BWW Reviews - Jazz Detour: Mark Winkler's Sweet Spot

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Mark Winkler
Sweet Spot
Appearing at Vitello's
Saturday, November 19, 2011

This is one hot CD and my latest guilty pleasure. Winkler's newest collection Sweet Spot is a sleek, sexy musical departure into the land of cool that begins with an ultra-hip version of Like Young featuring not only his own unique vocals, but Bob Sheppard on sax and Eli Brueggemann on piano as well.

His original tune, Catch Me If You Can, though not related to the Broadway musical or film, has an easygoing samba groove that captures the flavor of the 60's - think James Bond with a Vesper Martini shaken, not stirred, aboard a yacht and you've got the idea. Two more of my favorite tracks are his up-tempo riff on the Gershwin brothers' But Not For Me that they originally wrote for the 1930 musical Girl Crazy, and a groovin' version of On Broadway.

In fact, you may know Winkler as a jazz composer and musician, but in the musical theatre world we know him as a longtime Broadway baby, with musicals like Naked Boys Singing!, Too Old for the Chorus, and Bark! to his credit - plus his jazz noir musical Play it Cool, which recently played the Acorn Theatre in New York and starred Sally Mayes. Included on this CD is a song from that musical, Jazz Is a Special Taste; a seductive melody that lingers like a whisper in an underground club and a lyric that ponders the dangerous reputation of jazz. The heat ramps up by the time he and guest vocalist Barbara Morrison rip into the title track Sweet Spot, a steamy little number that oozes sexy.

There's also a comedic specialty number, Somewhere in Brazil, that gets both a west coast and east coast treatment. In it a mediocre jazz singer sings of the perils of playing small-time clubs in Encino while dreaming of being in Rio. Little does he know that the keyboard player has his own daydream happening as well. From top to bottom, Sweet Spot is an irresistibly sexy CD that satisfies with each track.   

Mark Winkler will be appearing on Saturday, November 19th at Vitello's Jazz and Supper Club, 4349 Tujunga Ave, Studio City, along with Stu Elster on piano, Tim Emmons on bass, Peter Buck on drums, and Ann Patterson on saxophone. The show begins at 8:00 pm. For reservations call 818-769-0905. Mark Winkler's Sweet Spot is available on cdBaby, iTunes, Amazon and at www.markwinklermusic.com.

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Ellen Dostal In addition to being part of the west coast Broadway World team, Ellen also publishes two popular Southern California Theatre Blogs - Musicals in LA and Shakespeare in LA. An actress, singer and voiceover artist, she is also a producer with the Academy for New Musical Theatre, and works with the development of new musicals across the country.


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