Mark Bransfield: Night Time (2006)
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.
Track Listing: I Can't Give You Anything But Love; I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me; They Can't Take That Away from Me; Opposites Attract; Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea; I've Got the World on a String; Nice Work If You Can Get It; I've Got a Right to Cry; Prelude to a Kiss; I'm Getting Sentimental Over You; Baby I Fly Alone; Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me; Moments; I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance with You.
Personnel: Mark Bransfield: vocals; Beegie Adair: piano; Andy Reiss: guitar; Roger Spencer: bass; Chris Brown: drums.
Record Label: Black Dirt Records