b. 28 June 1945, Norway. Although latterly known primarily as a jazz singer, Wentzel has had a very varied career. Her mother was a singer and her father played the violin with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. When she was five years old she performed in children’s theatre, then studied classical guitar and also occasionally sang. At the age of 18 she studied singing at the Norwegian School of Opera, then decided to pursue her guitar studies in Spain, Switzerland and England. While in Spain in the late 60s she sang jazz with pianist Tete Montolui and saxophonist Pony Poindexter. Back in Oslo she began performing in clubs and incorporated R&B into her repertoire. As a classical guitarist she appeared on television, recorded and in 1978 performed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Also in the late 70s she was singing jazz with the Danish Radio Big Band, sang at festivals in Poland and appeared with Charlie Ventura.
During the 80s and early 90s her varied career continued. She played guitar on television both as soloist and as a member of chamber music groups; as a classical singer she sang in recitals of operatic music; as a jazz singer she worked in various European countries, singing with musicians such as Art Farmer, Roger Kellaway, Red Mitchell and Neils-Henning Ørsted Pedersen. In 1993, she toured the USA with Kellaway and the following year toured with him and Pedersen. Wentzel sings with a true, clear voice and while classical training is evident in much of her work, she has a good command of phrasing and interprets English-language lyrics with intelligence and feeling. She uses her four-octave range with discretion and her singing swings.