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