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Wendy K: Just For a Thrill

Edward Blanco By

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A professional actress with a long successful career on the other side of the camera as a film and television casting director (running her own firm and collaborating with many talented directors), Wendy Kurtzman (as Wendy K) now focuses on what she's always loved the most: singing. On Just For a Thrill, K expands her horizons, evolving into the singer and recording artist of which she has always dreamed. The vocalist enters the jazz world on the lighter side with this stellar debut, her heartfelt performance of standard love songs delivered well with her soothing, velvety vocals. In 2008, after 25 years in the film industry, the Los Angeles-based K finally gave in to her love of song by creating and performing the one-woman show Something Cool, which she took on tour to various venues throughout California, as well as New York City.

Recording the majority of the tracks in LA with pianist Christopher Marlowe, drummer Brian Boyce and bassist Adrien Rosen, K's shares little of the limelight here, as her voice becomes the disc's pronounced instrument. The remainder of the album was recorded with a quintet also featuring saxophone and guitar. Focusing on classic standards and a few contemporary songs, K draws from the songbooks of Richard Rogers, Joni Mitchell, Ray Noble and Billy Joel; the music of Cy Coleman, however, seems to be a favorite as evidenced by the four standards presented here.

Voicing the lyrics with a measure of gusto, K belts out a fine opening rendition of "I Wish I Were In Love Again," repeating her energetic approach on the title track with tender accompaniment from guitarist Peter Calo and pianist Rick Jensen. K turns in wonderfully warm, heartfelt performances of three back-back Coleman standards ("You Fascinate Me So," Why Try To Change Me," "Come Summer"). The disc's brightest spot, however, is Ivan Lins Brazilian-styled classic "The Island," where K delivers Alan and Marilyn Bergman's steamy lyrics in sultry fashion, backed up by the best instrumental performance of the set.

Other special moments include Noble's "The Very Thought of You," Joel's "And So It Goes," and a warm duet with Calo on the brief but soulful closer, "I'm All Smiles." No matter how long it takes to surface, people will take note of talent, as they should with Just For a Thrill. Capturing her sensuous vocals, Just For a Thrill shares Wendy K's previously hidden talents with the rest of the world, providing its fair share of thrills on this remarkable and pleasurable jazz vocal statement.

Track Listing: I Wish I Were In Love Again; Just For a Thrill; You Fascinate Me So; Why Try To Change Me; Come Summer; Both Sides Now; The Island; The Very Thought of You; It Was You; And So It Goes; I'm All Smiles.

Personnel: Wendy Kurtzman: vocals; Christopher Marlowe: piano; Brian Boyce: drums; Adrien Rosen: bass; Rick Jensen: piano; Peter Calo: acoustic guitar, electric guitar; Jack Bashkow: tenor saxophone, flute; Dan Gross: drums; Tom Hubbard: acoustic bass.

Title: Just For a Thrill | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Self Produced


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