Genre: Blues / Jazz / R&B
Location MAPLEWOOD, New Jersey, US
Profile Views: 3010
Last Login: 11/10/2009
Member Since 6/19/2008
Record Label BlueArk Records
Type of Label Indie
Bio...... To those of us that subsist off the vibration of the music called jazz, I sing. Since 1990, Dwight West has been the lead vocalist for Amiri & Amina Baraka’s Jazz poetry ensemble, BluArk. He has performed at festivals in Berlin, Italy, Paris, Switzerland, Africa, The Schomburg, The New Jersey Performing Arts Center and many of the universities, jazz clubs, and auditoriums in the United States. Audiences have heard Dwight sing some of Ellington’s most memorable songs, while working with the likes of John Hicks, Reggie Workman, Andrew Cyrille, Grachan Moncur III, Billy Bang, Dave Burrell, D.D. Jackson, Vijay Iyer, Wilbur Morris and Herbie Morgan. Dwight has recorded with Big John Patton, Joe Ford, Lawrence Killium and Robert Banks on the Blue Ark label. This opportunity was afforded to him by Amiri Baraka, who permitted him to patent the world renowned name, Blue Ark, into the record label, which is managed by Dwight and his wife Julie. While singing renditions of classic jazz and work songs, segued with poetry by the Barakas, Dwight has shared the stage with other poets like Sonya Sanchez, Felipe Luciano, Jane Cortez, Miguel Algerin, and Halim Sulaman. The influence of such associations inspired Dwight to write lyrics to instrumental jazz tunes which are relevant to the title or artist that has made it a classic, such as Equinox, Bohemia After Dark, Johnny Come Lately and many others. The singers, that perform a big sound, have experienced the Big Band journey. Thus, Dwight’s apprenticeship with Swing Town, a 21 piece Big Band, has heightened his articulation and phrasing to a new altitude. So for all singers in the tradition of past jazz singers and for those of us who love the first instrument, listen to the voice … - Dwight West Since 1990 Armiri Baraka’s Jazz Ensemble, “Blue Ark” has had a renaissance lead vocalist, Dwight West. Dwight’s smooth and smoky jazz style has been influenced over the years, from a collaboration with jazz greats, Reggie Workman, John Hicks, Andrew Cyrille and Herbie Morgan. Dwight’s humility reminds him that he continues to be a student to the art of jazz and is a junior member of a distinguished Fraternity. Dwight would like to welcome you into his world of musical discovery and take you on a journey of the senses, with "The Time Is Right" Many would agree that jazz is dominated by swinging instrumentalists playing the great jazz classics of yesterday. The degree of focus required for musicians to recapture the spirit of standard ballad and bebop classics of jazz legends commands considerable skill and practice. That being said, EDDIE JEFFERSON, OSCAR BROWN JR. and JOHN HENDRICKS, the kings of jazz vocalees and masters of adding lyrics to instrumental classics, has sparked the unique gift of hearing words to bebop and ballads, for DWIGHT WEST. This talented and unconventional club of vocalees hipped us to relevant historical background about the MASTERS that created the classics and sometimes enlightened us on what might take place tomorrow. To write and sing lyrics to the work of TRANE, MONK, ADDERLEY, and PARKER, in time, along with the melody, in key and pitch, is what EDDIE, OSCAR and JOHN did that separated these swinging singers from the rest. DWIGHT’S endeavor to join this original club with TRIBUTE TO THE JAZZ MASTERS will be measured in time. Especially when all the words that DWIGHT is hearing in his head, for so many other JAZZ MASTER CLASSICS, are recorded.
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Sounds Like...... PRESS RELEASE The Star Ledger BY ZAN STEWART STAR-LEDGER STAFF Dwight West spent many years singing R&B and gospel. He enjoyed that music, but when he turned to jazz, while in his early 30s, he found his musical home. "Jazz is the epitome of vocalizing, the end of all music," said the Newark native, 54, who lives in Maplewood. "It's the most challenging to relay the message. The lyrics, the story line, of jazz have so much meaning, and you have to be able to relate to the story in order to convince an audience that it's real." West and his ensemble, Family, appear Friday at The Priory in Newark. One way he's worked on making his message convincing is to compose his own songs. He also writes lyrics to classic instrumentals, like John Coltrane's "Equinox." The singer has several motives for writing lyrics. For one, he wants listeners, especially African-Americans, to know there is something besides rap. "We can say something positive with lyrics," said West, who has a warm, alluring baritone voice. "I also want to remind listeners, especially younger ones, of our history." West's lyrics to Coltrane's "Equinox," for which he is seeking clearance from the saxophonist's estate, demonstrate his approach. One of the phrases: "If you ever had any doubt to what jazz music's about, 'Equinox' played by Trane, opens up both sides of your brain; listening just don't feel the same, after hearing the music of Trane." The singer's 2006 CD, "The Time is Right" -- on the Blue Ark label owned by West and his wife, Julie Clark-West -- includes several beguiling originals. There are also versions of jazz evergreens, such as Billy Strayhorn's magnificent "Lush Life," a moving tale of love lost written when Strayhorn was in his early 20s. "That song is always a challenge. It hits me," said West, who notes that his favorite singer, Johnny Hartman, recorded the song with Coltrane on "John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman" (Impulse!). "That was the best ever," West said of the recording. Hartman touches West on many levels, he said. "His range is the same as mine," he began. "I love his feeling, his phrasing, the power of his voice, his selection of material." At The Priory, West will offer a range of songs, from his originals and "Equinox" to "Lush Life" and other standards such as "I Thought About You" and "Don't Get Around Much Anymore." His band is A-1: pianist Brandon McCune, tenor saxophonist Willie Williams, bassist Michael Logan, and drummer Greg Searvance. West, who holds down a day job at as a clerk at the United States Postal Service's bulk mail center in Jersey City, grew up in a house that embraced music. He first sang in public at age 6, at a storefront Baptist church in Newark, where his grandmother was the pianist. From the 8th to 12th grade, he sang R&B with the Newark-based Decades, then, later, sang gospel for five years. He then met poet Amiri Baraka, who encouraged him to sing jazz. For several years, in addition to being a leader, West has been a member of Baraka's ensemble, Blue Ark: The Word Ship. "I love music," he said. "It's given me an opportunity to express myself." Zan Stewart is the Star-Ledger's jazz writer. He is also a musician who occasionally performs at local clubs. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (973) 324-9930.
04:49 | 38 plays | Nov 10 2009