June 2003

Mark Winkler
Sings Bobby Troup

There isn't anything faux about Mark Winkler. Like the California hipster he honors on Mark Winkler Sings Bobby Troup (Rhombus), he's the real deal. "When I sing 'Lemon Twist' I imagine I'm wearing a turtleneck and holding a martini and all is right with the world," says Winkler. "When I sing Bobby Troup, I can't help but feel cool." And cool-Dave Frishberg cool, swimming pool cool, Sunset Strip cool-he is. Preparing to follow up his 2000 success Easy the Hard Way with another mix of originals and standards, Winkler stumbled across a few of Troup's '50s recordings. He has since become an unrepentant Troupaholic. With reckless panache, he dives headlong into the Troup songbook. All the classics-"Route 66," "Walkin' Shoes," "Girl Talk," "Baby, Baby All the Time"-are here. Lesser-known gems like "Three Bears" and "Hungry Man" shine equally bright. Winkler's laid-back style suggests a cocktail shaker filled with one part Jane Monheit and two parts Donald Fagen-a spirited combination of cabaret verve and jazzy-FM reserve. There are also distinct echoes of Matt Dennis' indolent urbanity. How delightful, then, to discover that Winkler has unearthed the previously unrecorded Troup-Dennis collaboration "Learn to Love." Given to Winkler by Dennis himself (just weeks before his death), it is a gorgeous homage to two musical geniuses by a budding third.

Originally published in June 2003

Add a Comment

You need to log in to comment on this article. No account? No problem!