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Singer/Songwriter Mark Winkler Tops JazzWeek Chart And Receives Wide Acclaim For 'Late Bloomin’ Jazzman,' His 20th Album, An Homage To Aging

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Late Bloomin’ Jazzman may just be his best. ****
—Allen Morrison, Downbeat Magazine
Late Bloomin' Jazzman, Mark Winkler’s 20th album, released in April 2022 on his Café Pacific Records label, may be his homage to aging, but the 72-year-old singer and songwriter is not about to slow down any time soon. Each of his previous projects has received stellar reviews and consistently topped the jazz charts, and his latest offering may be his most successful yet. Late Bloomin’ Jazzman spent 11 weeks at the top of the JazzWeek radio chart, peaking at #7. Earning a 4-star review in DownBeat Magazine, esteemed jazz journalist Allen Morrison agrees, saying “Late Bloomin’ Jazzman may just be his best.” The album also enjoyed commercial success and hit #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases for Jazz Vocals.

Jeff Tamarkin of JazzTimes chimed in similarly, saying “The original material reveals new lyrical pearls with each fresh listen; as long as there are still conscious, creative songwriters such as Mark Winkler to do the job, we’re in good hands.” Rex Reed of The Observer summarized Winkler’s prolific output saying “Mark Winkler is a musical marvel and a true original! At last, a writer who sings and a singer who swings!”

Indeed, with an abundance of fans on the West and East coasts, it is easy for Winkler to fill a house wherever he performs. In the last few years Winkler has mostly focused on standards, the East Coast Jazz Scene in the '50s and '60s, and the songs of Bobby Troup. On Late Bloomin’ Jazzman, Winkler wrote lyrics to eight of the 12 tracks.

Over the years he has performed and recorded with a range of top jazz artists including David Benoit, Cheryl Bentyne, Steve Tyrell, John Beasley, Eric Reed, John Clayton, Grant Geissman, and many others. He has performed across the USA and the world at renowned venues including Birdland, The Blue Note, and Iridium in NYC, Hugh’s Room in Toronto, Jazz at Five in Madison, WI; the 606 Club in London, Shibuya Club Quattro in Tokyo, Syracuse Jazz Festival, and Jazz on the Plazz in Los Gatos.

Winkler is a prolific lyricist whose songs have been recorded or performed by a Who’s Who of well-known singers, including Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Steve Tyrell, Claire Martin, Jackie Ryan, Randy Crawford, Cheryl Bentyne, Kenny Rankin, Jane Monheit, Sara Gazarek, and Ben Vereen, among others. Liza Minnelli titled her CD Tropical Nights after one of Winkler’s songs. The roster of Winkler’s songwriting collaborators is equally impressive and includes David Benoit, Wayne Shorter, Joe Sample, Dexter Gordon, Dianne Reeves, and Lorraine Feather.

For Late Bloomin’ Jazzman, Winkler brought into the studio some of the top players in Southern California, including David Benoit, Jamieson Trotter, Rich Eames, and Jon Mayer on piano, John Clayton and Gabe Davis on bass, Christian Euman on drums, Grant Geissman on guitar, Bob Sheppard on saxophone, Brian Swartz on trumpet, Nolan Shaheed on trumpet, and Kevin Winard on percussion. This is also the eighth album he has worked on with Barbara Brighton as producer.

Although Winkler is a popular performer and recording artist, he is also a very successful songwriter, and Late Bloomin' Jazzman is a wonderful showcase to highlight both. As an educator, Winkler teaches a lyric writing course called “Crafting Great Lyrics: A Songwriters Workshop” at UCLA extension and at the Los Angeles School of Songwriting.

Be on the lookout for Winkler’s 21st release, coming in mid-2023

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