Paula West, an artist JazzTimes calls “the finest jazz-cabaret singer around,” presents a timely exploration of the political moods of America through the years, focusing on the songs of Simon and Garfunkel, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, and Woody Guthrie.
The San Francisco jazz treasure is not the kind of singer who uses her voice like an instrument, improvising long scat solos. West prefers to work around the edges of a melody, stretching a word here or clipping a phrase there so that each piece sounds as if it was written with her voice in mind. When not enthralling Bay Area audiences, West has become a Manhattan fixture, regularly earning New York Nightlife Awards for “Outstanding Female Jazz Vocalist.” In 2013, trumpet luminary Wynton Marsalis recruited her to sing the lead role in the reprise of his Pulitzer Prize-winning opus Blood On the Fields. Adding to her allure is West’s reputation as a song sleuth who has uncovered startlingly effective jazz vehicles amidst the work of Sonny Bono, Jimmy Webb and the Rolling Stones. At this time of political upheaval and division, Paula West takes a look back to these uniquely American expressions of passion and protest, showing them to be as relevant today as the day they were written.