A Peter White Christmas featuring Mindi Abair and Vincent Ingala
Stuart is going to have a White Christmas, or at least A Peter White Christmas as the guitarist, singer and songwriter comes to town with several of his closest friends. This year, Peter White will bring along saxophonist Mindi Abair and performer Vincent Ingala to put their own special take on the music of the season. It’s a rockin’ good time and the very best way to get the holiday season underway. For White, who has been coming to The Lyric for years, the Christmas show is personal. “When I was a kid, Christmas was a big part of my life,” he said, “My father taught me the recorder and we played Christmas music he arranged going door-to-door.”
White did his first Christmas tour in 1995 and it was so popular that it became an annual event with White and his friends.
The musician who would become synonymous with jazz and Christmas grew up in Luton, north of London. As a child, he played several musical instruments, including the clarinet, trombone, violin and piano. With the Beatles and Rolling Stones dominating the music world, he turned to the guitar. He started on the acoustic and then bought his first electric guitar as a teen and studied Hendrix, Clapton and Jimmy Page. His electric career came to a sudden end when his brother, Danny, accidentally started a fire that destroyed the guitar. White returned to the acoustic guitar and never looked back. He loved early Fleetwood Mac and was introduced to jazz by a friend. His ability to play multiple styles caught singer/songwriter Al Stewart’s attention, first as a pianist and then as a guitarist. White played on Stewart’s Top 10 album, The Year of the Cat, in 1976 and co-wrote “Time Passages,” the hit title track on the next album. He spent 20 years as a sideman for Stewart and others, but in 1990, he set off on his own. His 1996 Caravan of Dreams sold more than 300,000 copies and he learned that jazz aficionados appreciated his musicianship. “I never thought I’d be in a position of having a career playing my instrumental music,” he noted. “When I started out, that road wasn’t opened to me. Then it worked.”
Florida native Mindi Abair is a self-described “Christmas dork” and a Lyric favorite. “Growing up, my family would get together for Christmas every year,” she reminisced. “My grandmother would cook oyster stuffing and rhubarb pie and we’d all play and sing together. I still make rhubarb pie every year in her honor. My grandmother gave me great advice early on: ‘If you play the piano, you can be the life of the party.’ She was an opera singer and would sit and play piano and sing Christmas songs. My father would take over and play more rock/blues/jazz versions of Christmas songs and we’d all sing. Of course, I’d pull out my sax and play along with my father. What an amazing way to grow up, with music surrounding me and weaving into my life so seamlessly from a young age!”
Mindi’s latest release is her first “Best Of” compilation, dropped in 2021 on Pretty Good for a Girl Records. It has 19 songs, including her biggest hits, previously unreleased gems, a few of her personal favorites and her new single, “April.”
Twenty-something and with matinee idol good looks, Vincent Ingala has already been at the top of the Billboard Contemporary Jazz charts, garnering him four Billboard #1s and nine top 10 hits. He is a wizard instrumentally, playing everything from tenor sax to piano, drums, guitar, bass and lead vocals. He was handpicked to open for Dave Koz when he was 16 and has collaborated with or opened for Chris Botti, Jonathan Butler and Kim Waters. He is known for his consummate musicianship and fun-loving stage presence and his latest release, in 2020, is Echoes of the Heart.
He has fond memories of Christmas when he was young, trying to catch Santa, who always arrived while he was asleep. “I would sneak downstairs multiple times with my flashlight to get a sneak peek before the sun rose on Christmas morning,” he said. “Memories such as these I will always continue to hold in my heart and they are what make Christmas a very magical time of year.”
Come enjoy this very special season with A Peter White Christmas. You won’t even miss the cold.