PAULA WEST is an American jazz and cabaret singer known for her rich, powerful contralto voice and for her highly nuanced interpretations of an extraordinarily eclectic selection of songs that range from the Great American songbook to reinterpretations of songs by artists such as Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Lou Reed and Johnny Cash.
Ms. West has performed predominantly in clubs in San Francisco and New York, with additional performances in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and select European cities. For ten years she held a one-month residency at the Empire Plush Room at the York Hotel in San Francisco. She has had recurring engagements at the Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Mezzrow in New York as well as SF Jazz, Feinstein’s at The Nikko, and Yoshi’s in San Francisco. Her nights at the Algonquin Hotel’s famed Oak Room earned her three straight New York Magazine Nightlife Awards as “Outstanding Female Jazz Vocalist.” The New York Times has been particularly vocal in their praise for Ms. West, singling out her “thickly textured voice [that] has ripened into a driving expressive force” and an “ever-deepening feel for the blues.” She has also performed at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis, The White House, and Maison de la Musique in Paris as well as at numerous jazz festivals, including: the Monterey Jazz Festival, Spoleto Festival, Rochester Jazz Festival, San Jose Jazz Fest, Big Sur Jazz Festival, Los Gatos Jazz On The Plazz, Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, and the Fillmore Street Jazz Festival.
Her collaboration with noted pianist/arranger George Mesterhazy (who accompanied the late Jazz great Shirley Horn) was lauded in the New York Times, as “a match made in pop-jazz heaven” (Stephen Holden, The New York Times, October 22, 2007). Ms. West performed with the George Mesterhazy Quartet at Yoshi’s in San Francisco’s re-vitalized Fillmore Jazz District, The Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel in New York, & The Rrazz Room in San Francisco.
Ms. West has recorded four albums (three studio and one live), including: Temptation (1997), Restless (1999), Come What May (2001), and Live at Jazz Standard (2012). In February 2013, Ms. West traveled to New York to appear with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra to perform in Blood on the Fields for which he won a Pulitzer Prize.
Ms. West has been praised for her willingness to creatively re-imagine the standards that she does perform, and an eagerness to identify worthy songs not usually found within the jazz/cabaret repertoire.
Ms. West currently performs at jazz venues around the country and has recurring engagements at Feinstein’s at The Nikko Hotel, SFJazz, and Jazz at Lincoln Center.