Lavay Smith, vocalist and bandleader of the Red Hot Skillet Lickers, grew up in Southern California and the Phillipines. She has become an internationally recognized Diva of Jazz and Blues, with a singing style influenced by Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Bessie Smith, Little Esther Phillips and other legendary greats.
This sultry chanteuse evokes a sensuous era of Jazz queens and sexy pinups and adds a modern, feminist twist. No wonder Los Angeles Magazine chose her as one of the sexiest people around! Lavay’s big, bluesy voice, exciting stage personality, and glamorous approach attract crowds around the world. According to Fox TV, the band has become “a San Francisco Landmark”, winning numerous awards including a “Wammie” and a “Bammie”. In 1998, the reader’s of San Francisco’s two major newspapers, the Chronicle and the Examiner, voted Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers the “Best Band” in the annual readers poll.
Important publications have sung the praises of Lavay Smith and her band, including Downbeat, The Los Angeles Times, Jazziz, The Boston Globe, Blues Revue, The New York Press, Living Blues, and the Alternative Press (see attached pages for juicy quotes). Television and Radio appearances include Public Television’s “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, a.k.a. Elwood Blues, says of Lavay’s debut album, “One Hour Mama”, “...this CD is guaranteed to make you feel better.” Even President Clinton has seen the light, proclaiming, “I love this band - they’re great!”
Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers maintain a busy schedule, including extensive touring throughout the United States, Europe, Canada and Japan. They have performed at many prestigious venues including Lincoln Center, the Monterey Jazz Festival, The Chicago Jazz Festival, The Montreal Jazz Festival, The Playboy Jazz Festival at The Hollywood Bowl, The San Francisco Blues Festival, The Toronto Jazz Festival, The Santa Barbara Jazz Festival, The Ottawa Jazz Fesitval, The Portland Waterfront Blues Festival, The San Francisco Jazz Festival, The Salt Lake City Jazz Festival, The Doheny Blues Festival and Jazz Aspen/Snowmass. When not on the road, Lavay and her band are showcased in the San Francisco Bay Area's premier nightclubs, including the Cafe du Nord, Biscuits & Blues, Enrico’s, Jazz at Pearl’s, Ashkenaz, Rancho Nicasio, Kuumbwa Jazz Center and Moe's Alley.
Lavay’s latest CD, “Everybody’s Talkin’ ‘Bout Miss Thing” (Fat Note Records) incorporates a variety of classic American musical styles, including swing, bebop, salsa, jump blues, and New Orleans R&B. Enlisting the arranging talents of David Berger, arranger for Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, the album includes six outstanding original tunes, many classics, and several obscure gems. Lavay and the band have produced an epic, best-selling album that is great for both dancing and listening.
Lavay approaches her material from the standpoint of an independent woman, combining world-class singing and musicianship with hilarious, provocative lyrics. Lavay’s musical stance is echoed in her real life role as owner of her own record label, Fat Note Records. Her debut CD, “One Hour Mama” received widespread critical acclaim and became a smash hit, outselling most independent releases. Her second CD, "Everybody's Talkin' 'Bout Miss Thing!" received a prestigious 4 & 1/2 Star review from Downbeat Magazine, and remained on the Billboard Jazz Charts for 20 straight weeks, reachng number 10. Her red-hot stage presence and high musical standards ensure that this sexy diva will continue to be a best-selling independent phenomenon well in the new millennium.
For Booking, call Jim Cassell of The Berkeley Agency 510-843-4902, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact Lavay Smith, send an email to email@example.com
The Red Hot Skillet Lickers
Mike Olmos (Trumpet) was raised in Merced, CA. He moved to the Bay Area in 1997 to attend California State University, Hayward, to pursue a degree in music. Mike is currently the Trumpet player for the legendary Etta James. He has performed with Rosemary Clooney, The Stan Kenton Alumni Big Band, Michael Feinstein, Jon Hendricks, Michael Brecker, Maria Schneider, as well as many other local Bay Area greats. He has recorded with Matt Catingub's "Big Kahuna and the Copa Cat Pack", Rosemary Clooney, Mike Vax, Cannonball, Madeline Eastman and The Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra. Mike is regularly seen performing around the Bay Area with Madeline Eastman, the Contemorary Jazz Orchestra, and the Fil Lorenz Nonet/Big Band, as well as his own quartet.
Bill Ortiz (Trumpet) was born and raised in San Francisco. Bill is currently the Trumpet player for the legendary Carlos Santana. He has played/and or recorded with Tito Puente, Quincy Jones, En Vogue, Bobby Hutcherson, Bennie Maupin, Peter Apfelbaum and the Hieroglyphics Ensemble, Don Cherry, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Otis Clay, T.L.C., Pete Escovedo, Toni, Tony, Tone, Airto and Flora Purim, and Boz Skaggs. Bill played on Santana’s historic multiple-grammy winning album “Supernatural”, including the smash hit "Smooth”. That’s right-that was Bill performing with Carlos Santana at the Grammies! He has been touring with Santana ever since, and is featured on Santana's upcoming album. Bill’s hot new album is now available.
Allen Smith (Trumpet) was raised in and around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and played with the Navy Band during World War II, replacing Clark Terry. After World War II, Allen moved to San Francisco and worked with T-Bone Walker, Saunders King, and many others. He then went on the road with Johnny Otis in 1947. He has recorded with Duke Ellington, Gil Evans and Benny Goodman, and has performed with many of the biggest names in jazz, including Ella Fitzgerald, Nat “King” Cole, Sarah Vaughan, Quincy Jones, Gerald Wilson, Joe Williams, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and many others. Allen’s fantastic new CD, "Cornocopia" is now available on BluePort Records.
Danny Armstrong (Trombone & Vocals) was born and raised in San Diego. Danny has performed and recorded with many greats, including Rufus Thomas, Archie Bell and the Drells, Pete Escovedo, Elvin Bishop, Elouise Laws, Ann Peebles, The Legendary Sy Klopps Band, The Coasters, Bobby Freeman, and Lee Oskar. He performed with the legendary Johnny Otis’ working band for years in addition to his work with Lavay Smith. In addition to being the world’s greatest trombone player, you can hear Danny’s wonderful singing in duets with Lavay as well.
Jules Broussard (Alto and Tenor Saxophones) was born and raised in Alexandria, Louisiana. He learned to play by listening to Louis Jordan, Illinois Jacquet, and Earl Bostic in the 1940's. He has played and/or recorded with Ray Charles, Little Esther Phillips, Johnny Otis, Big Mama Thornton, Earl Grant, John Handy, Santana, Boz Skaggs, Steve Miller, Van Morrison and many other music greats. Jules is a renowned bandleader in his own right with a superb brand-new CD out entitled “Jules Broussard...With Strings Attached”. You can find out about Jules and his band and order his CDs at broussard.com.
Howard Wiley (Tenor Saxophone) is a Bay Area native. He performed with Lauryn Hill’s band on her 2007 world tour. He has worked with Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, David Murray, Faye Carol, Marcus Shelby, Bill Bell, Bishop Norman Williams, and many other greats. Howard has several superb CDs under his own name, including his latest CD “The Angola Project”, which features an exciting lineup that includes vocalists Faye Carol, Jeannine Anderson and Lorin Benedict, trumpet, tenor sax, two violins, piano, two basses and drums. You can find out more about Howard and order his CDs at his website, howardwiley.com.
Charlie Siebert (Guitar) grew up in New York City and Los Angeles. He has performed with Larry Vukovich, Mal Sharpe and the Blue Room Boys. Charlie was the co-founder of the Molasses Brothers along with his brother Chris. He is currently teaching English in Jinan, the capitol of Shandong Province in China, and plans to travel throughout Asia and beyond. You can reach Charlie at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit Charlie and check out some great photos from China at facebook.
David Ewell (String Bass) hails from Berkeley, CA, and graduated from Berkeley High's nationally renowned music program. David toured the world with Lauryn Hill in 2007. He has worked with Arthur Blythe, Bobby Watson, Greg Tardy, Babatunde Lea, Mark Levine, Bishop Norman Williams, Randy Vincent and many other greats. David often performs in a trio format with New York-based Piano player Marc Carey as well as The Howard Wiley Trio. He is also a founding member of the excellent Brazilian band Vivendo de Pao and performs regularly with The Supplicants. You can visit David at myspace.
Darrell Green (Drums) grew up in Oakland, CA and lives in Harlem. Darrell tours with Sherman Irby from the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Steve Turre and Jeremy Pelt. He has performed with Dr. Lonnie Smith, Stephon Harris, Marlena Shaw, Myron Walden, Tony Monaco, Faye Carol, Marcus Shelby, Howard Wiley and Dave Ellis. Darrell is also a Jazz educator, and he works with students of all ages at Jazz Camp West and The Young Musician's Program at UC Berkeley. You can visit Darrell at myspace.
Chris Siebert (Piano, Arranger, Bandleader) grew up in New York City and Los Angeles. In addition to founding the Red Hot Skillet Lickers with Lavay Smith in 1989, he has also played and/or recorded with Snooky Pryor, Taj Mahal, Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir, Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong, Alvin “Youngblood” Hart, Little Charlie & The Night Cats, Big Bones, Los Lobos, The Turk Murphy Alumni Band, Bo Grumpus, Denise Perrier, Brenda Boykin, Ledisi and Sugar Pie DeSanto. A noted authority on swing, jazz, and blues music, Chris, along with Lavay, was a special consultant to MCA Records for their re-issue of the classic Decca recordings of Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, Jimmy Lunceford and Ella Fitzgerald with Chick Webb. Chris is the musical director for the band, writes most of the arrangements and composes the original songs with Lavay Smith. You can visit Chris at myspace and facebook.
David Berger (Arranger) is from Long Island and makes his home in Manhattan. He is a renowned arranger, and is know as the world’s foremost authority on the music of Duke Ellington. In addition to his outstanding original arrangements and compositions, he is a noted transcriber. He has contributed a large percentage of the arrangements performed by Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. David has written for John Hendricks, and his arrangements were featured in the Broadway show “Sophisticated Ladies.”
David’s leads his own orchestra, the Sultan’s of Swing, one of the finest Big Bands in the world, and has featured such legendary performers as Jerome Richardson, Jerry Dodgion, Marcus Belgrave, Britt Woodman, Bill Easley, Art Baron and many others. The wonderful Aria Hendricks is the featured vocalist. They perform regularly in Manhattan, and go on the road as the house band for the acclaimed jazz ballet “The Harlem Nutcracker”.
David travels the world as conductor, presenting his own music as well as programs of the music of Duke Ellington. He often conducts his own transcriptions of Ellington’s Sacred Concerts, featuring all-star ensembles that include performers such as Jessye Norman.
David Berger & The Sultans of Swing have 3 CDs available on Such Sweet Thunder Records: “The Harlem Nutcracker”, "Doin' the Do!" and their latest release, "Marlowe", which Dan Morgenstern of the Institute for Jazz Studies at Rutgers University call "some of the best big-band writing and playing you're likely to hear".
David has contributed many arrangements to the Lavay Smith repertoire, including 7 charts on our CD “Everybody’s Talkin’ ‘Bout Miss Thing!” David's chart for our original tune "The Busy Woman's Blues" from that album is now available from Smart Chart Music in an expanded Big Band version which includes lyrics. You can hear it and order it at smartchartmusic.com.
For more information about David Berger & The Sultans of Swing, check out sultansofswing.com.