Mark Winkler

City Lights

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    8
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On his four previous recordings, singer/songwriter Mark Winkler mixed genres very liberally. Drawing from pop, R&B, Latin and traditional jazz, he created daring recordings which achieved more critical than commercial success. With any luck, he will receive both for City Lights (Chartmaker), a much more focused effort. Winkler still dabbles a bit in jazz - most notably on the late night, blues-inflected trio piece "NYC Blues," which features an improvised spoken word intro - but overall, he finds a comfortable spot on the urban groove bandwagon. A master romantic lyricist, he seduces dreamily above Dan Siegel's mellow synth rhythms while exploring some unique perspectives - a playful ode to busy lovers on "Time For Love" and pinpointing "Sense of Humor" as his favorite quality in a person. The easygoing hypnosis created by Siegel's floating keyboard and Doc Powell's subtle electric guitar on "Relaxin'" sums up the overall vibe Winkler's tunes aim for. Maybe because Winkler is most interested in kicking back in the flow here, he doesn't draw upon his vocal power the way he has in the past. But the disc's many charms could make it the mass appeal breakthrough he's been seeking.

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