Guitarist Peter White Releases "Good Day" On Peak Records
For nearly twenty years, Peter White has made the acoustic guitar a dynamic and expressive voice in the overall soundscape of contemporary jazz. Since his first recordings in the early 1990s, he has infused pop standards and his own original material with a sense of innovation and energy that rivals the abilities of many of his electric guitar counterparts. In a career that spans two decades and a dozen solo recordings, he continues to surprise seasoned fans and newcomers alike with his willingness to push the preconceived parameters of his instrument to new places.
His new album, Good Day, which released September 8th, 2009, is a culmination of originals that have simmering and taking shape for the past several years. It was released through Peak Records, a division of the Concord Music Group and is now available online and in stores.
The Album & White’s Commentary
While it’s White’s vision that ultimately drives Good Day, he does get some assistance and inspiration from “DC,” the versatile keyboardist/programmer/songwriter who has produced and/or collaborated with a variety of contemporary jazz artists in recent years, including Paul Brown, Jeff Golub and Chuck Loeb. Also helping out was keyboardist / producer Philippe Saisse, an accomplished solo artist in his own right who has helped to re-shape the careers of Rick Braun, Marc Antoine and Gato Barbieri, among many others.
The set opens with the lively title track, a piece co-written by White and arranger Michael Egizi that features an intriguing vibraphone solo from Saisse. White comments on the track, saying:
“This song has a killer groove and a great melody. Philippe played this
wonderful solo on the vibes. It’s something I’ve never put on a record before,
but I try to do something on every album that’s a little different – some sound,
some instrument, some style. This time, it was the vibraphone.”
The genesis of “Love Will Find You” is an intriguing story. The basic elements of the song were originally submitted to White by his younger brother, guitarist/songwriter Danny White, who had written it with Basia, his long-time collaborator. White earned partial songwriting credit by rearranging Basia’s vocal line and putting his own melody on top of it.
“I basically took the song that she and Danny wrote, chopped it up, took
her scat part – which she sings at the beginning and at the very end in the
original version – and put it into the middle of the song as well,” he says. “I use
it as a hook throughout the song. I just thought it was cool that we could
collaborate like this and come up with two versions of the same song.”
The easygoing closer, “Say Goodnight” – which White describes as “a typical Peter White ballad” – is a tip of the hat to pop balladeer Al Stewart, with whom White toured and recorded for nearly twenty years (and co-wrote Stewart’s 1978 hit “Time
“We would end the show with just him and me playing the guitar after the rest of the
band had left the stage. He’d say to the crowd, ‘Say goodnight to Peter White,’ and I
would leave the stage for him to finish the show. The phrase has always stuck with me
in the years since.”
Even as the sun sets on Good Day, the recording overall represents a beginning for White – an opportunity for him to reconnect with the clever and engaging songcraft that characterized his earlier recordings.
“These songs had been raw demos for a long time. Hearing them come to
life by introducing them to other musicians who were experiencing them for the
first time was very exciting, and very surprising. I had lost track of the possibility
that these songs could have so much potential beyond what I’d originally
envisioned. If I had finished this project purely by myself, it wouldn’t have been
anywhere near as good. It’s the different ingredients and spices and colors
provided by other people that make it what it is.”