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Popular smooth jazz guitarist Peter White continues his mastery of the idiom on Glow, his latest for Columbia. I have to admit, one reason I like Peter White’s work better than most smoothies these days is that his playing always does seem to emit a happy, effervescent glow. His friendly, personable style goes a long way towards trying to redeem an otherwise mechanical, non-descript program. He invites an assortment today’s leading sax smoothies to lend their talents: Kirk Whalum, Euge Groove (Steve Grove, formerly with Tower of Power for a couple years, if you didn’t know), Steve Cole, Dave Koz. Trumpeters Rick Braun and Jerry Hey provide the wind-driven counterpoint to White’s guitar on a few tunes. White also calls on the talents of several keyboard/programmers in an attempt to vary the mix: Tim Heintz, Jeff Lorber, Michael Egizi, and Steven Dubin. Dubin really serves as White’s musical partner on most of the disc, co-composing many tunes and providing most of the drum loops and a majority of the production. Despite the changing rosters, though, this program suffers from a remarkable sameness. There are many more shining moments in White’s past releases. The most interesting piece is “Pedro Blanco,” which sports a funkier edge and nice multi-tracked trumpet punctuations (all performed by veteran horn arranger Hey). “Life Story,” a tribute to White’s recently deceased father, emotes a little stronger than the other tunes, and the closer, “Baby Steps” ends the program on a light, happy, upbeat note.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.