was often viewed as ‘Uncle Tom music’ or just an old remnant of a disturbing past. For some reason, I saw positive values, like strength, pride, and unity in the music. It was at the heart of our collective African-American creations in America that came to be enjoyed and shared by the entire world. For me, New Orleans jazz is a timeless expression of the universal human experience that will always remain fresh and musically valid.” — Michael White, writing in Jazz Archivist, a publication of Tulane University’s William Ransom Hogan Jazz Archive