A Peter White Christmas featuring Rick Braun and Euge Groove
We don’t get to have white Christmases in Florida, but we get to have A Peter White Christmas. Guitarist, singer and songwriter Peter White brings his friends, saxophonist Euge Groove and trumpeter Rick Braun, to put their own special take on the music of the season. This talented trio of jazz treats audiences to a terrific blend of seasonal standards, favorite tracks and new selections. Holiday tunes include “Silent Night,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Frosty the Snowman” – and even Peter’s self-proclaimed “signature” carol – “White Christmas”! Each year they visit, they rock the halls.
For Peter White, it’s 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.” In 1995, he was asked to do a Christmas tour. It became so popular that it has become an annual event with a variety of good friends coming along.
White first learned to play the acoustic guitar as a British teen in the 1960s. He listened to the radio and picked out tunes from the Beatles and Stevie Wonder on the guitar his dad had given him. He was also influenced by folk music and he learned fingerstyle picking listening to Simon and Garfunkel and Joni Mitchell recordings. When he heard Jimi Hendrix, he turned to the electric guitar, but when his first guitar was destroyed in a fire, he returned to the acoustic. He loved early Fleetwood Mac and was introduced to jazz by a friend. His ability to adapt his playing to multiple styles caught singer/songwriter Al Stewart’s attention, first as a pianist and then as a guitarist. White played in Stewarts’s Top 10 album The Year of the Cat in 1976 and co-wrote the hit title track on the next album, Time Passages. 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 leaned that aficionados appreciated his musicianship.
“I never thought I’d be in a position of having a career playing my instrumental music,” he said. “When I started out, that wasn’t the road that was open to me. Then it worked.”
Euge Groove, which is the pseudonym for the saxophone player Steve Grove, began playing the piano in the second grade. He turned to the saxophone when he was 9 or 10 and his teacher gave him a classical education in the instrument. At the University of Miami, he discovered jazz. After graduation, he moved to Los Angeles and played with Tower of Power and as a session or back-up musician for Joe Cocker, Huey Lewis & the News, Elton John, Bonnie Raitt and Aaron Neville. At the end of the 1990s, he developed the persona of Euge Groove and recorded a demo. A contract with Warner Brothers followed and he has continued to record with other labels.
Rick Braun fell in love with the trumpet at an early age. “When I started playing as an 8-year-old boy, I loved it right away,” he said, “I loved the smell of the horn, the sound that it made and everything about it and I continue to love it.”
Braun has collaborated on albums with Rod Stewart, Tom Petty, Natalie Cole, Kirk Whalum, Dave Koz and…Peter White. He also hosts an annual New Year’s Eve event to benefit autism, as his daughter is autistic. “For me, music is not just about going out and touring and making a living,” he said, “Music has always been a source of joy, almost a therapy. It is an absolute pleasure seeing the joy it brings to others. I love every moment of it.”
Come feel the joy and kick off the holidays. It’ll be a White Christmas after all.