October 31, 2008. With a fresh new set, a spring to his stride and what was virtually an all start band, Peter White rolled into the Cinnamon Club, Altrincham, on the second leg of his current UK mini tour, in outstanding form. Despite White’s smooth jazz superstar pedigree there is something very special about seeing him play in a small club setting where he often seems at his most comfortable and relaxed. Here was no exception and the generous crowd that filled the Cinnamon Club’s downstairs auditorium were enthralled by two captivating hours of music that drew on the width and breadth of his considerable discography. Indeed, as White explained in his introduction, he has recently purchased the rights to some of his earliest albums and this enabled the inclusion of ‘Reveillez-Vous’ (the title track from his 1990 debut) and ‘Smooth Sailing’ from ‘Excusez-Moi’ that followed a year later. The fact that he was able to intersperse this latter track with snippets of Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’ was totally indicative of the fun White enjoys having in a live setting and throughout the show he ensured that entertainment always remained high on the agenda.
With UK touring regular Mark Parnell on drums, the return of Frank Felix on bass and White’s number one sax man Jaared in the line-up, the band were pleasingly tight and clearly well rehearsed. Oli Silk on keys also added to this obvious quality and, as White generously afforded his band members the opportunity to showcase their own work, Silk regaled the audience with ‘Chill Or Be Chilled’ from his latest project ‘The Limit’s The Sky’. Jaared’s ‘Jamaican Winds’ from the ‘Addiction’ CD was also well received and he almost stole the show when providing the vocal to White’s ‘River’ from the 2007 ‘Peter White Christmas’ that on the original was sung by Mindi Abair. White made his usual visit to the motor city for ‘Who’s That Lady’ then delighted the crowd with the title tracks from both ‘Perfect Moment’ and ‘Caravan Of Dreams’. Going all the way back to 1994 and ‘Reflections’ he pulled out a spellbinding rendition of ‘The Closer I Get To You’ which he decorated with a distinctly Van Morrison sounding intro while just as good was ‘Mr. Magic’ from the ‘Playin’ Favorites’ album that in turn gave Jaared the chance to sensationally fill the shoes of Grover Washington Jr. White endorsed the season with ‘Autumn Day’ and, as the time rolled around to midnight, his return to ‘Caravan Of Dreams’ for ‘Lullaby’ seemed totally appropriate. However the band were not about to go out with whimper and as they ramped up the energy with ‘San Diego’ and ‘Bueno Funk’ the stage was set for him to go back to ‘Playin’ Favorites’ one more time for ‘Hit The Road Jack’.
Of course the Cinnamon Club would not be complete without Deejay Steve Quirk. As well as providing his usual highly enthusiastic introductions he also spun some great discs before and after the show. Many of the tracks were taken from the brand new compilation CD, ‘The Sound Of Jazz FM 2008’ which Steve played a big part in and which marks the comeback (on digital and online) of a much loved contemporary jazz radio station. Check back here soon for a complete review of ‘The Sound Of Jazz FM 2008’ and if you want to catch Peter White live in the UK he is at London’s Pizza Express Jazz Club until Monday, November 10.