Lauren White: Life in the Modern World

Nicholas F. Mondello By

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Vocalist, actress, producer.... Lauren White does it all. And, as befits a Renaissance artist, she not only excels, but also explores the unique, the compelling and the substantive. With Life in the Modern World she and her team of Los Angeles aces do precisely that, delivering 11 fine selections, most lesser-known, but each a certified gem.

Things break with a lively take on Ivan Lins' "Life in the Modern World," with White complemented by energized solos by guitarist Grant Geissman and flugelhornist Michael Stever. 'Till I Get It Right" has White back-and-forthing with vocalist/co-producer Mark Winkler, sending up sass in front of the tight ensemble. "Signing Off," originally done by Ella Fitzgerald and rarely heard, has White blue and saying au revoir. "How Little We Know" gets a cha-cha redo via Quinn Johnson's arrangement and Johnson's piano and Dave Mann's flute solo. "Monk's New Tune" is a strutter. White delivers it with punch and great shadings. Slow and satiny-brewed, "Coffee" is an inviting, intimate hook-up. The hip arrangement of Lionel Hampton's "Midnight Sun" has White going Latin with a strong rhythmic treatment. "Slow Down" is a quirky bouncer where the singer advises and the trumpeter preaches. Charles Mingus' "Ellington's Sound of Love" is a gorgeously "lush" take on life. "In a New York Minute" is a baked Apple that drives gritty with Team W voicing over the ensemble and with a tasty Francisco Torres trombone solo. Paul Simon's politically-tinged "American Tune" ends the session powerfully.

Originally from "Gatsby's Gold Coast," White has gilded pipes of her own and Swiss-watch swing. Her lyric interaction is savvy and not overdone, even on more lyric-intensive tracks. Her approach to her material has an air of exploration and development. She probes. The horns and rhythm section are A-1, excelling throughout. The variety of the material, supplemented by great arrangements. is a production coup.

Life in the Modern World offers fine music where one is drawn into a world where unique is the name of the game and talent is the flavor of the day.

Track Listing: Life in the Modern World; 'Till I Get It Right; Signing Off; How Little We Know; Monk's New Tune; Coffee; Midnight Sun; Slow Down; Ellington's Sound of Love; In a New York Minute; American Tune.

Personnel: Lauren White: vocals; Quinn Johnson: piano; Kevin Axt: bass; David Finck: bass (4); Marvin "Smitty" Smith: drums (2, 3, 6, 8, 10); Chris Wabich: drums (1, 5, 7, 9, 11); Kevin Winard: drums (4), percussion (4, 8, 11); Grant Geissman: guitar; Alex Budman: horns; Francisco Torres: trombone; Tatum Greenblatt: trumpet (4); Michael Stever: flugelhorn (1); trumpet (2, 5, 8, 10); David Mann: flute; Mark Winkler: vocals (2, 10).

Title: Life in the Modern World | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Cafe Pacific Records

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