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October 26, 2008
Sacramento Single: Harley White Jr Orchestra's "Autumn Returns"

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With a pedigree that includes Papa's Culture, Seventy and the Original Heads, Harley White Jr.'s been making music in Sacramento for years now, playing everything from jazz and hip-hop to rock.

These days, White's concentrating on jazz but still wearing many musical hats as the songwriter, arranger, stand-up bassist and leader for his big band-styled Harley White Jr. Orchestra.

"Doing the big band - it really covers everything I want to do," White says. "It allows me to do all those things that I'm interested in doing."

And what interests him, White says, is incorporating all of his musical loves - pop, jazz, hip-hop, rock, swing, etc - into one cohesive sound.

White finds inspiration in two music greats.

"Duke Ellington and Quincy Jones are my ideal musicians," he says. "They have hubris - they see the whole picture."

As such, White says he has no plans to release a CD version of his big band work.

"To release a big band record that sounds like a big band record? I wouldn't do it when Duke Ellington's already done it so perfectly," he says. "Those guys were on the road 200 nights out of the year and the music they play sounds like it - it was done so perfectly."

Fans can, however, find the Harley White Jr. Orchestra online as White turns to the Web to release experimental versions of his music. Check out one of those tracks, "Autumn Returns" at sacramentosingle.

Harley White Jr. Orchestra

Song: "Autumn Returns"

Style: Ethereal, dubbed-out jazz

Behind the song: "This a Harley White Jr. Orchestra song remixed by the Original Heads," White says. "I went into the studio with producer William Prince and we started with a regular square mix - like what you'd hear the band do at a show - and then dubbed it out.

"Dub (music) is what happens when you strip things out - it's about the (concept of) less is more."

Here, less is more means taking out some sounds while giving new life to others.

"You start with a bare bones skeletal mix and then add reverb and delays," he says. "It's about making the music more spooky and ethereal. "For example, there's a horn sound that, in the original version of the song goes "pow!"

Then, White says, lowering his voice to a whisper, "when you dub it out for the remix, it sounds like 'pow, pow, pow."

"It's about finding the subconsciousness of the song."

See them: Friday at the Distillery (2107 L St, Sacramento ) with the C.U.F. and Red Tape; the 21-and-over show starts at 10 p.m. and is $7 at the door.

Or, Nov. 11 the HWJO plays World War II-era music at a Veteran's Day party at Club 21 (1119 21st St, Sacramento). Patrons are encouraged to dress up in their best '40s finery. Admission is $10 and the music start at 9 p.m.

On the Web:

Listen to "Autumn Returns" here:

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