After Groovin’ has retreated from its inevitable rise to the top of the smooth-jazz charts, it’s likely to enjoy a long afterlife, as bright reprises of pop hits drawn mostly from the 1960s and ’70s contribute a tuneful ambiance to retail shopping outlets everywhere. If that sounds like faint praise, it is and it isn’t.
What veteran British guitarist Peter White brings to this 10-track collection is hard to knock. His phrasing is unfailingly tuneful when a pop song demands nothing less. “I Can See Clearly Now” and, better yet, the album’s closer, “Here, There and Everywhere,” are prime examples. Mostly, White favors a sparklingly crisp tone, and yet there’s no mistaking a certain Benson-esque finesse when it comes time to dress up a soul tune with sliding double-stops and other evocative touches. As on his two previous collections of cover tunes, White also manages to embellish familiar themes with tasteful economy, clearly mindful of a tune’s inherent appeal but not constrained by it.