Andrew N White III

September 6, 1942November 11, 2020
Play Tribute Movie

Andrew White, a multi-instrumentalist, composer, musicologist, and entrepreneur who proudly styled himself the most voluminously productive self-industrialized musician in history died on November 11, 2020 at an assisted living facility in Silver Spring. He was 78.

Over 60 years, he built his reputation as a performer, complementing his robust slightly coarse tone on both alto and tenor saxophones with a boisterous persona, colorful wardrobe and extraordinary stamina.

In the larger jazz world, he was best known for his scholarship on jazz great John Coltrane, having transcribed and published 840 of his saxophone solos. Andrew was a formidable Coltrane interpreter himself.

Andrew also worked in musical settings at far ends of the formal spectrum. From 1968 om, he spent several years as a principal oboist for the American Ballet Theater -- at the same time that he played electric bass for Stevie Wonder, for the pop R&B group The Fifth Dimension, and on Weather Report's album Sweetnighter. Later in the 1970s he became a prolific composer and solo performer, producing and distributing nearly 50 albums through a self-owned and operated company, Andrew's Musical Enterprises, Inc.

Though he was born in Washington, D.C., Andrew Nathaniel White III grew up in Nashville, Tenn., and immersed himself in music. He returned to the nation's capital in 1960 to attend Howard University, where he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor's degree in music theory with a minor in oboe. He later studied at the Pairs Conservatory.

While a student at Howard, he formed the JFK Quintet -- which became the house band at the famed club Bohemian Caverns. The quintet would ultimately record two albums for Riverside Records.

After his tenures as classical oboist and pop bassist ended, he began building his jazz career in earnest. Between 1971 and '80, he self-produced and released 39 albums, and drew both a Washington fan base and an international cult following with his dense, often frenzied attack on alto and tenor. The sound leaned avant-garde, a la Coltrane, but White applied it with equal force to a hard-bop context, as on 1979's "Tearitup Tenor."

By the 1980s, Andrew was celebrated for his scholarship as his music. His 16 volumes of Coltrane transcriptions were well received by academics and Coltrane devotees. He worked as an adjunct professor at American University, lectured throughout the world, and published prolifically. He continued performing well into his 70s.

Andrew was preceded by his wife of 41 years, the former Jocelyne H.J. Uhl.

The legacy he leaves behind is tremendous. Along with his 48 albums, there are 1,200 transcriptions (John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Eric Dolphy, and himself); numerous videos; scholarly studies; and an 900-page autobiography, Everybody Loves the Sugar, among other writings. All told, the Andrew's Musical Enterprises catalog numbers some 3,000 products.

Andrew is survived by his 1st cousin William B. "Nikki" Covington, 2nd cousins Kellie (Abraham) Covington Castano, and Jordan N. Covington; two sister-in-laws Marylene Elvezi and Joelle Savin of France; many other family members in the US and France; close neighbors, and an extended family of friends, musicians, business associates, and fans.

Photo by Antoine Sanfuentes


Andrew N White III

have a memory or condolence to add?

Ronald Craighead

November 29, 2020

Andrew and I were in Miss Reed's Home room in our last year at Cameron High School. We had a lot of fun talking about the young ladies. He loved his SAX to no end. You can play for the #Creator # now buddy.


November 26, 2020

Goodbye "My bel Frère" Perfectionist, astonishing, charming, with an explosive personality, we have followed you with passion. Very positive, you were a hard worker. you enjoyed life to the fullest. Supported by your wife Jocelyne, you formed a shocking duo. We will never forget you. Love Your French family

Joyce Gregory

November 24, 2020

I too had the pleasure of having Mr Andew White III as my close neighbor and friend for more than 40 years. I will miss is infectious laughter and his many, many stories. Though I knew he was an incredible musician, he was also kind, sentimental and a great neighbor that I will dearly miss. Truly one of a kind...

Cybele Fiorello

November 24, 2020

My heart hurts
I miss them so much

Jerry Weldon

November 23, 2020

I had the great fortune to see & hear him in Philadelphia in ‘78 w Kenny Barron , Larry Ridley & Philly Joe Jones playing mostly the
Tadd Dameron repertoire... unforgettable.

his transcriptions were impeccable to say the least , what a legacy.

Rest in Power Andrew White

Craig Bright

November 21, 2020

I had the pleasure of working with Mr. White on his last project- John Coltrane's music for an all Saxophone Summit- A Love Supreme and 7 other Coltrane songs. Mr. White was coming to the San Francisco Bay Area to do some Jazz Workshops and to lead the all Saxophone Summit playing his music of John Coltrane. I have the music and I will work to get it played as Mr. White wanted to bring his music and his love of John Coltrane to the World. May you Rest in Peace with your Beloved wife. God Bless You... A Love Supreme.

Garland Pierce

November 20, 2020

November 20, 2020

Tribute to Mr. Andrew N. White III

Praise God! Praise God in God’s sanctuary; praise God in God’s mighty firmament!
Praise God with trumpet sound; praise God with lute and harp!
Let everything that breathes praise God! Praise God!

Psalm 150:1, 3, 6

To Mr. Covington, Family, Friends, and Fans of Mr. Andrew N. White III,

We greet you with Christ’s peace and the firm belief in his resurrection!

We mourn with you at Andrew’s passing and join you in celebrating his rich and colorful life. Rev. Dr. Andrew White, Jr. was a pivotal leader in the African Methodist Episcopal Church as he gave visionary leadership to the Department of Christian Education, which he headed for many years, with his wife, Mrs. Edith White, offering loyal support. In the 1960s, Dr. White was also instrumental in the Civil Rights struggles in Nashville, TN. Andrew III or “Sonny Boy” as he was known by some, inherited these qualities of visionary leadership, creativity, and discipline from his parents and he exercised them whole-heartedly and exuberantly in his musical vocation. Because of this, others have been enriched and inspired.

May we all find comfort, peace, and even joy in knowing that his life was one filled with melody, harmony, and improvisation. Now he joins his beloved, Jocelyne, his parents, family, and friends and now knows in the fullest and most joyful way A Love Supreme!
Please be assured that I am praying that peace and comfort may be yours in the days ahead. Our chair, Bishop David R. Daniels, and those in the teaching ministry of our church, especially the Music and Christian Arts Ministry, join with prayer and condolences at this time.

May Sonny Boy’s memory be eternal; and, may he rest in peace to rise in power and glory.

In prayerful sympathy

Reuben Jackson

November 20, 2020

I had the great honor and pleasure of working with Andrew during the course of a Composer-Librettist Workshop back in 1994. He was funny, brilliant, did i say funny? And the music he wrote? Wow.
I will miss his presence. His spirit... I miss it already...

Love always,

Reuben Jackson

Philippe Cote-Colisson

November 17, 2020

Adieu Andrew

Rob Holmes

November 17, 2020

Brilliant person, amazing musician, dynamic performer, and friend. Rest In Peace, Mr. White. It was such a pleasure to collaborate on two Zorrosax all-stars performances! I will always cherish the rehearsals in your basement and getting to hear all about your incredible life experiences as a musician. Thank you for your inspiration!