Kendra Shank: Wish

Kendra Shank sounds like sunlight shining through a stained-glass window, her crystalline tone illuminating each song. Working her voice like a horn, she phrases inventively, whether crisp and sizzling or sensuously smoky. She’s definitely an original, as were Betty Carter, Abbey Lincoln, Shirley Horn, and Sheila Jordan.

The album contains only two swinging standards, “You and the Night and the Music” and “Softly as in a Morning Sunrise.” The remaining 10 tracks are more adventurous, including forays into Lincoln’s “Should’ve Been” and “Angel Face.” More obscure charts and intriguing originals demonstrate Shank’s versatility, elegant phrasing and compelling clarity.

After living in San Diego, Seattle, and Paris, performing in clubs and festivals, Shank moved to New York. Her debut album, Afterglow, was co-produced by Horn in 1994. Wish features the brilliant Frank Kimbrough on piano, time-master Victor Lewis on drums, Seattle colleagues Hans Teuber on saxophone and Jeff Johnson on bass, plus vibraphonist and co-writer Joe Locke on the title track.