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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