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Make no mistake about it: Peter White is a technically proficient guitarist who blends impeccable taste and admirable fluidity in his playing. He is standing on the top of the smooth jazz food chain and Here We Go will do nothing to lessen his dominance as one of the most popular artists working today. White is a pro's pro who knows what he can do and he does it quite successfully.
But there's a tad too much polish and far too much restraint to make any lasting impression At its heart, Here We Go feels like just another in a series of pleasant-sounding Peter White recording that breaks no new ground, places no demands and commands little (if any) attention.
This isn't a bad album so much as it isn't a compelling one. The saxophones solos by David Sanborn on the horn-heavy title track and Kirk Whalum on "Our Dance" are as effective as they are routine. Sanborn and Whalum can play this kind of stuff in their sleep. Philippe Saisse's piano is a standout, and Ramon Yslas' Latin percussion livens up the three tracks he appears on, but he isn't enough to lift the album up from the humdrum and ho-hum.
White can't be faulted for being a bad musician because he clearly is not. He excels at what he does, but what he does is play exactly the right amount of notes in exactly the correct sequence to make precisely the kind of pretty sounding music that doesn't stray from his formula. Some artists swim against the tide; others prefer to float along with it. White excels at the latter.
There's nothing wrong with courting commercial success, and who can blame White for staying in his lane and making what is essentially nice-sounding, but never compelling music. This album was never meant to appeal to jazzheads wanting their guitarists to have a harder edge, get a little nasty and put some blood, sweat and tears into their playing.
That is not Peter White's style, it never will be, and he's probably okay with that. Everybody else will learn to be too.
Track Listing: Night After Night, Time Never Sleeps, Here We Go, If Ever, Our Dance, Desert Night, Joyride, Costa Rica, My Lucky Day, Requiem For A Princess, Reunion
Personnel: Peter White: guitars, accordion, unspecified instruments; D.C.: unspecified instruments; Nate Phillips: bass (1, 2,); Phillipe Saisse: piano, keyboards, drum programming, orchestration (1-5, 7, 10); David Sanborn: saxophone solo (3); Andrew Neu: background sax, soprano sax, saxophones, flute (3, 4, 7, 8); Gabriel the Gun: flugelhorn, trumpet (3, 7, 8); Mel Scott: baritone sax (3); Kiki Ebsen: vocals (4); Charlotte White: violin (4); Ramon Yslas: congas, timbales, percussion (4, 7, 8); Roberto Vally: upright bass (5, 11).
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.