A Peter White Christmas with Euge Groove, Vincent Ingala, and Lindsey Webster 12/9/19Monday, December 09 2019 6:00pm Doors / 8:00pm Start
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A Peter White Christmas with Euge Groove, Vincent Ingala, and Lindsey Webster 12/9/19
For Immediate Release – Like so many millions of us, guitarist Peter White still feels closest to the music he absorbed while growing up. As a British teen in the ’60s, he kept his ears glued to the radio—soaking up the exciting new sounds of rock bands like the Beatles and soul giants like Stevie Wonder—and tried to learn how to play those songs on the acoustic guitar his dad had given him. It didn’t take him long to get the hang of it, and now, after more than four decades as both a leader and sideman, he’s returning to those tunes that impacted him so forcefully in his youth.
Groovin’, set for release on October 28, 2016 via Heads Up, a division of Concord Music Group, is White’s third collection of guitar-centric interpretations of timeless compositions from those halcyon years of the 1950s to the ’80s. Taking up where his previous all-covers albums Reflections (1994) and Playin’ Favorites (2006) left off, Groovin’ finds White not only nostalgic but adventurous and playful, injecting vocal shadings and bold horn charts into the mix, and even some tougher guitar sounds than he’s generally known for.
“I always gravitate toward this era,” says White about the songs he chooses to cover. “At that time the music meant more to me than at any other time in my life.”
Groovin’ takes its title from the Rascals’ tropical-hued ballad hit of 1967, and also includes, from that heady decade, the Beatles’ “Here, There and Everywhere.” From the same era, the R&B classic “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” a hit for both Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight, gets a distinctive new reading here by White, as does Otis Redding’s timeless “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” The oldest tune, “Sleep Walk,” was a number one instrumental hit in 1959 by Santo and Johnny in the United States, but White actually heard it first by the Shadows, a British
guitar combo massively popular in the U.K. that never really caught on in the States. For White, the challenge in interpreting such familiar music is in putting his own stamp on a number while retaining the characteristics that make it instantly recognizable.
“I like playing covers because if you can take a song that people know, by a well-known artist, and make it your own, then you have defined yourself as an artist,” he says. “Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley did that and no one complained. One of the purposes in my making these cover albums is that I want to be very faithful to the melody. But I ask myself, if I had just come up with this idea and it had never been recorded before, how would I record this song? Do I need to use any part of the original arrangement, and if I don’t then let’s not. On at least half the songs on this album, if you took my melody off, you would not recognize the song.”
Several songs on Groovin’ originated in the 1970s and ’80s, the decade that White considers his “cutoff point.” The Stevie Wonder track that follows “Groovin’” on the album is “Do I Do,” from 1982, and “Never Knew Love Like This Before,” originally recorded by Stephanie Mills, is also an ’80s-vintage track. “I Can See Clearly Now,” the classic reggae chart-topper by Johnny Nash, the Three Degrees’ Gamble and Huff-penned “When Will I See You Again” and “How Long,” the Paul Carrack-written hit by Ace, all stem from the first half of the ’70s. Once White narrowed down the material he wanted to include, he got to work on the arrangements. “You have to forget the original version,” he says. “I start with a beat and then I start playing the piano—most of these arrangements come from the piano.” Self-producing, White then worked out his guitar parts and fine-tuned the roles that the various musicians would play. Among them was drummer Ricky Lawson, a friend of White’s who passed away shortly after contributing to the album and to whom he dedicates Groovin’.
“A lot of the ideas on Groovin’ were left over from my last two cover songs albums,” White says. “I make song lists and go through them—‘Does this work? Does that work? Oh, that works.’ I had this list of songs and said, ‘Let’s see what happens.’”
In a way, “Let’s see what happens” has been White’s modus operandi since he first picked up a guitar. Influenced at first by folk music, he learned fingerstyle picking by listening to Simon and Garfunkel and Joni Mitchell recordings. An introduction to the revolutionary rock of Jimi Hendrix sent him scampering toward the electric guitar, but when his first model was destroyed in a fire he returned to the acoustic. He fell for the British blues of bands such as (early) Fleetwood Mac and was introduced to jazz by a friend. It was his ability to adapt his playing to multiple styles of music that got White noticed by British singer-songwriter Al Stewart—first as a pianist, then as a guitarist. White played on Stewart’s top 10 album Year of the Cat in 1976 and co-wrote the hit title track of the singer’s next album, “Time Passages.” White spent 20 years in all accompanying Stewart, and performed sideman duties for many other artists, but by 1990 he was ready to go out on his own.
“I was listening to the radio,” he recalls, “and they played a song I’d recorded with Al Stewart, ‘Ghostly Horses of the Plain,’ which was pretty much a guitar instrumental. The DJ comes on and says, ‘That was Al Stewart.’ I said, ‘No, that was me!’” From that point on, White began concentrating on his own music, composing and recording under his own name. His 1996 Caravan of Dreams album sold over 300,000 copies and by the early 2000s his shelf was bulging with awards for his virtuosic musicianship. “I never thought I’d be in the position of having a career playing my instrumental music,” White says. “When I started out, that wasn’t a road that was open to me. Then it worked.”
It’s still working. “I throw my net far and wide,” he says, “and don’t label it. It’s just instrumental music. I like to play nice songs on the guitar and I hope people like it.” Based on his stellar four-decade track record, and the instantly contagious grooves he’s created on Groovin’, that’s not going to be a problem.
“I never really know what song is going to come next...thankfully it just comes to me,” confides chart-topping saxophonist, composer and producer Euge Groove, who has scored close to a dozen #1 hits on the Contemporary Jazz Charts. A favorite on radio and the international touring circuit, Euge Groove has garnered a devout following with his irresistible mix of danceable grooves, mind-bending hooks, R&B infused melodies and inspired solos. Having collaborated with everyone from Tina Turner Elton John and Bonnie Raitt to Tower of Power and Aaron Neville, Euge Groove is never short on inspiration. On November 17, 2017, Shanachie Entertainment will release Euge Groove’s anticipated eleventh solo recording, Groove On, an exhilarating collection of originals. Euge’s latest drives home the multi-instrumentalist’s ability to mastermind the perfect mood-drenched set filled with top drawer performances featuring first rate musicians including special guests – guitar wizard Peter White and soul-jazz diva/label mate Lindsey Webster. “I hope my fans hear growth. That is most important to me,” shares Euge Groove. “I think if I stop growing as a writer, player, or producer, it’s time to quit. I put every drop of heart and soul into each album.”
Groove On opens with the enticing, jubilant and free-flowing “Sonnet XI” showcasing Euge Groove’s pristine and soaring soprano saxophone lines. Euge also mixes it up on the Hammond B3 (which he does on several tracks). “I actually started playing B3 back in the 90s while on tour with Joe Cocker. I love the sound of the B3. I have a great old B3 at my studio that was a gift from my dad some years ago and I love to use it when I can. I leave the heavy lifting to the experts though. Tim Heinz did a great job on numerous tracks this album.” In addition to Heinz, Euge Groove has culled together an A-list cast on Groove On featuring guitarists Peter White and Jabu Smith, vocalist Lindsey Webster, keyboardist Tracy Carter, bassist Cornelius Mims, drummers Trevor Lawrence, Jr. and Dan Needham, percussionist Lenny Castro and string programmers/arrangers Phillipe Saisse and Austin Creek.
A highlight on Groove On is the energized, pulsating and scintillating title track and album’s first single, which features Euge on flute and keyboard. “I’m always nervous until I can get that title cut down” confesses the multi-instrumentalist. “It has to be funky and unique for me, but not going too far as to people saying WTH? Once ‘Groove On’ was written I was like “Yes, I can do this!” Euge also features a high-octane reprise of the single at the end of the recording. The serene and blues-tinged “Free Time” brims with delight as Euge's effervescent soprano leads the way, while the melancholy and pensive "The Healing," is a gorgeous ballad that showcases Euge’s stirring tenor alongside the percussive and string magic of Lenny Castro and Phillipe Saisse. Euge explains that the origins of his compositions are fueled by real life experiences. “‘The Healing’ is a song that came from something I experienced recently. I suffer from anxiety from time to time, and it really reared its ugly head earlier this year. I just miss home so much sometimes on the road that things can get very dark. Mental health is no joke. I am very blessed to have some great professionals to help me make sense of it all and get through those periods. “The Healing” was all about that for me.” Euge’s beautiful ballad will likely bring peace and healing to many who are blessed to hear his heartfelt offering.
Groove On also features the euphoric and swooning "Round And Round." Euge’s signature layering of parts sculpt a magnificent sound collage. The rapturous “Euge One – Oh- One” underscores Euge’s penchant for writing sublime melodies and highlights the nylon string guitar of Peter White. “Peter is just my buddy of buddies and I have to have him guest somewhere!” shares Euge who also drops the news that his next project will be a duo album with White. Euge brings the house down with the down home bluesy and soul-drenched number "Last Call." Euge is no doubt testifying as his gorgeous tenor lines and interplay with guitarist Jabu Smith almost stop you in your tracks. "Saturday Afternoon" makes you want to jump to your feet with its cool and swingin’ ‘steppers vibe’ while the tender ballad “Always Love You” offers the album’s lone vocal. “Lindsey Webster and I met on New Year’s Eve in Germany last year,” states Euge Groove. “She has such a great voice and writing style and I kept that in my mind for this project. Lindsey wrote killer lyrics and it all came together quite smoothly.”
Euge Groove’s musical sensibilities are hard-won. Born Steven Eugene Grove in Hagerstown, Maryland, he grew up in a musical home. His mother played piano and taught the church choir and Euge began his musical pursuits at the age of seven, beginning with piano and adding saxophone at nine. Two saxophonists had a profound effect on his approach to playing. “One was French classical player Marcel Mule, who really defied what the sax was supposed to sound like for me and the other was David Sanborn, who took that sound and brought it into the mainstream world,” Euge reminisces. Through the years, Euge’s love of Jazz, R&B, Gospel and Blues have all come together to inform his personalized sound. He explains, “I’ve listened to everyone from Grover (Washington, Jr.) and Sanborn to (Charlie) Parker and Coltrane, as well as (Michael) Brecker, (Stan) Getz, King Curtis, Jr. Walker, Richard Elliot and Kirk Whalum. The more mature we become the more those influences fuse into something new. A graduate of Miami’s School Of Music, Euge launched his professional career in Miami in the mid-80s, playing in salsa bands, Top 40 club bands and doing the occasional high- profile session date like Expose’s “Seasons Change,” a #1 Billboard AC hit. In 1987 he moved to L.A., wrote a track for Richard Elliot’s The Power of Suggestion and Elliot recommended Euge to take over his spot in Tower of Power. Euge toured with TOP for four years, including a year backing Huey Lewis & The News. He went on to record, tour or perform with the likes of Joe Cocker, The Eurythmics, The Gap Band, Elton John, Bonnie Raitt, Aaron Neville and Richard Marx (that’s Euge’s horn on “Keep Coming Back,” a #1 AC hit duet he recorded with Luther Vandross). In 1999, Euge started recording his own material, dubbing himself Euge Groove, and posting his music on the now-defunct MP3.com website; downloading started almost immediately and Euge was soon topping the MP3.com Jazz chart. He signed soon thereafter with Warner Bros. “Vinyl,” his first single from his eponymous Warner Bros. debut, set a record by spending 27 weeks on the R&R charts, eventually ranking #24 for the year. In 2004, Euge Grooves’ Narada debut, Livin’ Large, spent 68 weeks on the Billboard charts. The title track was the #5 most played song for 2004 on the R&R singles chart. Just Feels Right followed in 2005 and its first single was #1 for two months. There followed in the next decade a string of hit singles and best-selling albums; his hit “Religify” was ‘song of the year’ in 2007, and his albums S7ven Large and House Of Groove each spawned #1 hits. Got 2 Be Groovin’ came in 2014 and 2016 saw the release of Still Euge, which featured the hit title track as well as memorable vocal appearances from Oleta Adams and Rahsaan Patterson.
Euge Groove further asserts himself as a vital force in the continuum of Contemporary Jazz and promises he has no intentions other than to Groove On! “I’ve really not known anything else. It’s been such an amazing run for the last 30 plus years. From the amazing people I’ve toured in support of to being able to do my own thing, sometimes I’ll reflect and just say “wow!” The places I’ve been and the people I’ve met..it’s like a real life fairy tale at times.”
One of the fastest emerging contemporary jazz recording artists in recent history, multi- instrumentalist, composer and producer, Vincent Ingala has blasted into an exciting stratosphere of his own making since his 2010 critically acclaimed debut album, ‘North End Soul.’ Still in his twenties, the charismatic saxophonist has been named Billboard Smooth Jazz Artist of the Year in 2012, Sirius XM Watercolors Breakthrough Artist of the Year in 2013, and his music is consistently found atop the most noteworthy music charts in the world, including four number one hits on the Billboard Smooth Jazz Chart, and ten singles in the Billboard Smooth Jazz Top 10. As much of an entertainer as he is a musician, the Yamaha Performing Artist has been wowing live audiences as a regular on the popular smooth jazz festival and cruise circuit for several years. His fun-loving stage presence, combined with an obvious passion for playing, elevates the crowd to an exciting frenzy! An “old soul,” as he’s often referred to, Vincent possesses a deep knowledge and appreciation for all genres of music. His versatility on multiple instruments makes him sought after both live, and as a producer in the studio. His latest effort and fifth studio album, 2018’s ‘Personal Touch,’ finds Vincent playing every instrument throughout the entire album, along with eight original compositions, and the reimagining of two 80’s R&B classics from Alexander O’ Neil and Billy Ocean. ‘Personal Touch’ is the breath of fresh air that long time smooth jazz fans have been craving. Indeed, it is arguably Vincent’s most complete album to date and affirms the meteoric progress he has made since 2010. This coast-to-coast sensation continues to bring a playful spirit, old soul, and youthful enthusiasm to contemporary jazz, with a real sense for what music fans are seeking, from recordings to live performances.
The earthy, charismatic and beautiful Lindsey Webster is a surprising and welcomed anomaly in the contemporary jazz world. The sultry and soulful young singer/composer, who has scored two Billboard #1’s on the Contemporary Jazz Chart, making her the first vocalist in the format to garner a #1 since the iconic Sade, is still amazed by her own success. “It is unbelievable that it is really happening” says Webster. “But now that it has, I feel like my world and career have opened up and that it is only the beginning!” Blessed with a honey-toned voice and enviable range, Webster’s uniquely identifiable sound is fueled by potent messages of love that are timely for today’s climate. Webster is holding her own in a largely male dominated genre comprised of artists who are much older than her and she is quickly becoming a favorite on the charts and international touring circuit. Her sophomore Shanachie recording, Love Inside, is about realizing the power that each of us possess as individuals. “So frequently, we are looking outside of ourselves for the answers, when most of the time, we need to address what is within, first” states Webster. “I thought it to be an appropriate title for this album with all of the negativity and animosity that runs rampant in today’s world." Through a tapestry of twelve evocative originals that fuse the best elements of R&B, jazz, pop and soul, Webster, along with her pianist and husband Keith Slattery, explore the world of love and loss in relationships as well as the love needed to unite and honor one another’s humanity.
Love Inside opens with the album’s title track and catchy first single. Webster sings and reminds us to “Take a moment to count your blessings...” The singer knows a thing or two about taking stock of all of the good that life has to offer. “The new songs are uplifting and positive which is just how I feel!” exclaims the singer. The
pulsating “A Love Before” chronicles the trials and tribulations of finding true love. Webster confesses it is one of her favorite songs on the recording. “Bad Grammar (Me & You”) finds Lindsey pleading for another chance at love as she sings, “think about it for a minute more, before you walk out the door. Take a second just think it through, is this the end of me and you?” Slattery’s elegant and pirouetting solo adds a beautiful touch to this heart tugging last appeal for love.
The funk-fueled “Free To Be Me” touches on a topic that Lindsey Webster is passionate about. “This song is an anthem for anyone who is facing injustice in this world today,” states the singer/songwriter. “It was inspired by the subject of immigration that has been an issue at the forefront of our country, but the lyrics kind of morphed the song into something more. It states three things: the problem (people judging each other), how we all unwittingly can be a part of the problem (ignorance), and then offers what I believe will be a solution (our strength as a human race).
Another gem on Love Inside is the wistful bluesy ballad “Dream,” inspired by Dr. King’s infamous 1963 speech delivered at the Lincoln Memorial. “I, too, share Dr. King’s dream,” states Lindsey. “This song is about how I will try to live my own life today in order to make this dream a reality tomorrow.”
Love Inside also features “Don’t Give Up On Me,” which speaks to the fear of losing someone you love when
you are at your weakest point, while the Latin-tinged “One Last Time” is about two people in love who must part ways in order to honor commitments in their lives. The interlude “Even If He Lied” shows what some people will put up with in order to be in a relationship and the blues ballad “Walk Away” is somewhat of an answer to “Even If He Lied,” offering a different alternative. We have all heard someone say “It’s Not You, It’s Me” but Webster in her typical clever fashion puts a new spin on the saying on her song of the same title. “Typically, a person says this to another during a breakup as a kind of consolation, not wanting the other person to think it is their own fault,” she shares. “In this song, the person who is being left is saying, ‘I know I’ve been acting crazy and I don’t blame you for leaving.’”
A highlight on Love Inside is the insatiable groove and positivity on “Opportunity” as Lindsey sings, “I feel things about to turn around for me cause I’ve been working for a long time ....Just when you think you had enough and you feel you’re gonna give up, that’s when life will turn around and you’ll see, in the problem is the opportunity.” The album closes with “By My Side,” which shines light on the strength gained by having the right person by your side.
“You know you are extra lucky when you find your true love and then you are able to share not only your lives with one another but your shared passion as well. Lindsey and Keith married in 2016. ”Keith is a blessing for me,” beams Lindsey. We are always striving to become stronger and better songwriters, and as a team, I really think we have crafted some powerful and beautiful music.”
Growing up in an artist community, the daughter of loving hippie parents, in Woodstock NY, the allure of music was never far from Lindsey Webster. The singer grew up listening to her parent's Jimi Hendrix, Beatles and Elvis Costello LPs and later the Supremes. Influenced by everyone from Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera to Steely Dan and Earth Wind and Fire, Webster once pursued medical school before finally settling on music. Webster made history in 2016 with her original "Fool Me Once,” which was the first vocal driven #1 song to top the Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart since Sade's “Soldier of Love” in 2010. Webster beat Sade’s three-week run at #1 with a four-week stay at the top of the charts with her own “Fool Me Once.” November 2016, Webster made her Shanachie debut with Back To Your Heart, which spawned three songs that reached Top 3 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Charts - “Back To Your Heart” “Next To Me” and “Where Do You Want To Go,” which hit #1.
Webster concludes, “I hope our fans can hear the passion and hard work that went into writing these songs. Although the times are changing and albums are becoming less popular than buying a single, we still like to think of the music we write as a collection. We arranged the songs in a specific order, as to tell a story and bring the listener on a journey.”