Mark Winkler – I’m With You – Café Pacific Records

by | Aug 29, 2019 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Mark Winkler – I’m With You – Mark Winkler Sings Bobby Troup – Café Pacific Records 43:35****

For jazz fans of the 1950s, the name Bobby Troup has a certain resonance. Prolific songwriter, jazz pianist and vocalist, as well as some prominence as a TV and movie actor, his name had a certain cachet back in the day. It was enhanced to a degree since he was married to Julie London, who was one of the most photogenic women of the period along with being a sultry songstress of romantic ballads.

Singer Mark Winkler, developed a close feeling for Bobbly Troup’s music which he first laid out in his 2002 release Mark Winkler Sings Bobby Troup. In this current offering I’m With You, through a fortuitous set of circumstances that he outlines in some detail in the liner notes, Winkler adds to his Troup repetoire with a number overlooked songs along with several of those easily recognizable Troup standards.

As the album starts with “Route 66”, it becomes abundantly clear that Winkler’s voice is perfectly suited for Troup’s material. With his easy going baritone, Winkler backed by pianist Rich Eames and with some stellar guitar work from Grant Geissman, he takes the listener on this swinging journey in a jaunty hip style aided by frisky scatting.

Most songwriters have a certain style of lyric writing that comes through whether composing a ballad or an uptempo swinger. Troup was part of that post war generation that was not bound by convention and was willing to take verbal and rhyming chances.  The result is the title track “I’m With You” which is swinging romp with B3 organist Jamieson Trotter pushing along Winkler’s  lilting vocal.

Troup’s whimsical side is readily displayed on a couple of numbers; “Snootie Little Cutie” and “ Lemon Twist”. In both these tracks Winkler captures the songs’ playfulness by adding a Latin samba beat to the former’s 40s lingo filled lyric, and with the latter he catalogues the benefits of imbibing one.

Finally, the more conventional side of Bobby Troup’s writing is displayed on two love ballads; “It Happened Once Before” and “Their Hearts Were Full Of Spring”. In both cases, Winkler takes an intimate approach to the these numbers by performing them as a vocal-instrumental duo.  The first number has Jon Mayer on piano, and on the second with Anthony Wilson on guitar. In both cases Winkler has captured the essence of the tunes with his mellow, affecting interpretations.

Mark Winkler – vocals all tracks; The Band: Tracks – 1,2,3,4,9,10 Rich Eames – piano; Gabe Davis – bass; Dave Tull – drums; Grant Geissman – guitar;  Track 5 –  Jon Mayer –  piano; Track 7 Anthony Wilson – guitar; Track 11-Anthony Wilson – guitar; Joe Bagg – Hammond B3; Mark Ferber – drums; Tracks –  6,8,12 – Jon Mayer – piano; Kevin Axt – bass; Roy McCurdy – drums;  Bob Sheppard – sax; plus  Track 10 – Ann Patterson – flute; Track 2 – Rickey Woodward – sax; Track 4 – Jameison Trotter – Hammond B3

Route 66
Please Belong To Me
I’m With You
It Happened Once Before
Three Bears
Their Hearts Were Full Of Spring
Hungry Man
In No Time
Snootie Little Cutie
Lemon Twist
Hungry Man ( Halloween Version)

—Pierre Giroux


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