Kendra Shank, whose initial CD was for Mapleshade, has grown quite a bit since her maiden effort. The singer's Jazz Focus debut Wish starts out with the most adventurous track, a version of "Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair" that may not be as scary as Patty Waters' classic mid-'60s rendition for ESP, but certainly finds Shank stretching herself with some unusual wordless sounds. Other highlights of her date include Abbey Lincoln's "Should've Been," her own "Wish," a reworking of "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise" (complete with verse), and two originals by bassist Jeff Johnson. Johnson is in Shank's backup group, which includes Hans Teuber on reeds, pianist Frank Kimbrough, drummer Victor Lewis, and vibraphonist Joe Locke. This continually surprising set, which displays Shank's interest in both adventurous jazz and folk music, is well worth checking out.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow