Regarded as one of the top Soul, R&B, and Jazz-Funk groups—first known for the timeless instrumental hit “Pick Up the Pieces”—the Average White Band has distinguished itself thanks to its diverse songwriting and unique approach to rhythm & blues. With multiple gold and platinum albums, and three Grammy nominations on the legendary Atlantic label, they were the first Brits to simultaneously top the US Top 100 Singles, Albums and R&B charts, before going on to garner similar UK and international honors.
Ironically, given their Scottish roots, the six-piece took the instrumental cues of US Jazz giants Adderley, Hancock, Sample, Shorter & co., and the soulful influences of Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Al Green, and Stevie Wonder, et al., to create their own authentic R&B blend, which, with the tongue-in-cheek name, happily surprised both black and white audiences alike. This led to AWB’s early inclusion on Soul Train, and to their music being featured in movies like Swingers, Private Parts, Superman 2, Starsky & Hutch, etc., to name but a few standouts.
While ensuing singles, “Cut The Cake,” “Queen Of My Soul,” “Walk On By,” “Atlantic Avenue” and “Let’s Go Round Again” had major chart action around the world, album cuts such as “Schoolboy Crush,” “Person To Person” and “I’m The One” are still hailed as “essential” grooves. Fast-forward two decades, and AWB’s unlikely contribution to Hip-Hop, Rap, and modern R&B was sealed by the massive use of their samples, from Erik B & Rakim, through TLC, Ice-Cube, Tribe Called Quest, Leena
Conquest, P-Diddy, Mark Ronson et al. – right up to Rick Ross (Rich is Gangsta’). Throughout, ballads such as “A Love Of Your Own,” “Cloudy” and “If I Ever Lose This Heaven” would stand out as some of the finest soul tracks ever recorded.
AWB’s most recent release is 2018’s Inside Out, a collection of all new studio tracks and versions of AWB favorites recorded live with a five piece horn section.
The Average White Band – with Scots originals Alan Gorrie (vocals, bass, gtr.) and Onnie McIntyre (guitar) – alongside US heavies Freddy V. (tenor sax), Clif Lyons (alto sax), Rob Aries (keys, bass), Rocky Bryant (drums), and Brent Carter (vocals), continues its deserved place at the pinnacle of live soul & funk music to the delight of widely eclectic and multi-generational audiences everywhere