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Brent White - Picking Up The Broken Toy

Brent White CD Cover

JULY 11th at 3pm
The CEC/Community Education Center
3500 Lancaster Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19104


One of the greatest achievements of the Philadelphia Jazz Project has been in the work to provide Philadelphia musicians with the opportunity and challenge to create new musical works. In our Mysterious Traveler Concert Series; a collaboration with the Free Library of Philadelphia, we provided musicians with a small commission and the great fortune to work with staff librarians to develop new musical works inspired by items from the library’s vast collections.


These collaborations produced many impressive new works. One of the most fascinating of these projects was created by trombonist, educator and composer, Brent White. Presented in October of 2016, The Broken Toy was a beautifully scored suite of music dedicated to all of the children who suffer emotional damage that makes them broken and unable to be part of healthy relationships. The project was inspired by the children's book, Knock Knock: My Dad's Dream for Me written by Daniel Beaty and illustrated by Bryan Collier. After quietly continuing the work on this emotionally rich, musical tale, Brent White is poised to release the The Broken Toy project as a CD.




Brent White 1

Philadelphia native Brent White received early training under the tutelage of trombonist Al Grey and Clifford Adams. White has toured the globe performing with the likes of Roy Ayers, John Legend, Kindred Family Soul, and Sun Ra Arkestra. He has been welcomed to the stage by Zap Mama, and has recorded in-studio for Patti Labelle. No stranger to Philadelphia and New York jazz scene, White has performed with Orrin Evan’s Captain Black Big Band, Harlem Renaissance Orchestra and the Fresh Cut Orchestra, among other ensembles.


A usual suspect at Ortleib’s Jazzhaus in Philadelphia, White has shared many sit-in sessions alongside the legendary Mickey Roker. “You got it...that sound!” Roker frequently commented on White’s ability play with such quality, moving between styles effortlessly. White’s diverse exposure, has allowed him to perform in musicals such as Ain’t Misbahavin,’ Rock & Soul, Rat Pack, and Burn the Floor. White’s training and experience have placed him in a position to continue to nurture his own recipe of good music that speaks honestly, emphasizes quality and is recognized as having a “good sound” evident to anyone who hears him play.


PJP caught up with trombonist, educator and composer Brent White and spoke with him about the new CD project and all of the upcoming activities connected with it.


PJP: What have you been up since your 2016 Mysterious Traveler Concert at the Free Library of Philadelphia?


Brent White: Since 2016, we’ve had two kids and have been through the pandemic. Both my wife, Lauren Putty White, and I are freelance artists. Having kids was an adjustment for us, and we decided to put our family before any touring situation. I had the opportunity to work at the Kimmel Center Education Program with Anthony Tidd. Now, I’m at Drexel University as a newly appointed Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Performing Arts. Over the course that time, I’ve focused on administration and family and I still made the time to perform with groups such as Orrin Evans and the Captain Black Big Band and Josh Lawrence and Color Theory. There has also been plenty of other local gigs that haven’t taken me away from my family. 


Brent White 2PJP: Can you briefly describe your vision and musical direction of your latest CD project?


Brent White: The vision for the Broken Toy CD project is to have the music bring awareness of the pain children suffer due to losing a parent to incarceration. I lost my father to imprisonment and did not meet him until I was around seven years old. My vision is to express mass incarceration’s effect on children through music. So honestly, the musical direction has not changed since its conception in 2016 to bring awareness of our country's prison problem. We only performed the music once, so the original vision and sentiment are musically intact—to spread the music and message to all who will listen.


PJP: How would you say that both you and the concept for this project have grown since we last experienced it?


Brent White: Musically, as a trombonist, I feel that I've grown as a musicain. I’m also a more mature person now because I'm the parent of two kids. Also, I’ve added my dancer wife, Lauren Putty White, to the project, so the project is now a family affair. I’d say it’s grown by three! There’s a powerful irony at work here: It's all in the reality that my daughter is now the same age as the children that I used to teach in 2016. So, I feel as if I can genuinely express the music through the eyes of little children. 

PJP: Who performs on this project with you?


Brent White: The recording features Orrin Evans — Piano/Rhodes, Luques Curtis — Bass, Josh Lawrence — Trumpet, Ian Macaulay — Guitar, Nazir Ebo – Drums, and my daughter Lorraine Elise White – sampled on the song, I Fear Intro. The folks are all friends that I consider family through various gigs. Ian and I performed with John Legend together and I always loved his sound. Josh and I went to the University of the Arts close to 20 years ago, and Josh pushed me to complete this project. I’ve known Orrin my whole life and Luques and Nazir are all from the Captain Black Big Band

PJP: If folks want to find out more about your CD, its release, or purchase it, how might they do that?


Brent White: Please go to my website: BRENTWHITEJAZZ,COM. All the information about the CD is there. The official CD release date is July 9th, 2021 and we also have an upcoming performance showcasing the music from CD at the CEC/Community Education Center on July 11th, 2021 at 3 pm. The CEC is located at 3500 Lancaster Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19104. So, come on out and join us.


PJP: Why Jazz? When you could be doing anything else, Why this music?


Brent White: Jazz is a mystery, (no pun intended) and I like the challenge of trying to figure out how to be like trombonist JJ Johnson. I love the music. 


Brent White


JULY 11th at 3pm
The CEC/Community Education Center
3500 Lancaster Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19104



You can keep up with Brent White's creative activities by checking him out on SOUNDCLOUD, INSTAGRAM, or via his WEBSITE.



You hear Brent White's's musical contributions work on this FREE Philadelphia Jazz Project Mixtape: MYSTERIOUS TRAVELER MIXTAPE.




Check Out Brent White In Action In These Videos:






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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the CultureWorks | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.


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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.