All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

6

Mark Winkler: The Laura Nyro Project

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
The combination of a unique and beautifully au courant voice with an equally rare and manifold composing talent makes for compelling listening. When the voice is that of vocalist/songwriter Mark Winkler and the songs are by Laura Nyro, the resulting project reaches criticality rapidly. Winkler has been composing and recording for the better part of 30 years, releasing ten recordings and penning upwards to 150 songs in that time. His previous recording, Sweet Spot (Cafe Pacific Records, 2011) was praised widely and featured some of Winkler's most recent composing.

Presently, Winkler turns his attention to a project that has be percolating for some time. Laura Nyro (1947-1997) was a prominent '60s singer/songwriter who composed several notable songs made famous for other artists: Three Dog Night's "Eli's Coming," Blood, Sweat & Tears' (and Peter, Paul & Mary's) "And When I Die," and the Fifth Dimension's "Stone Soul Picnic" and "Wedding Bell Blues," as well as writing songs covered by Barbra Streisand, and Diana Ross and the Supremes. She was a part of the famous Brill Building machine, adding jazz and folk inflections to the "sound" during its heyday.

Winkler takes Nyro's "hybrid" Brill Building sound, adding his own elegance. The lion's share of the selections are arranged by Winkler's long-collaborating pianist Eli Brueggemann, who thoughtfully marries instruments and solos effectively into the families of these Nyro tunes. "And When I Die" is propelled by an assertive bass figure plucked by Dan Lutz, who is the common thread drawn through all of the ensemble pieces. "Stone Soul Picnic" has a gentle funk to it. Arranged by Winkler and pianist on this song, Rich Eames, "Picnic" is transformed into a light and hip stroll, well-suited to Winkler's beautifully unusual voice. Pat Kelly's guitar is svelte and precise, supplementing the song's jazz bona fides.

Winkler and arranger Eames make "California Shoeshine Boy" a gospel romp down the aisle at the church of rhythm and blues. Brueggemann's solo is two-fisted and muscular, challenging Winkler to his edgiest singing. The arrangement of "Time and Love" is cleverly based on pianist Ahmad Jamal's performance of "Moonlight in Vermont," while "Sweet Blindness" follows the same formula as the opening piece with a slick 4/4 stroll, accented by Bob Sheppard's tenor saxophone dueling with Nolan Shaheed's trumpet. John Mills and Elmer Hopper join Winkler with some swing vocals.

"Save The Country" and "Billy's Blues" are Winkler duets with pianist Eric Reed, who solidly puts the soul into the pieces, pushing Winkler to some of his best singing on the disc. The star among stars is Winkler's exceptional voice, one possessing that indefinable quality that makes it memorable without exactly understanding what is so superb about it. The Laura Nyro Project betrays the care and love Winkler and company put into the session; this is an excellent vocal outing by any measure.

Track Listing: And When I Die; Stone Soul Picnic; California Shoeshine Boy; Time and Love; Sweet Blindness; He’s a Runner; Emmie; Upstairs By a Chinese Lamp; Buy and Sell; Save the Country; Billy’s Blues.

Personnel: Mark Winkler: vocals; Eli Brueggemann: piano (1, 3-6, 8) organ (1, 5); Rick Eames: piano (2, 3); Jamieson Trotter: piano (7); Eric Reed: piano (10, 11); Dan Lutz: bass; Pat Kelly: guitar (2); Anthony Wilson: guitar (7); Larry Koonse: guitar (5, 8, 9); Peter Buck: drums, percussion (1, 3-6, 8, 9); Dave Tull: drums, percussion (2); Michael Smith: percussion (7, 8); Bob Sheppard: tenor saxophone (1, 4, 5), flute(8); Nolan Shaheed: trumpet (5); Mitch Ellis: background vocals (2); Cheryl Bentyne: background vocals (7); John Mills: background vocals (5); Elmer Hopper: background vocals (5).

Title: The Laura Nyro Project | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Cafe Pacific Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Eastern Standard Time

Eastern Standard Time

Mark Winkler
Eastern Standard Time

Walk Between the Raindrops

Walk Between the Raindrops

Mark Winkler
The Company I Keep

Stone Soul Picnic

Stone Soul Picnic

Mark Winkler
The Laura Nyro Project

CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Eastern Standard Time

Eastern Standard Time

Cafe Pacific Records
2018

buy
The Company I Keep

The Company I Keep

Cafe Pacific Records
2017

buy
Jazz and Other Four Letter Words

Jazz and Other Four...

Cafe Pacific Records
2015

buy
The Laura Nyro Project

The Laura Nyro Project

Cafe Pacific Records
2013

buy
Sweet Spot

Sweet Spot

Cafe Pacific Records
2011

buy
Till I Get It Right

Till I Get It Right

Iris REcords
2009

buy

Related Articles

Read New Hope CD/LP/Track Review
New Hope
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 23, 2018
Read The Nobuki Takamen Trio CD/LP/Track Review
The Nobuki Takamen Trio
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 23, 2018
Read Light Of Love CD/LP/Track Review
Light Of Love
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 23, 2018
Read Heaven Steps To Seven CD/LP/Track Review
Heaven Steps To Seven
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 23, 2018
Read In The Blue Light CD/LP/Track Review
In The Blue Light
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 23, 2018
Read Dreams And Other Stories CD/LP/Track Review
Dreams And Other Stories
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2018
Read "Straight Ahead" CD/LP/Track Review Straight Ahead
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 26, 2018
Read "Sediments" CD/LP/Track Review Sediments
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 10, 2018
Read "Heritage" CD/LP/Track Review Heritage
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 3, 2018
Read "The Cheap Ensemble" CD/LP/Track Review The Cheap Ensemble
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 10, 2017
Read "Avant-Garde Party Music" CD/LP/Track Review Avant-Garde Party Music
by John Sharpe
Published: January 1, 2018
Read "Joe Frazier Round 3 (CD Single)" CD/LP/Track Review Joe Frazier Round 3 (CD Single)
by John Kelman
Published: June 6, 2018