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Reviews: Lauren White: At Last

Reviews: 2

Review by sgb May 18, 2007 (5 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I'm very impressed with the sound quality of this recording. Generally, I find this to be true of most, if not all, of the releases from Ying Tan's Groove Note label, but this one is somewhat better in that regard. What's really impressive is the spatial accuracy of the the instruments and vocals within the sound field, especially in that the piano does not creep across the sound stage as if it were as large as one's listening room.

In this regard, the backup musicians are tastefully arranged as if Lauren White, our young songstress, were appearing on stage in a small cabaret. They are, Bill Cunliffe or Brian Piper on piano (Cunliffe being a regular player on Groove Note releases), Anthony Wilson on guitar, Ricky Woodard on tenor sax, Chuck Berghofer on bass, Mark Ferber on drums and Joe Boggs is featured on the Hammond Organ. The cadre differs from track to track some times with as little as just the piano and bass while others feature electric guitar, drums and a saxophone as well. In all of the songs, the listener gets the impression that the musicians are anchored to a location that doesn't waver. This recording is a stereo-only SACD, but presents a plausible stage as noted. There is nothing within or on the disc that indicates whether this is a pure DSD recording or not.

The selection of the tunes is very unusual. They range from such traditional jazz standards as Ellington's "Love For Sale" to Leon Russell's "Superstar" and Orbison's "Blue Bayou." The latter two don't appear in jazz based recordings very often, but Cunliffe et al manage to present them to us as if they belonged in the genre, even though this takes some mental adjustment.

Lauren White's singing is another matter, though, and I must admit that this sounds to me as if the young lady isn't quite ready to tackle those tunes that demand a formidable delivery. She will need to develop more stamina and learn to sing from the diaphragm if she wants to give us a convincing rendition of something so difficult as "At Last," the title track. I'll give her an A for her efforts though; this is, after all, her very first release.

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Review by Solaris June 16, 2009 (1 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Good sound but Stereo only

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