As a set-up to the rest of At Last, the title track effectively implies Callaway’s intentions of making each song a story in itself as she moves from the wonder of "What Is This Thing Called Love?" to her own final composition about perseverence, "Finding Beauty," which offers its own sense of beauty akin to an Michel Legrand/Alan and Marilyn Bergman song, concise with apt interlocking of emotions, lyrics and melody. No wonder Barbra Streisand asked Callaway to write the lyrics to her own wedding song. Coincidentally nor not, Callaway ends At Last with a Legrand/Bergman/Bergman song, "On My Way to You," which is entirely consistent with the feel of her own writing. In between those beginning and ending tracks of At Last Callaway presents her own finely developed repertoire of love songs that reinforce each other in content and move sequentially to logical conclusion.
The breadth of Callaway’s talent and the length of her resume defy the categorization that some jazz listeners prefer. "Over the Rainbow" doesn’t receive re-modulation or scat singing,but Callaway sings it, complete with verse, for all the emotional power that it evokes, employing her surety of pitch and width of her range for great effect, not as a complement to Judy Garland’s version but as a continuation of her albums narrative journey. Though Callaway has sung with symphony orchestra, jazz bands, in cabaret settings, on Broadway, on TV entertainment shows and even in the film The Good Shepherd, there’s no denying not only her interest in, but her personalized adaptation of jazz singing. Who does her version of "What Is This Thing Called Love?" remind one of but Sarah Vaughan, with her way of trilling notes or employing characteristic swoops or chromatic descents or scatting or implying swing even during rests or ending the song on a ninth? Callaways encouragement from George Shearing comes through during her chorus of unison singing with Rosenthal’s block-chord playing. In addition, Callaway enjoys the interaction with some of the current generation’s top jazz musicians, such as her comical colloquy with Wycliffe Gordon on "Comes Love," during which he sings too, but through the trombone with the growl from his muting and the blue notes expressed in several octaves before the key change.
Though Ann Hampton Callaway has recorded often, At Last provides a continuity of thought and feeling throughout the CD that makes it a total package, rather than a random selection of songs. And the emotion that that song evoked during the inaugural balls give a clue of what one would hear on the album.