Lavay Smith: The Music of Bessie Smith
The Music of Bessie Smith
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 Thursday the 6th, Lavay pays tribute to the gutsy, vibrant Empress of the Blues, the great Bessie Smith. The most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and early 30s, Smith was known best for her interpretations of the classics “Downhearted Blues,” “’Taint Nobody’s Bizness If I Do,” “A Good Man is Hard To Find,” “Gimme a Pig Foot (And a Bottle of Beer),” and “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out.” Her haunting voice and powerful delivery remains as influential as it was during her heyday. Join us at all four shows for a delightful romp through the history of song from the 1920s on.