San Diego, California, USA. West was raised in a Marine Corps family with three siblings. All of the children were taught to play musical instruments, hers being the clarinet. Mostly, the music she heard and played was classical but at college she was introduced to jazz. In particular, she listened to singers including Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee, Julie London, Maxine Sullivan, Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington, and she also listened to and was intrigued by the music of Duke Ellington. After graduation, in the early 90s, West moved to San Francisco and began taking singing lessons from Faith Winthrop and others. An early musical acquaintance was pianist Ken Muir who became her accompanist. With him and pianist Larry Luckovich she worked at the Terrace Restaurant at San Franciscos Ritz Carlton Hotel. She also appeared in concert at the Maybeck Recital Hall. Although at first supporting herself by working as a waitress, West soon became a known and respected...