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Zorn’s Prickly Harmony

Bruce Barth

In an overcrowded, overrecorded field of jazz singer wannabes Paula West stands out like a beacon. But she would standout in any field. She is one of the very few who summon up the names of Ella, Sarah and Carmen and not by aping. I’m not elevating her to the pantheon yet but she certainly belongs in the same paragraph and her star continues to rise.

West has a presence all her own embodied in a relaxed, confident manner, combining warmth and wit within a rich contralto that never strains for effect. When she turns up the rhythmic heat this gives it an even greater potency.

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