Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Lauren White: Out of the Past

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

West Coast singer-songwriter hipster Mark Winkler, who produced Lauren White’s latest, has long maintained a predilection for vintage L.A. themes, primarily the cool California sound of the 1950s and ’60s. Here he turns up the heat and turns back the clock, rewinding a decade or so to the era of classic film noir.

White, an Angeleno by choice (she was born and raised in New York and began her career in East Coast musical theatre), is an ideal choice for Winkler’s judiciously curated playlist, both for her innate sultriness and her acting chops, essential to tunes intended to propel dark, twisted narratives. Backed by a sinewy, red-blooded rhythm section-pianist Mitchel Forman, bassist Trey Henry and drummer Abe Lagrimas Jr.-and various guests (including a lush string quartet anchored by violinist Lisa Liu), White skillfully navigates appropriately crepuscular arrangements by award-winning theatre and film composer Kathryn Bostic.

The moody playlist travels from the shadowy desire of “Laura” and chilled despair of “I’d Rather Have the Blues” (introduced by Nat King Cole in Kiss Me Deadly) to the fiery swells of “Amado Mio” (from Gilda) and saucy pluck of “I’m Gonna Go Fishin'” (from Ellington’s score for Anatomy of a Murder). Winkler adds one original, “When All the Lights in the Sign Worked,” which serves as a smart, tart opener for the eight vintage tracks that follow.

Purchase this issue from Barnes & Noble or Apple Newsstand. Print and digital subscriptions are also available.

Originally Published