Chris White is a saxophone player from UK with his own unique musical style. His tone is clear, independent, so easy recognizable and pure. He was originally a jazz-saxophonist. But he is superb as well in the Rock'n'Roll, in the Blues and in the Pop...He influenced so many songs and live performances with his touching and tender sax-sound and he gave the best of his soul and strong spirit in the way which only he could do. Chris played one of the most beautiful saxophone solos in a love song ever - this one of Romeo and Juliet, a wonderful song, written by Mark Knopfler. And he inspired so much to this song, composed originally without a saxophone part. Everybody may remember also his live performance on Your Latest Trick - a renowned song, of the most famous Dire Straits' album, Brothers In Arms.
Chris was born in Bristol (UK) on the 13th of July 1955. He was connected with the music from his early childhood. In the same time he also liked to swim and should really have been an Olympic swimmer. At thirteen, he discovered the saxophone, having seen someone playing the instrument on TV and suddenly the pool had lost its allure. He took charge of an old sax he found in a cupboard at school and devoted himself to practice. Two years later, his teacher, a semi-professional, was giving him the gigs he couldn't do. The saxes he has got are Selmer. When Chris was 15 he bought the alto new with money he borrowed from his father. He bought the tenor old when he was 17. He has never bought any others, always used these two. So, from the beginning of his career and quite young, Chris was knewing very well what he had to create. His favourite sax player was Charlie Parker and later he was also inspired by John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley and some of the new, contemporary, sax players.
During his Pre - Dire Straits period he was playing in the National Youth Jazz Orchestra and was touring with other musicians and singers like France Gall (there are pictures on the gallery page).
Chris White joined Dire Straits for their last two biggest tours - Brothers In Arms Tour (1985-1986) and On Every Street Tour (1991-1992). On the 13th of July 1985 - his 30th Birthday - he played on the great Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium and also on Dire Strait's Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Concert on the 11th of June 1988 with Eric Clapton ( Chris played on Sultans Of Swing, Romeo and Juliet and Solid Rock). He was the guy with the very dodgy haircut and pink suit in the Wembley Arena Dire Straits' video ( on 10th of July 1985 ), broadcasted by so many TV's all over the world. On 11th of October 1985, in New York, he played along with David Sanborn, one of the most famous saxophone players in the world and that was a big challenge for the so young for the moment Chris (thirty years old). During the same tour he was playing on some Paul Young's songs ( Paul was a guest in one Dire Straits' concert) and also with Hank B. Marvin, Eric Clapton and Nils Lofgren. The sax solo in the end of Why Worry was awesome - Chris was playing it in the autumn's part of the tour.
Then came the last Dire Straits' Tour - On Every Street - in 1991-1992. He influenced so many of the new Mark's songs, like Planet of New Orleans, The Bug, On Every Street , Fade To Black, I Think I Love You Too Much, The Long Highway. Some of the old songs, like Romeo and Juliet, Sultans of Swing, Two Young Lovers and Solid Rock were played in different way by him. There were included a saxophone parts also in other old songs, like Portobello Belle, Telegraph Road, Private Investigations. And Chris was brilliant as always. Some of them were included on the live CD/DVD On The Night. The interaction between the guitar and the saxophone on Sultans of Swing was stunning on both tours and it will be remembered forever.
In May 1990 Chris joined The Notting Hillbillies ( They were Mark Knopfler, Steve Phillips, Brendan Croker,Guy Fletcher, Marcus Cliffe and Ed Bicknell ). Chris got up and played at some of their London shows which was a lot of fun –he hadn't rehearsed at all - told Liz Whatley, Ed Bicknell's former assistant ( Ed was the manager of Dire Straits) and she supplemented "could you tell???". What a beautiful saxophone solo he blowed on Rainy, Rainy Day! It was an old blues song, written by Brownie Mcghee and sung by Mark Knopfler on these shows.
One year later - in May 1991 - was published Chris White's first solo album "Shadowdance", produced by Danny Schogger. The album includes 11 brilliant saxophone tracks, played by musicians like Mark Knopfler (guitar), Hugh Burns (guitar), Danny Schogger (keyboards), Gary Husband (drums), Pino Palladino (bass), Felix Krish (bass), Danny Cummings (percussion), Sam Brown (backing vocal) etc. All tracks were composed and performed by Chris himself and it showed his superb talent completely...
Because of the motor-bike accident in the end of 1993 Chris couldn't go on tour with Pink Floyd for their last Division Bell Tour.
In 1999 he joined The Notting Hillbillies again for the all their gigs at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London. And he proved one more time how much his saxophone style is suitables to Mark Knopfler guitar playing on different songs - country, blues, rock'n'roll...That was repeated in 2002 for the Four Charity Gigs - Mark Knopfler& Friends. The gigs were built in two parts - the first one with The Notting Hillbillies's songs and the second one with Dire Straits's and some of Mark's solo songs.
Over the years Chris has collaborated with many artists. He has at one time or other worked with people such as Robbie Williams, Paul McCartney, Chris DeBurgh, Mick Jagger,Tom Jones, Randy Crawford, Joe Cocker, Hugh Burns, David Knopfler, John Illsley,Nick Heyward, Justin Hayward; with some bands, like Mezzoforte, Wet Wet Wet, Morcheeba, Deacon Blue, The The; with some French musicians - France Gall, Sylvain Stabile, Alain Souchon; with some Italian musicians too - Pino Daniele, Mariella Nava; with the famous Polish singer Anita Lipnicka etc etc. An especially productive is his collaboration with Danny Schogger, Steve Sidwell (they played together in so many albums and concerts), Hugh Burns. He's just done sessions for hundreds of people - the list is so long and will be very hard to finish it without to forget somebody very important as well....
The producer of the Morcheeba's first single "Rome Wasn't Built In A Day" - Pete Norris told a story about Chris : "The song's brass parts were played by London session men Steve Sidwell (trumpet) and Chris White (tenor and baritone saxophone). "We use what, as far as I can tell, is the standard way of explaining brass parts, where it's us going 'Da da da daaaa' and they go 'We know what you mean'. We build that on the 2-inch machine as always. The brass in the chorus was built in harmonies and bounced together. Effectively I'm taking one saxophone and one trumpet part at a time. We continue overdubbing until we get the fatness and texture that it needs. The ridiculously loud bit of sax at the end we put in for a laugh. We asked Chris to do some mental saxophone as the fade comes, so he blasted at the end. I don't think wanted us to put that in - he was offering to do it again."
Chris White played on the brass section ( saxophone and flute) on so many Robbie Williams's concerts and tours between 1999-2003. The most famous were Knebworth- 2003 (DVD), Slane Castle-1999, Robbie Williams Show- 2003( DVD), Live in Royal Albert Hall - 2001 (DVD). In the brass were included ( besides Chris ) so famous musicians like Steve Sidwell (trumpet), Paul Spong (trumpet), Simon Gardner (trumpet), Dave Bishop (saxophone, flute) and J. Neil Sidwell (trombone). The most popular songs with the brass were Kids ( with special guest Kylie Minogue for some concerts), Let Me Entertain You, Let Love Be Your Energy, Strong, Hot Fudge, Rock DJ, No Regrets and many others.
In 2004 Chris was invited to join Pensa Day in Orvieto, Italy. He was a guest on some concerts in Italy with Marco Caviglia and Solid Rock TB in November 2004 and for the Brothers In Arms 20th Anniversary in May 2005. For more details see "On Tour" page. He was also a special guest on two benefit concerts run by Amnesty International and supported by Mark Knopfler, his Management and MKNews ( Terry Kilburn ). The concerts took place in Velletri ( Italy) on 16th and 17th of February 2007.
Over the years Chris White has played on so many charity concerts for institutions large and small. Some of them were - Live Aid - 1985; Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Concert - 1988 ( both at Wembley Stadium);The Final OZ Concert 1986 - Sydney, Australia; Life Education Charity - Egham, UK - May 1989; The Four Charity Gigs in 2002 with Mark Knopfler etc. etc.
On 1st of July 2007 Chris played with Tom Jones and Bryan Ferry at the Concert for Diana . It was a concert held at the new Wembley Stadium in London, England, United Kingdom in honour of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, which would have been her 46th birthday. 2007 is also the 10th anniversary of her death. The concert was hosted by Diana's sons, Prince William and Prince Harry .