Earth Wind & Fire, from their beginnings in the 70’s until now, has been one of the top bands in the world of music, regardless of genre – and one of my all time favorites. I enjoyed the high level of musicianship, but especially the way they brought a spiritual element into their R+B and Pop hits. This was due to the leadership and sensibilities of founder, percussionist, sometime lead singer and bandleader Maurice White. Maurice, who I first saw playing drums as a member of jazz’s Ramsey Lewis Trio, sought to create a group that could play anything and reach people with a message of spiritual as well as earthly love.
When Maurice passed away in February of this year, music fans around the world were devastated, but word soon spread that his autobiography, what he called his “last album,” had been completed and would soon be released. I, among others, eagerly awaited it and placed my order; in fact pre-ordered it!
“Maurice White – My Life with Earth, Wind and Fire” (Amistad Books) written with Herb Powell, does not disappoint! Tracing Maurice’s life from his earliest memories, through the beginnings of his music career, to the conceptualizing and founding of his landmark band to his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, which ultimately took his life; this book offers insight into who this intensely private man really was and how his life shaped the music that was and is so influential. With an introduction by Steve Harvey and a foreword by musician, composer and producer David Foster, “Maurice White, etc” allows all of us to take the journey with “Toons,” as he was called by his close friends. In short, if you’re a fan, you need this book! I’m enjoying it thoroughly and learning a lot about one of my favorite musicians! I’m guessing that you will, too! Just sayin’!