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Peter White: Confidential

Peter White

While popular smooth-jazz guitarist Peter White places his trademark acoustic guitar in some varied stylistic settings on Confidential (Columbia), his fluency is a constant, transcending whatever else is going on in the arrangements.

An electronic rhythm underpins White’s melody on “Coast Road Drive,” while storm effects and Chris Botti’s muted trumpet help the guitarist establish a late-night vibe on the moody “Stormfront.” Things turn cinematic on “Swept Away,” a haunting, string-shaded number wherein White’s guitar harmonizes with his own accordion.

Too often smooth-jazz instrumentalists wind up functioning as sidemen when they include vocal tracks on their albums because the arrangements spotlight the singers. But on the Brazilian-tinged “She’s in Love,” a Brenda Russell composition sung by pop vocalist Christopher Cross, the guitarist is fully present but unobtrusive as an accompanist, and he’s able to offer a nice solo.

White’s guitar plays off horn shadings on the warm “Talkin’ Bout Love,” and saxophonist Mindi Abair complements his buoyant guitar lines on “Are You Mine.” The closing track, “Endless Journey” is, perhaps, a little too well-named: White’s energetic guitar is driven by a hypnotic dance rhythm and set off by sax and strings, and though it might work well in a dance club, the tune feels repetitive and overlong for home listening.

Originally Published