Lavay Smith: The Music of Billie Holiday
The Music of Billie Holiday
One of SFJAZZ’s perennial favorites and a Bay Area treasure, singer Lavay Smith presents a series of intimate concerts dedicated to some of the first ladies of jazz, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Etta James, and Sarah Vaughan. For this four-night residency in the Joe Henderson Lab, Smith is joined by a six-piece version of her world-class band, the Red Hot Skillet Lickers, led by arranger and pianist Chris Siebert and featuring a rogue’s gallery of robustly swinging soloists who cut their teeth with everyone from Big Joe Turner to Ray Charles. On Friday the 7th, Lavay pays tribute to Lady Day herself, the immortal Billie Holiday. Considered the quintessential jazz singer, Holiday single-handedly changed popular music, instilling her own personal life experiences into the lyrics and elevating the art of storytelling in song. Popularizing songs like “Don’t Explain,” “God Bless The Child,” “Lover Man,” “Solitude,” “Strange Fruit” and dozens more, whatever Billie sang, audiences believed she lived it like no artist before or since.