Lavay Smith

Sultry chanteuse Lavay Smith evokes a sensuous era of glamorous Jazz divas and sexy pinups adding a modern, feminist twist. Whether singing her own compositions or drawing on a large repertoire of classics, Lavay and her all-star 8-piece band bake up an instant recipe for good times.

Lavay Smith’s 8-piece band includes four horns, piano, bass and drums. Musicians from this all-star ensemble have performed and recorded with Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat “King” Cole, Frank Sinatra, Tito Puente, Lionel Hampton, Jay McShann, Johnny Otis, Wynton Marsalis, Big Joe Turner, Ray Charles, Big Mama Thornton, Taj Mahal, Little Esther Phillips to name a few.

The band first performed in 1989 and immediately began attracting crowds thanks to Lavay’s big, bluesy voice, exciting stage personality, and glamorous approach. According to Fox TV, the band has become “a San Francisco Institution”. Readers of San Francisco’s two major newspapers, the Chronicle and the Examiner, have voted Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers the “Best Band” in the annual reader’s poll.

Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers maintain a busy schedule of over 250 performances per year, including extensive touring throughout the United States and Canada. They have performed at many prestigious venues including Lincoln Center, The Montreal Jazz Festival, The Chicago Jazz Festival, The Ottawa Jazz Festival, The Monterey Jazz Festival, The Kansas City Jazz & Blues Festival, The San Francisco Blues Festival, The Toronto Jazz Festival, and The Playboy Jazz Festival. Lavay has performed in 40 states, Canada, Mexico, and Japan. When not on the road, Lavay and her band are showcased every Friday at San Francisco’s hippest nightclub, the Cafe du Nord, where they have sold out shows for ten swinging’ years.  

Lavay owns her own record label, Fat Note Records, and produces her own CDs with musical director Chris Siebert. Her debut CD “One Hour Mama” was an independent smash hit. Her second CD, “Everybody’s Talkin’ ‘Bout Miss Thing” repeated this success, staying on the Billboard Jazz charts for 20 consecutive weeks, and rising to #10. The album received widespread critical acclaim, including a prestigious Four & 1/2 Star review in Downbeat Magazine.

Television and Radio appearances include “The News Hour with Jim Lehrer”, Fox TV’s “Fox Files”, and NPR’s “To the Best of Our Knowledge”. World famous celebrities have jumped on the Lavay Smith bandwagon as well. Johnny Otis says, “Lavay is wonderful! She and her band are a breath of fresh air.” Dan Aykroyd says of Lavay’s debut album “...this CD is guaranteed to make you feel better.” Even former President Bill Clinton has proclaimed, “I love this band – they’re great!”

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