'A lovely collection of standards' is how Ian Shaw refers to this album, and he's spot on, as usual: give or take the odd Randy Newman song and a closing blues (Willie Dixon's 'Little Red Rooster'), this is exactly what talented debutant singer Mark Jennett serves up on this lively and consistently listenable album.

Jennett is not one of those intensely emotional singers who wear their bleeding hearts on their sleeves; he is, rather, of the Ella school, relying on faultless diction and interpretative intelligence to get the lyrics across (and his choice of standards, it must be said, is impeccable in this regard: 'Day In Day Out', 'I'll Take Romance', 'Too Marvellous for Words', 'You Go to My Head', 'Easy to Love' have seldom received more sensitive treatments, their every word made to count, their every internal rhyme subtly emphasised, their wry humour and wit skilfully drawn from them).

Given Jennett's pleasingly informal but technically assured delivery, songs such as 'The Surrey with the Fringe on Top' and 'The Song is You' reveal felicities custom may have staled for some listeners, and overall, with Robin Aspland/Barry Green (piano), Jeremy Brown (bass) and Steve Brown/Tristan Mailliot (drums) providing impeccable support, this is a wholly likeable and assured album.

Chris Parker, Vortex Jazz

A bright debut… He delivers on a convincing set of standards with his supple turn of phrase assisted by the lively comping of pianist Robin Aspland and others.


Rooted in an easy high baritone, his smiling, rhythmic style stands out and there is an intelligence in his approach to standards. Accompanied by some of the country's best musicians there are some nice arrangements here, particularly Willie Dixon's 'Little Red Rooster'.

The Singer

A warm, clear voice… the lyrics shine through beautifully. Fine work by the backing musicians.

The Pink Paper

Mark Jennett is a welcome addition to the small roster of that rare beast, the male jazz singer. On this, his new album, The Way I Am, Mark has assembled a first rate team of Brit players and with the guidance of the very fine Anita Wardell as producer, turned out a lovely collection of standards. His clear voice is well suited to Mercer, Arlen and Porter and on Randy Newman's I Don't Want to Hear It Anymore and the Willie Dixon song Little Red Rooster he shows us his soulful, bluesy side.

Ian Shaw

When I listen to classic jazz songs I want to hear the melody, the lyric, the wit, the sadness, the joy, the love, the irony and the sensuality.

I want to hear it all, sung with a voice that sings and a band that swings. A band that gives a singer space, and rips into solos giving the whole set drama and dynamic range. Telling me the tale in a personal way.

I want to close my eyes and imagine they are in the room with me, or I am in some intimate place near the band lost in the Music, a glass of good wine in my hand and good company by my side.

The Way I Am delivers this to me. Mark has all this with warmth and tenderness and a smile you can almost touch, simmering just below the surface on songs such as Too Marvellous, The Surrey With The Fringe On Top and naturally, I'm All Smiles.

From the opening tenderness of Day In Day Out to the louche Little Red Rooster through Its Only A Paper Moon taken away from the four on the floor swing, giving it a lightness of touch… this debut recording from Mark Jennett is a treasure.

Carol Grimes

Great debut album, great band and great arrangements! Mark has a clarity of tone and diction that make for effortless listening, and many jealous Jazz singers!

Iain MacKenzie

Great choice of songs, fantastic backing musicians and a vocalist on his way to a great career.

Mark Jennett is an asset to the jazz world and has arrived at the right time. The Way I Am is a winner.

David Mossman, founder of The Vortex Jazz Club