Tribute to the Jazz Masters
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 Amiri and Amina Baraka, Dwight has shared the stage with other poets such as 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. Singers who 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.