Singer-songwriter Mark Winkler is the perfect combination of Randy Neuman’s casually hewn swagger and Michael Feinstein’s sleek jazz glides. He courts sophistication with the same vigor that he lassos street soul. Winkler’s latest release Till I Get It Right is a delightful jaunt of springy piano keys, rollicking fields of bopping beats, and alcoves of mystical passages aglow with moonbeams and crystal-studded glitter. Produced by Barbara Brighton, Till I Get It Right shows Winkler has indeed gotten it right with original tunes that will have people dancing in the aisles and enjoying a quiet evening in deep contemplation or with the one who pulls at their heart-strings all bundled into one tidy package.
Winkler’s lyrics can be as poetically versed as a Robert Frost poem or as blunt as a best friend’s words who is looking out for your best interest. His words are direct and cut to the heart of the matter expeditiously. He harbors no disguise when sings, parlaying a flirty zoot-suit jazz vocalese in his duet with singer Cheryl Bentyne in "Cool," into bare-naked vulnerability in the balladry trains of "In A Lonely Place" as he admits unashamedly, "I let myself believe you were someone you could never be." He knows how to whoop it up like in the rollicking grooves groomed with quick-step flicking riffs in the title track, and he is prolific at administering a lover’s serenade like in "Spring Is Where You Are." He gallivants with confidence along "Future Street" and nips at being cheeky in "How Can That Make You Fat?" The tropical island-slant in the tendrils flouncing loosely along "Evolution" have a soft breezy sway, and the cool strut of Winkler’s vocals in "How To Pack A Suitcase" is lathered in bluesy-soul suds. He saddles steeds of joy and sorrow with sanguine sentimentality and fairness for both. The cocktail jazz coziness of "In The Moment" is brimming with smiling Spanish-flavored guitar chords, and the swanky jazz cuts of "Sissies" cloth is attired with curvaceous saxophone swoops.
Singer-songwriter Mark Winkler cuts to the heart of the matter in the songs on Till I Get It Right. With all original tracks, the album has a flesh and blood feel to it, like these tunes were not imagined but actually lived in and all a part of someone’s private journal. As a listener, you feel like a voyeur privy to someone’s life and learning from it. The music shimmies and shakes with springs under its feet, and Winkler adjusts his vocals to its coordinates. It’s a true fit for lyrics that have meaning in its soles. Winkler touts "feeling lucky" in "Future Street," and indeed he is for having made an album like this.