If you want to catch a young jazz singer, whose star is quickly rising, you may want to give a listen to jazz vocalist Lauren White’s CD At Last. White, who is barely out of her teens, has a captivating voice, is smooth, and technically sound. On At Last, she, along with producer Joe Harley, put together a collection of songs that for the most part were well known before White was born. Songs such as Roy Orbison’s "Blue Bayou," and "Superstar," are part of what is now commonly referred to as the new American songbook. Others such as Ira Gershwin’s "My One And Only," and "Mack The Knife," made famous by Bobby Darin and Cole Porter’s "Love For Sale," belong to the collection of classic tunes that can also be found on At Last. White collaborated on the writing for three songs, "All I Do Is Cry," "Do You Remember," and "Brand New Love."
The only flaw in White’s presentation is she still lacks the ability to evoke an emotional response from the listener. One should expect that from a twenty year old who has not yet lived a lot of years in which to experience heartbreak, relationships, or the thrill of discovering a love that you would crawl across a hot desert to pursue. Those things come as you go through life, and a good vocal coach such as her current one, Rosana Eckert, will eventually pull those emotions from her. Eckert also serves as the vocal coach for Norah Jones and she is a professor at in the highly esteemed music department of the University of North Texas.
What White does have going for her is an abundance of talent, a voice that is easy to listen to, and someone is doing a good job of guiding her career. The arrangements appear tailored to her voice. One of the creative geniuses of our day Anthony Wilson had his hand in writing new arrangements for "Love For Sale," and the title track "At Last." Bill Cunliffe worked up new arrangements for "Mack The Knife," "My Funny Valentine," and "My One And Only." I was not fond of the rendition of "Mack The Knife," as I tend to be a fan of swing and the way that Darin presented the tune, however, from what I heard on the CD, swing is not where White’s vocals are at. The softer, more laidback interpretation of "Mack The Knife," found on At Last is a more comfortable environment for her, and you may find that you prefer it over the original.
It’s not easy covering tunes made famous by music icons such as Roy Orbison and Linda Rondstadt (Blue Bayou), both of whom recorded the song penned by the former. Nor is it easy to follow in the footsteps of Karen Carpenter who made the Leon Russell/Bonnie Bramlett(with influences from Rita Coolidge) song "Superstar" famous. While White lacks Carpenter’s depth, her voice does have that same quiet demeanor, and the song work well for her.
If you pick up a copy of At Last, now, you will be able to boast to your friends someday that you had a copy of her album At Last when few knew what you will soon conclude, that this twenty-year-old Texan will soon be charting hit songs.