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BWW Review: Mark Winkler Fills Feinstein's Upstairs at Vitello's With Joy

BWW Review: Mark Winkler Fills Feinstein's Upstairs at Vitello's With Joy

Singer/songwriter Mark Winkler appeared at Feinstein's Upstairs at Vitello's Friday August 23 for a CD release party of his new album I'm With You Mark Winkler Sings Bobby Troup. Playing to a SRO house, Winkler wowed his audience by simply being his warm, personable, engaging self. He possesses a splendid vocal instrument that can cover a variety of styles, but, as shown here mostly jazz and pop. He does not push. The lush tones flow from him quite naturally. One might compare him to Jack Jones, Perry Como. He deserves without question to be among the greats.

After releasing 17 albums over the years, Winkler has devoted his passion to Bobby Troup, and there were a myriad of Troup hits in the 90 minute show. The title song "I'm With You" with lyrics by Johnny Mercer has never been recorded before. Yes, Winkler is the first to do it. Throughout the evening, he was backed by superior musicians Rich Eames at the keys, Grant Geissman on guitar, Gabe Davis on bass, Kevin Wingard on drums and Ann Patterson on flute/sax, the very same musicians who recorded the album with the exception of Wingard, who stepped in to this performance. Jon Mayer also accompanied at the piano for "It Happened Once Before" that he also arranged. He brought the house down with his incredible expertise.

Other highlights of the evening included "I Could Get Used To This" with lyrics by Winkler, a lovely rendition of Gershwin's "Nice Work If You Can Get It", "Like Young", the beautiful "I Chose the Moon" that Winkler wrote with Bill Cantos, a distinctively cool "Lemon Twist" that reminds me of "Something Cool", and a gorgeous "Please Belong To Me" in tribute to his partner of many years who passed last year.

"Bossa Nova Days" also written by Winkler with Cantos brought the audience to its feet. This song has the impact of "Girl From Ipanema" with its special rhythmic flavor reminiscent of those carefree dancing days in the 60s ... and should be a great big hit. Also included in the program were several very funny tunes, like "Snootie Little Cutie", "Triskaidekaphobia" a delicious song with unusual sounds and wordplay somewhat akin to "Supercalifragilistic", "Your Cat Plays Piano" which must be heard to be appreciated, a takeoff on cat videos and... "Three Bears" that Bobby Troup adapted from his storytelling of the fairytale Three Little Bears to daughter Cynnie as a little girl. Of course, Winkler did "Route 66" as his encore, Troup's most famous hit.

I cannot give enough praise to the orchestra behind Winkler. They all brought us such tremendous joy together and in solo spots. And, it is clear to see the wonderful chemistry that Winkler has with them. Like outstanding ensemble acting there was great harmony and fantastic timing. Pure elegance!

Winkler is indeed a class act. His phrasing is impeccable, and as a fine singer, he focuses on the lyrics really making you listen and appreciate what he is singing. Don't miss him next time around! In the meantime, buy the new CD I'm With You (link below). It will have you exulting at Troup's and Winkler's laid back style and melodious sounds.

(photo credit: Rich Kappler)

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From This Author Don Grigware