Mark Winkler and Cheryl Bentyne, “Like Jazz,” from Eastern Standard Time (Cafe Pacific Records)
Vocalists Mark Winkler and Cheryl Bentyne share an affinity for vintage jazz and sophisticated style. Their first CD together, 2013’s West Coast Cool, was a finely curated, brilliantly polished collection of songs from the West Coast “cool” scene, highly acclaimed for its mix of authenticity and originality. For their new project, Eastern Standard Time (Cafe Pacific Records), Winkler and Bentyne reprise a similarly era-specific concept, but this time, they’re taking things “back East.” The album includes songs associated with the New York City club and cabaret scene of the late ‘50s and ‘60s — as well as a handful of originals — and the result is a hip, cultivated set of tunes that ring with historical richness and emotional depth.
The Winkler-penned “Like Jazz” is a sultry love song set against the backdrop of jazz history, in which Winkler and Bentyne compare their love interests to the sights and sounds of jazz. “You’re like Mark Murphy singing it,” croons Winkler, to which Bentyne replies, “You’re like Betty Carter swinging it.” It’s the kind of sonnet Shakespeare would have written had he been a 52nd Street hipster, only Winkler and Bentyne enrich it with a poetry all their own.