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Rocking the House for Christmas

Peter White and Mindi Abair rocked St. Louis on December 4, 2003 at the Pageant. Kicking the evening off with a vibrant "O Tannenbaum," White (guitar) and Abair (sax) blended together in festive layers. Before the evening was through, this pair would have concertgoers dancing in the aisles with pure holiday delight.

White had previously toured with Dave Koz's A Smooth Jazz Christmas Tour. However, he sought to provide something a bit more personal. "We are a much smaller show. My idea was to go and play all the smaller places that Dave couldn’t play with his show because it’s too big," he said. Later adding, "We’re quite happy keeping our show a warm and intimate experience."

Abair who launched her first solo album, It Just Happens That Way, is enjoying the chance to get her music out there. "There is really something to that intimacy . . . a small intimate club. It makes for a different kind of show. It’s just us. There is only five people on stage. He is playing all my stuff. I’m playing all his stuff. It’s really cool. I’m really having a good time . . . I think the audience gets a new appreciation for what I do or what he does or they get to see you in a new light," said Abair.

Seeing White and Abair performing together was a real treat. There didn’t seem to be any competition between soloists and all shared the stage equally. For instance, David Sparkman (piano) was a featured vocalist during "The Christmas Song" and several others. Abair introduced White’s "Promenade" by saying, "You’re in for an amazing show." She would shine with a few hits of her own throughout the show.

Christmas decorations and lights added a brilliantly homespun feel to the evening. It was as if you had been invited to attend a very special event as an honored guest. Concertgoers were actively encouraged to sing during several of the songs. The comedy skits by White and Abair only added to the light-hearted fun . White couldn’t resist bringing out a recorder and a ukulele for an animated holiday number that even had Abair laughing.

After loosening up the crowd, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" was presented in a grooving 50’s flavor. Fans responded with unbridled claps and cheers. Abair turned up the heat with a wild, "Flirt." Although the concert wasn’t nearly complete, an uninhibited version of "Bueno Funk" by White was rewarded with a spontaneous standing ovation. Abair kicked it up even further with "Lucy."

By the final song, the standing ovations were free flowing and the crowd wouldn’t rest until the pair returned for another round. White and Abair didn’t disappoint and came back for a little sing-a-long to the "Twelve Days of Christmas." The hungry audience managed to coax two more songs from the performers before ending the night with everyone on their feet once again.

You can learn more about the artists by visiting www.peterwhite.com and www.mindiabair.com. Fans are eagerly anticipating the upcoming Confidential release by White in March. Abair will be featured as a special guest as well.

Cheryl Hughey is a member of the Jazz Journalists Association. She is a freelance writer and regular contributor to newsprint, trades and Internet jazz publications. Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Peter White & Mindi Abair
  • Concert Date: 12/4/2003
  • Subtitle: White and Abair
  • Venue: The Pageant
  • City State Country: St. Louis, MO USA
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