Peter White's 14th studio effort, 2014's Smile, features more of the British guitarist's romantic, uplifting smooth jazz. This is White's third album of all-original material following 2009's Good Day and 2012's Here We Go. Joining White here is a bevy of big-name guest artists, including vocalist Mindi Abair, trumpeter Rick Braun, saxophonist Euge Groove, and others. Also backing White are such longtime collaborators as keyboardist Philippe Saisse, bassist Nate Phillips, and percussionist Ramon Yslas. White's original approach to smooth jazz has worked quite well for him, and Smile is no exception. As the title implies, these are largely upbeat, brightly melodic tunes that showcase White's knack for airy, often Latin-influenced songs that soar on his crisp guitar lines. We also get plenty of groove-oriented, R&B-infused cuts like "Head Over Heels," "Hold Me Close," and the layered, trip-hop-infused "Beautiful Love." White also achieves a pleasant balance between the acoustic, electric, and electronic sounds on the album that never moves too far in any one direction. Instead, each song is deftly arranged with just the right instrumentation and improvisation to keep things interesting. Ultimately, by sticking to his own material on Smile, White has offered something new and engaging that will certainly appeal to new and longtime fans alike.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar