Release Date:
September 8, 2009

Reviewed by:
Woody Wilkins

If you’ve heard one of the hits by Scottish singer Al Stewart, then you’ve probably heard Peter White. Although the songs, by definition, are pop, White’s solos on Year of the Cat and Time Passages were a precursor of things to come.

England-born White has established himself as one of the most revered smooth jazz guitarists. Good Day (Peak, 2009) is a set of ten original songs – three written by White, the rest co-written by White and some of his guests.

The title song is a delightful, nearly six-minute piece. Phillippe Saisse contributes keyboards, vibraphone, programming, and horn and string arrangements. Drummer Simon Phillips is adequate, as is bassist Dwayne “Smitty” Smith. Dan Savant plays flugelhorn and muted trumpet. Though these and other musicians give this song a full band sound, it’s pretty much all about White. He leads on the melody and has a charming, middle solo. Saisse’s vibes during the fade at the end of the piece are a nice touch.

“Just Give Me a Chance” continues the spirited vibe. Shannon Kennedy adds saxophone and flute, with Saisse and Savant also performing. Co-producer DC, the only person besides White who appears on all tracks, is responsible for programming. Kennedy and Savant, supplemented by Saisse, sound like a full horn section. Saisse also ad-libs on keys during the fade.

Basia and recording partner Danny White co-wrote and appear as guests on the up-tempo ballad, “Love Will Find You.” Basia sings wordless vocals for the most part, but does chant the song’s title near the end. No credit is given for a drummer, so this appears to be one example of programming that works. Instead of a monotonous loop, the track moves according to the music, enhanced by percussionist Marc Parnell.

Over the years, White has collaborated with numerous other artists, including Stewart, Paul Brown, Jeff Golub and Chuck Loeb. He appeared on Basia’s solo debut, Time and Tide, and participated in many Guitars and Saxes tours with fellow smooth jazz artists, including Golub, Kirk Whalum, Lee Ritenour, Rick Braun, Richard Elliott, and Boney James.

Good Day offers a pleasant mix of danceable tunes with ballads, and a slight touch of Latin. For the most part, the guest musicians are window dressing. Apart from the selective use of brass and wind instruments, none really stand out. And the cookie-cutter synthesized drum track of “Temptation” is distracting. Still, this is all about Peter White. And his performance from start to finish is superb.