Taking her cues from such legendary vocalists as Billie Holiday, Etta James, Dinah Washington and Bessie Smith, the Bay Area’s own Lavay Smith is a true modern day chanteuse, bringing the style, glamour and sound of the legendary jazz era to appreciative audiences around the world.
With her bluesy voice, sensual delivery and pin-up girl presentation, Smith is a welcome throwback to the days of old when divas ruled the nightclub stage and big bands filled the nights. Backed by her long-time horn and rhythm ensemble, the Red Hot Skillet Lickers, Smith and company are hauling in the raves for their world-class musicianship, their irresistibly danceable repertoire and their smoking-hot stage show.
Smith moved to the Bay Area from Southern California and started singing in local clubs with the first incarnation of the Skillet Lickers in 1989. Over the last 20-plus years, the band has been home to many high-caliber musicians who have played with some of the greats including Duke Ellington, Nat “King” Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie and Sarah Vaughan. The band members’ combined experience is immense and their musical standards sky-high.
Well-capable of setting the joint rocking with a lively swing tune, the tears flowing with a deep blues number and the audience rolling from clever and provocative lyrics, Smith and the Skillet Lickers are internationally recognized and celebrated as one of today’s brightest good-time bands. They’ve secured their reputation as modern masters of classic American musical styles; from bebop and the blues to New Orleans-style soul, swing and even salsa, Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers can do it all.
Lavay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers bring their celebrated stage show to the Sunnyvale Theatre on Saturday, Feb. 12.