Fred White, Drummer for Earth, Wind & Fire, Dies at 67 – The New York Times

Fred White, who as a drummer with Earth, Wind & Fire propelled some of the funkiest songs in pop history, helping to provide a soundtrack to the nation’s weddings, bar mitzvahs, high school reunions and any other function at which people of all ages dance, died on Sunday. He was 67.

His death was announced on Instagram by his brother Verdine White, the band’s bassist. The announcement did not say where he died or give the cause.

Fred White was a member of Earth, Wind & Fire during a pivotal period, from the mid-1970s to the early ’80s, when the group made much of its most beloved music. He played on “Let’s Groove,” “Boogie Wonderland,” “Shining Star” and “September,” which Spotify lists as having been played on its platform 1.18 billion times. The songs’ first few bars alone have long been known to move people to the dance floor.

Earth, Wind & Fire was founded and led by Fred and Verdine’s half brother, Maurice White. Though the band’s music was recognizable for its joyous horn section and smooth vocals, Maurice, in his 2016 memoir, “My Life with Earth, Wind & Fire,” described the group as “a band of drummers.”

Maurice himself had trained in the instrument, and it was not out of character for four percussionists to play all at once during Earth, Wind & Fire concerts. For two years, Fred White and Ralph Johnson both performed onstage with their own full drum kits.

“Fred was the brick wall,” Maurice White wrote in his memoir. “He provided a rock-solid tempo and a rock-solid feel, priceless qualities in a drummer. He was one of the best things going for us.”

Frederick Eugene Adams was born on Jan. 13, 1955, in Chicago. He shared a mother with Maurice, Edna (Parker) White, a homemaker. His father, Verdine Sr., was a podiatrist. Fred began playing the drums at 9. (Maurice called him a “child prodigy.”) Fred, like Verdine Jr., changed his surname to White so that it would be clearer that he was related to Maurice.

Fred grew up “in the ghetto in Chicago,” he told Modern Drummer magazine in 1982, and gained a sense of purpose from the drums. He began playing gigs about the age of 13. By 14, he was in a band that appeared in nightclubs. At 15, he was playing with the blues singer Donny Hathaway and making up excuses when he could not attend a session because of school.

After Fred toured with the rock band Little Feat, Maurice and Verdine decided that he had the chops to play with Earth, Wind & Fire. Fred was still a teenager.

In addition to Verdine, Mr. White’s survivors include a sister, Geri. Maurice White died in 2016 at 74. A complete list of survivors was not immediately available.</…….


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Google AI Tool Creates Music from Written Descriptions – VOA Learning English

This week, Google researchers published a paper describing results from an artificial intelligence (AI) tool built to create music.

The tool, called MusicLM, is not the first AI music tool to launch. But the examples Google provides demonstrate musical creative ability based on a limited set of descriptive words.

AI shows how complex computer systems have been trained to behave in human-like ways.

Tools like ChatGPT can quickly produce, or generate, written documents that compare well with the work by humans. ChatGPT and similar systems require powerful computers to operate complex machine-learning models. The San Francisco-based company OpenAI launched ChatGPT late…….


Bringing music to the masses… on a tram – BBC

French pianists, Hervé Billaut and Guillaume Coppola, brought a piano on to a tram in Nantes, as part of the opening of the annual La Folle Journée classical music festival.

They played to passengers all afternoon on Wednesday.

Mr Billaut said that they wanted to bring music to places you don’t expect it: “Perhaps someone, a child, a young person or a pensioner will have a musical shock.”