Wonder Woman's Alter Ego Lynda Carter Sings at the Catalina Jazz Club Tonight and Tomorrow
Lynda Carter sings at the Catalina Jazz Club tonight and tomorrow.
To millions of people, there is only one Wonder Woman: Lynda Carter, who played the iconic role from 1975-79 on TV. No one could better wear those kick-ass red boots, handle the lasso of truth and beat up bad guys without messing up the always perfect coiffure. Now more than three-decades later, Carter, 58, is enjoying a second career. No, not attending superhero conventions full-time, but as a jazz singer, singing classic torch songs and standards. She’s in the middle of a three-night stand at the Catalina Jazz Clubin Hollywood, where she’s being backed by a six-piece band and three singers. This gig is a warm-up to later stops at hallowed venues such as New York’s Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center in D.C.
In her live shows, Carter draws from material on her 2009 CD At Last, where she “re-imagines” recognizable songs like Sam Cooke’s “You Send Me,” The Supremes’ “Where Did Our Love Go” and James Taylor’s “Secret of Life.” There are a few lesser known works thrown in there for good measure.
“Re-imagining songs and rethinking music is very appealing to me,” she said during a short phone interview on her way to rehearsal earlier this week. She pointed out the old Helen Humes juke joint “Million Dollar Secret” on her CD as an example of putting her own little humorous stamp on it. “It’s a sexist song, but I re-imagined the lyrics for a little role reversal. [In my version] the female is more in control.”
In the song, Carter turns a verse on its head, singing about a young girl waking up the old sugar daddy to give her the old “morning exercise.” (It was the other way around in the 1950 song, and we like Carter’s lyric better.)
She was especially excited about the upcoming dates because of the quality of her band, all seasoned session players, including Paul Leim on drums and “Blue” Lou Marini on sax. “It thrills me that I’m working with this caliber of musicians,” she said. “This group of guys is just fun to be with.”
We found out that At Last isn’t her first CD. Singing onstage since she was a teen, Carter released her first album, “Portrait,” in the 1970s, and even co-wrote a few of the songs. “I think it sold about three copies, and I’ve seen every copy come back to these [new] shows.”
While many people who’ve had successful careers are ready to ride off into the sunset and retire in Florida, Carter’s resurgent second career shows no signs of slowing down. “It’s just fun,” she said. “I sing songs I want to sing. It’s very important to me to connect with people.”
She’s got a pretty vocal fan base, especially in the LGBT community, which she embraces. “I’m thrilled about it,” she said. “But they’re fans who happen to be gay or lesbian. I think people should just get over it [issues of sexuality]."
We’d be remiss in our duties if we didn’t ask just one Wonder Woman question, so we posed this one at the end of our interview: Who’d be the best person to play Wonder Woman in a remake?
“I would like to see something totally different,” she said. “A non-celebrity actor with a ‘Sandra Bullock’ quality. I mean it’s that accessibility and that self-deprecation of hers that’s important.”
That, of course, and the ability to wear those kick-ass red boots.
Catalina Jazz Club
6725 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles
Tonight and tomorrow at 8 pm