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Mark Winkler: Late Bloomin' Jazzman


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Mark Winkler: Late Bloomin' Jazzman
Anyone who can hold their own on a stage on in a studio with Cheryl Bentyne cannot be all bad, right? Even if one's taste runs more to Harry Connick, Jr than to Mark Murphy, it is difficult not to get seriously into Mark Winkler. Oh, he can sing, for sure, but even if he could not carry a tune, he is a lyricist for the ages. Not all ages, mind you. But for those of a certain age, sensibility, and experience. As people are wont to say of life, "tell me your truth," not tell me the truth. Winkler tells the audience his truth. And more than a few will nod in agreement. Winkler may be a romantic, but he is no fool.

"You're playing better than in your well-regarded youth...the prodigies come and go, don't they?" If there is a mirror image to "September Song," "Late Bloomin' Jazzman" must be it, and Brian Swartz' tart trumpet adds the exclamation point. Yeah, novelty is sometimes confused with talent, or youth with beauty. Is it not, one thinks, the truth of the well-traveled?

"Bossa Nova Days" really drives it home. "I wasn't born for these times, music's not musical, and words don't even rhyme." Winkler remembers being lost in those bossa nova days, "singing of lost romance, sand beneath my feet." You, too, brother? "Take me back," he intones. Well, maybe not to Brazil, but some less exotic shore worked just as well. There were wars in 1967, too, but they had not visited one's doorstep yet. Not better times, but memory convinces otherwise. "Old Enough" explains it all. With ironic good humor. "I'm old enough not to be fooled by the lights and the show." "This time the clever is gone." And one gets it, including, "too many notes and too little feeling." Rueful, but funny. "I'm still young enough to know that I don't know that much." Point taken.

Too sentimental? Maudlin? Then try "Old Devil Moon." Winkler can swing, and he does not try too hard. The musicians are especially well placed here: Rich Eames on piano; Bob Sheppard on tenor sax; Christian Euman on drums; Gabe Davis on bass; and Grant Geissman on guitar, with Brian Swartz playing a solid backup line. Players of this caliber make it easier for a singer to sound good.

"Marlena's Memories" is almost too painful to hear, but a good reminder of how ordinary are the sources of pain. Winkler confesses he once wrote bad songs. Somehow, that seems implausible.

There are twelve tracks here. It really is not possible to write about all of them. And probably not necessary. To paraphrase a Founding Father, "If you have to ask, you will never know." A memorable performance indeed in a most memorable career.

Track Listing

It Ain't Necessarily So; Don't Be Blue; When All The Light in The Sign Worked; Late Bloomin Jazzman; In Another Way; Boss Nova Days; Old Devil Moon; I Always Had A Thing For You; Before You Leave; Old Enough; Marlena's Memories; If Gershwin Had Lived.


David Benoit: piano; John Clayton: bass; Jamieson Trotter: piano; Bob Sheppard: saxophone, tenor; Nolan Shaheen: flugelhorn; Kevin Winard: drums; Jon Mayer: piano; Gabe Davis: bass, acoustic; Clayton Cameron: drums; Brian Swartz: trumpet; Grant Geissman: guitar; Christian Euman: drums; Mark Winkler: voice / vocals.

Album information

Title: Late Bloomin' Jazzman | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Cafe Pacific Records

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