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.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.