Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Mark Winkler Plays It Cool

Singer/songwriter takes his smooth, sharp L.A. vibe to both coasts

Mark Winkler

Not since Bobby Troup encouraged an entire generation to motor west has a singer-songwriter so skillfully championed California hipsterism as Mark Winkler has. Like Troup, to whom he paid album-length tribute in 2003, Winkler is, as both vocalist and lyricist, a master weaver of tunes that seem to demand gin, vermouth, a T-bird convertible and the occasional femme fatale.

These days, Winkler is finding plenty of ways to express his passions for jazz, film noir and Chet Baker-esque sangfroid. His latest album, Sweet Spot (Café Pacific) , continues an über-hip pattern established over a decade ago with Tales From Hollywood and Easy the Hard Way and elevated to chilled perfection with 2009’s Till I Get It Right. Winkler has also teamed with Manhattan Transfer soprano Cheryl Bentyne to create the stylishly retro nightclub act West Coast Cool. And this September marks the long-anticipated off-Broadway debut of Play It Cool, a jazz musical featuring Winkler’s lyrics that examines the gay L.A. scene of the 1950s from the perspective of a lesbian chanteuse-turned-cabaret proprietress. “Mark’s vast abilities in so many genres of the arts leave me breathless,” enthuses Bentyne. “He is a consummate writer, a wonderful interpreter of these incredible songs, and he does it all with wit, charm and warmth.”

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published