September 8, 2009

Peter White - Good Day

Welcome to the latest issue of Denis Poole’s Secret Garden, the page that offers a personal perspective on the very best from the world of smooth jazz and classic soul. As well as being the United Kingdom’s most illustrious contemporary jazz export Peter White has created his own special place in the genre with a distinctive sound built entirely around rhythm and melody that is often embellished with touches of exciting production. Indeed, for almost twenty years White’s music has defined the essence of smooth jazz. However, although his previous releases, the 2006 Playin Favorites and Peter White Christmas that followed a year later, proved to be significant successes, his last all original CD was Confidential in 2004. At the time I commented that it was his finest work to date but now he is back with the outstanding Good Day. Out today worldwide; the album features ten all new self penned compositions plus significant production and performing input from the exceptional Philippe Saisse.

Good Day opens with the easy paced title track that could be used as a descriptor of how great smooth jazz should sound. Co-written by White and long time Euge Groove collaborator Mike Egizi it’s a tune that shimmers like light on water and is added to by the programming of DC who is best known for his work as part of Paul Brown’s formidable production team. Characterized by what could accurately be described as ‘the Peter White sound’ it is in the good company of ‘Just Give Me A Chance’ that seems all set to put a smile on the saddest of faces. The luscious horns, that come courtesy of Shannon Kennedy and Dan Savant, simply add to the warmth of the entire piece while in similar mood is the equally inviting ‘Bright’. Already racing up the charts of most played on smooth jazz radio this melodic cut has all the makings of a future Peter White classic and is in fact his tribute to the late Wayman Tisdale with whom he shared the stage several times.

‘Ramon’s Revenge’ is driven by passionate flamenco rhythms and carries with it an expansive, cinematic quality that is helped in no small part by the Latin percussion of Ramon Yslas. White retains a Latin flavour for the ultra accessible ‘Always Forever’ and although ‘(Un)forgiven’ starts out in tranquil mode his magnificent guitar work drives it to what becomes an impassioned finale. This sophisticated tour de force includes snippets of White’s familiar accordion, splashes of oboe and flute from Shannon Kennedy and musical arrangements that exemplify the skills of Philippe Saisse.

The sunshine dappled ‘Love Will Find You’ has interesting origins. The number was brought to White by his brother Danny who had written it with his former Matt Bianco band-mate Basia. White earns partial writing credits for his reworking of the song and the way it is overlaid with his own melody. A happy easy paced Latin rhythm coupled with Basia’s smooth vocal completes the pleasing picture and pleasing is a word that also comes to mind with ‘Say Goodnight’. Tailor made for those moments in his live shows when the audience grow quiet and hang on to every one of White’s sumptuously melodic notes this is the sort of tune that, within smooth jazz, makes him unique.

That said; those familiar with White’s work will know that he can groove with the best of them and he does just that with the smoky ‘Temptation’. Built around White’s foolproof constructs of rhythm and melody, and with a killer bass line that is masterfully held down by Dwayne ‘Smitty’ Smith, this is among the CD’s best tracks but right up there with it is another White – DC composition, the innovative yet feisty ‘Mission 2 Mars’. It features more of the masterful production touches that makes Philippe Saisse the ‘go to guy’ for so many of the genres current A-list performers, a thumping beat, and keyboard interjections from Saisse that are absolutely to die for.

Good Day is already well set to be one of the albums of the year and is a worthy addition to the discography of an artist who never ever fails to deliver. For more go to www.peterwhite.com

Do you have any comments on what you have found in this edition of the Secret Garden? If so please e-mail me on DenisPoole2000@Yahoo.com.

Posted by Denis Poole at September 8, 2009 7:40 PM