At last, a young, male singer not transfixed by the Rat Pack! Mark Bransfield's voice on Night Time
is an immediate lure: a perfect amalgam of Lester Young's feathery lightness and Mel Torme's velvety fog. His vibrato-less tone and relaxed, ever-so-lightly behind the beat phrasing is an inspiring setting for this creative mix of standards and originals.
With spare accompaniment, Bransfield is reflective and pensive on "Nice Work If You Can Get It" and lovingly languid on Duke Ellington's "Prelude to a Kiss." There is no superficial slickness in these presentations. Everything seems bona fide and sincere. While mostly relaxed and sentimental, Bransfield also is hilariously frustrated in the winning and philosophical "Opposites Attract." Few other singers could pull off as clever a song as this and sound thoroughly convincing.
He's even better when left unprotected: his guitar duet on "I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance with You" is gripping and dramatic, likewise his after-hours piano teamwork on Gershwin's "They Can't Take That Away from Me." He slips out of the mold on the Jackson Brownish "Baby I Fly Alone" and "Moments," but the vulnerable voice is still there. If you want to hear Prez with lyrics, Night Time is a treat for the ears.
Personnel: Mark Bransfield: vocals; Beegie Adair: piano; Andy Reiss: guitar; Roger
Spencer: bass; Chris Brown: drums.