Los Angeles-based guitarist, bandleader, and composer Peter Kavanaugh has spent over a decade as a Southern California sideman playing swing, gypsy jazz, blues, country, rockabilly and soul. But what truly nourishes his creativity are jazz standards and American songbook. “I have a really specific tonal vision. I like injecting unexpected elements into songs from the great 20th century composers.”
Peter’s appreciation for the rich harmonic content and deep chordal textures of standards is thanks in no small part to his experience studying under Joe Pass — the jazz guitar icon best known for accompanying Sara Vaughn, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald. Peter showed rare talent even before his opportunity to learn techniques from Pass, having emerged from a statewide jazz competition as the best high school jazz guitarist in the state of Illinois. After his training with Pass, Peter worked in other areas of the entertainment business but his heart eventually called him back to his first love, playing jazz guitar. Over the past decade he has composed music for several television shows, played with John King’s Extreme Guitar Orchestra, and co-founded the Hot Club of Los Angeles, which plays the music of gypsy jazz hero Django Reinhardt.
Today, Peter takes center stage as bandleader and co-producer of his album “Whisper Not,” which the blog Bebop Spoken Here calls “A choice selection of tunes played to perfection.” He establishes his unique take on the American songbook right from the start with the album’s title track (composed by Benny Golson), in which Peter pairs sun-dappled vibraphone with toothy blues guitar tones. He goes on to interpret “Poinciana,” a tune made famous by Ahmad Jamal, as a breezy bossa nova with a twanging baritone guitar of a spaghetti western. With 8 breathtaking standards and the bouncy, infectious original track “On The Way to Your House,” the self-released album has had airplay on over 40 national radio stations, and will have the track "Poinciana" included on the Summer 2016 Jazziz Magazine CD sampler.