Paula West

Come What May

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On her third CD, singer Paula West demonstrates that she isn't adverse to risk taking, which is a rather refreshing idea for a young performer. With a soulful voice, a great range, and the ability to get the most out of each set of lyrics, this confident singer seems capable of taking on any song in which she takes an interest. Although the intermingling of "Caravan" and "A Night in Tunisia" in a back and forth medley isn't completely satisfying, her strong voice and the great playing of her supporting cast, including clarinetist Ken Peplowski, vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, guitarist Peter Bernstein, and the Stuff Smith-like violin of John Blake, make this wild arrangement rather appealing. Other highlights include Leonard Bernstein's show tune "Big Stuff," with guest pianist Bill Charlap, a delightfully campy take of "Blues in the Night," and a stunning interpretation of "Lush Life" with some inventive backing by pianist Ken Muir, who is also responsible for most of the arrangements. The only real misfire is the incessant bongos that dominate most of "Day In, Day Out," which detract from an otherwise great performance by West and bassist Peter Washington. Great things should be in store for Paula West following this very impressive release.

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