“Ms. West refuses to be bound by categories.” – The New York Times
Born in San Diego, Paula West first discovered her artistic voice further up the coast in San Francisco. After moving to The City in 1988, West began singing at jam sessions and open mikes, taking voice lessons on the side, all the while searching used record bins across the city for a crash course in jazz singers. Soon the talented vocalist was holding down regular cabaret gigs at San Francisco’s Ritz Carlton and the Plush Room.
Though she remains based in San Francisco, her success at home takes her frequently to New York, including regular appearances at the Algonquin Hotel’s famed Oak Room, where she continues to hone her voice and her interpretive skills. Her work in Manhattan has led to three straight New York Nightlife awards as “Outstanding Female Jazz Vocalist.” The New York Times’ Stephen Holden has been particularly vocal in his praise for West, singling out her “thickly textured voice [that] has ripened into a driving expressive force” and an “ever-deepening feel for the blues.” In line with that development, West’s repertoire has broadened as well, embracing country (Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues”), Cole Porter standards, and frequent dips into Bob Dylan’s songbook.
West has three excellent albums to her credit, but her last, Come What May, was recorded well before these stylistic shifts took root. This makes her live performances even more precious, both as windows into her ongoing artistic development, and as purely enjoyable explorations of song craft. “I want to try to make a show as interesting as I can,'' West said to the San Jose Mercury News. “I want people to be pleasantly surprised.” It is a feeling that is easy to come by each time West performs, even for those who know her well.
Paula West, Vocals George Mesterhazy Quartet Ed Cherry, guitar Additional musicians to be announced from stage
Official Website: http://sfjazz.org
Added by in2jazz on June 12, 2007