Not many jazz singers can say they learned their craft singing in some of the better hotels in China but so it is with Allie Webb. Now back in the United States, she has released a five-track EP titled The Lark.
Webb is a laid back vocalist who has a clear voice with a good tonal quality. It is a voice made for a smoky lounge late at night when the lights are low. She surrounds herself with a basic backing group consisting of pianist Sang Hee Cho, bassist Eric Good, drummer Jim Watson, plus vocalist/guitarist Marcus Weakley on one track. They carry the melody along without intruding on her vocals.
Three of the tracks are from the Great American Songbook. The Johnny Mercer/Johnny Mandel tune “Emily,” Cole Porter’s “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To,” and the Hoagy Carmichael/Johnny Mercer composition “Skylark” have been interpreted many times. Webb gives them a light and breezy treatment that has a easy and pleasant flow. Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Triste” is given a straight forward treatment.
The most creative track is a cover of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi,” which she moves from pop to jazz. In many ways the song is almost unrecognizable and hints at a talent of being ably to transform modern pop songs in unexpected directions.
The Lark is limited in some ways because of its short length and as such presents only a taste of her style and talent. What is here is very good and makes one wish for a full-length album.