When he was 8 years old, jazz fusion guitarist Peter White taught himself to play with an acoustic guitar his parents bought him. Since his first solo album in 1990, he’s released a dozen albums.
His latest CD, “Good Day” came out last month. He’s in Atlanta this weekend, making one of his few stops in the United States before heading back to the U.K. He’ll then return to the U.S. for his tour with Dave Koz and Friends.
He took a few moments out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about his music, influences and the future of smooth jazz.
Tell us about your new CD and how what you play now has evolved from your first CD in 1990 “Reveillez-vous”?
My last CD, “Playing Favourites,” was all cover songs and I wanted to make an album of all original songs this time round. So I went into my archives and found a whole lot of songs that I had written but never recorded — that’s what this CD is, some fairly new songs but mostly songs that I have written over the last 15 years that have never seen the light of day-until now!
I think back to my very first CD and I don’t think the process of how I write and record has changed at all. I mostly write songs on the keyboard with a drum beat and that hasn’t changed. Now we use computers to record, but back then it was all done on tape. I marvel at the songs on that first CD, particularly “Moonlight Montreal” and “Romance Dance,” and only hope that I can come with songs that good again!
You’ve talked about being influenced by great guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, George Benson and Earl Klugh? Who’s someone you’d like to do a project with but never got the chance to?
I’ve always wanted to play and record with David Sanborn, and I almost got my chance recently when we were on a Smooth Jazz Cruise together, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. Maybe it’s not meant to be, but I’ve always been a big fan of his. And I’ve put this out so many times now that surely he must be aware of it by now, that I want to record a song with him sometime.
What do you think about the challenges facing smooth jazz musicians nowadays, especially in markets such as Atlanta with the loss of smooth jazz radio stations?
I’ve never considered myself a jazz musician, or a Smooth Jazz musician. I’m very happy that my music has been played on Smooth Jazz radio and with less radio stations out there, we musicians have to become even more adept at marketing ourselves through our web sites and social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. In the old days the marketing was all done by the record companies. Nowadays the artists have to do a lot of their own marketing. Luckily the Internet has made it possible for us to get our music out there by audio streaming and this will probably get even more important in the future. Right now if you go to my Myspace profile you can listen to any song I recorded in the last 12 years.
Peter White will perform two shows at Sambuca for its popular JazzBeat Sundays series. Seatings are at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. at 3102 Piedmont Road NE. Admission is $15. Call 404-237-5299 for more details for visit sambuca.com.