There is a cadre of West Coast jazz musicians who tacitly orbit one Mark Winkler
. This embarrassing wealth of talent includes: Cheryl Bentyne
, Dolores Scozzesi
, Judy Wexler
, Robyn Spangler
, Gary Brumburgh
, Jeffery Gimble, Ada Bird Wolfe
, and our present subject, Lauren White
. White, an original East Coast product, expatriated to Westward to act and sing...and record. Her previous recording, Life In The Modern World
(Cafe pacific Records, 2019) was the (unknowing) opening bookend to a most curious cultural year we are just completing. Considering the view from here and now, that album could have just as well been entitled, Life on Mars
(with apologies to David Bowie
). Life In The Modern World
is now potently ironic considering our Darwinian, Covid-19 wake up call.
Eighteen months or so later, White reacts to the plague year with Ever Since The World Ended
, the title piece a composition of Tippo, MS native Mose Allison
. from his 2006 Blue Note recording of the same name. White shares vocal duties with friend and colleague Dolores Schozzesi. White used the pandemic as a programming opportunity, bringing together songs sung in response to the veritable unknown and never experienced.
Supported again by pianist Quinn Johnson
and his rhythm section of bassist Trey Henry
and drummer Ray Brinker
. Lockdown and quarantine is captured in Bill Withers' "Just The Two Of Us," and the chestnut "Alone Together," an experience had by so many that the phrase, "the new normal," actually makes sense. The introversion of the period is expressed in the juxtaposition of "Remembering the Rain" (this helmed by bassist Kevin Axt
, guitarist Grant Geissman
, and drummer Chris Wabich
) with "Some of that Sunshine."
White closes her recital with Jimmy Webb's plaintive "Shattered," completing the circle that began with Life In The Modern World
, a modern world showing that the Medieval remains among us. White expands an already impressive artistry with a great mind for programming nuance. Higher themes enhance the listening experience, something White, and the rest of her West Coast Cadre, has internalized and put into capable practice. White's sturdy yet pliable alto guides a delicate balance through the disparate, yet related songs: soothing and accepting.
If You Never Fall In Love With Me; Just The Two Of Us; Ever Since The World Ended; Alone
Together; Remembering The Rain; Some Of That Sunshine; Take Love Easy; Shattered.
Kevin Winard: percussion; Alex Budman: flute; Kevin Axt: bass; Grant Geissman: guitar; Chris Wabich: drums.