Growing up Letchworth Garden City, England in the 1960s, Peter White grew interested in music while listening to the Beatles on the radio. His parents got him an acoustic guitar around age 8 and he taught himself to play while also taking lessons on the recorder, piano and later, clarinet. One day in 1967 he heard Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze.” Never hearing such sounds from his acoustic, he decided the electric guitar was to be the most important thing in his life. Eventually he got one and furiously studied the works of Hendrix, Clapton and Page, but his dreams were put on hold when the guitar was burned in a fire (accidentally) set by his brother Danny. He found solace in his old acoustic guitar, having no idea that this incident, however tragic at the time, would prove to be a turning point in his life. He developed a love for the acoustic instrument, a feeling that continues to this day. For over two decades, he has maintained a reputation as one of the most versatile and prolific acoustic guitarists on the contemporary jazz landscape. Smooth jazz fans worldwide are enthralled by his spirited melodies, soulful grooves and inviting, instantly recognizable acoustic guitar tone. He’s always enjoyed finding unique ways to bring his modern sensibilities to cherished pop classics — and thanks to the smooth jazz format’s affinity for instrumental cover songs, two of the amazing thirteen #1 Radio & Records airplay hits he’s had through the years, “The Closer I Get To You” and “Walk On By,” have become enduring staples of the format. Pop music fans were listening to his classic acoustic guitar style even before the advent of the New Adult Contemporary and Smooth Jazz formats, most notably via his collaborations with British folk/pop singer Al Stewart. The Stewart-White partnership, which culminated with the dual live recording “Rhymes in Rooms” in the mid-90s, spanned over 20 years. White played on Stewart’s landmark “Year of the Cat” album, co-wrote and performed on two of Stewart’s biggest hits, “Time Passages” and “Midnight Rocks.” In the late 1980s, White accompanied Basia on several of her acclaimed albums and in 1996; she was featured on his album Caravan of Dreams, with vocals on the single “Just Another Day,” a popular airplay hit. With over a dozen albums, numerous musical collaborations, and his annual A Peter White Christmas shows, Peter is still going strong. In March 2012, he released “Here We Go,” which featured guest spots from Andrew Neu, Nate Phillips, Phillipe Saisse, David Sanborn, and Kirk Whalum.
Mindi Abair shines as one of the contemporary jazz artists who crosses over into the world of pop. Her unique hybrid sound and mix of cool vulnerability and utter conviction gives the likes of John Mayer and Corinne Baily Rae a run for their barrier breaking money. Mindi’s own brand of pop meets jazz adds a refreshingly unique voice to an exciting new generation of crossover artists who, like her, are powerful instrumentalists as well as thought-provoking singer songwriters. Perhaps John Taylor, famed Duran Duran bassist, says it best about her stunning melodies and heartfelt lyrics, citing her 2008 album Stars, a genre-busting, breathtaking combination of contemporary jazz and Top 40 torch songs. He notes, “It will be love at first listen.” Mindi’s first single from the album, the title track “Stars,” struck genre transcending success, charting number 29 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Mindi has been producing quality groundbreaking releases like this since her debut album It Just Happens That Way, which debuted in the Top 5 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart and remained in the Top 10 for 19 consecutive weeks. Her 2006 release Life Less Ordinary debuted at #1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart and remained in the top 20 for 45.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013 – 6:00 pm
Spirit of New York, Chelsea Piers, Pier 61, New York, New York 10011