The San Francisco Bay Area in the 60’s had such a diverse and vibrant music scene, and growing up there, Michael was exposed to and influenced by so many different artists of that era who performed at Winterland, The Fillmore and other venues that a kid could get into! Artists ranging from Santana to Miles Davis, Otis Redding to Cream! What a fantastic time that was!
Being influenced and inspired first, by the British bands who stormed our radio airwaves and later by Stevie Wonder, Al Green, Kenny Rankin, Bobby Caldwell, Donny Hathaway and many others. Jazz vocalists like Chet Baker and Frank Sinatra came later to Michael, and whether intentional or not, he believes that all of those influences coalesced into what he sounds like today.
Michael's voice has been compared to a host of artists including, Chet Baker, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Bobby Caldwell, Sam Cooke, Michael Buble' and others. There are probably bits and pieces of all of them in that voice!
Michael's original tunes are Jazz(ish) with nods to his influences. Michael has recorded songs from artists as varied as Sinatra, The Animals, Coltrane, Bill Henderson, Van Morrison, Beatles to Bill Evans. As Michael says, "If it has a great melody and lyric, I'm in!"
It's always tempting when hearing singers to play the "sounds like" game. I know I caught echoes of Bobby Darin, Mel Torme, Sinatra, and Jack Jones. Nobody grows up in a vacuum: if we're alive, we absorb things. But what struck me about Mike Winkle is that - at this juncture in a career that has included forays in and out of various musical genres - he's a genuinely accomplished jazz vocalist with a voice all his own. He knows how to use it, and has the good sense and good fortune to have surrounded himself with an arranger and a group of players that, together, produce a gorgeous sound! In my view, Mike Winkle and the band are another high point on the Portland jazz scene!
Bernie Knaub Oregon Jazz Scene Performance Review
Just when you’re sure that the male of the species has virtually disappeared from the realm of quality jazz/pop singing, along comes Michael Winkle to set your mind at ease! Michael Winkle manages to straddle the line between pop and jazz without ever losing his balance!
George Fendel, Oregon Jazz Scene