Various new vocalists emerge onto the jazz scene every year, but young Texan Lauren White invests the standards and originals of debut At Last with gratifying honesty, showcasing her vocal and songwriting talents. One tune that immediately stands out is "Superstar," the Delaney and Bonnie hit best known from the Carpenters' hit 1971 version. White's delivery claims the song as her own, not easy to do with a tune so closely associated with another artist, while the 20-year-old's reading of Roy Orbison's "Blue Bayou" is a successful translation to the soft Brazilian tones of bossa nova. Of the originals, "Do You Remember?" is quite memorable — over a bluesy arrangement that highlights the lyrics, White looks back over good times gone by with a certain melancholy but not outright sadness. She does Bobby Darin's hit "Mack the Knife" justice, following producer Joe Harley's lead and offering pianist Bill Cunliffe plenty of room to display his chops. Even in weaker moments like the title song, White comes off well, whetting listeners' appetite to hear how she sounds live.
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