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Album Review

With her vintage dresses and unabashedly sexy posturing, Lavay Smith evokes a bygone era, one when jazz was for dancing rather than for sitting and listening to, and when jump blues hadn't yet been displaced by rock & roll. The other thing that is unabashed about Smith is her repertoire, which on her third album consists primarily of standards — and not just any standards, but songs so familiar they border on period cliché: "It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing," "'Deed I Do," "On the Sunny Side of the Street," even (heaven help us) "When the Saints Go Marching In." What can justify a program like this is any combination of the following: innovative arrangements; tremendous energy; a voice that either surprises or simply knocks down the walls; or undeniable chops. All of those elements are in evidence in various combinations throughout Miss Smith to You. Smith's voice is a very fine thing, powerful and flexible, capable of both purring insinuation and brazen assertion, and always full of joy. Her band is, if anything, even better: pianist Chris Siebert has created brilliant arrangements that combine comfortably mainstream principles of horn voicing with subtly crafty articulations and filigrees that tend not to assert themselves brassily, but rather lurk in the background for you to discover if you make the effort to listen for them. The three original songs are almost as good as the classics that make up the rest of the program, which is high praise indeed.

Customer Reviews

None Better

After a long wait, Lavay & Her RHSLs deliver the very best jump-blues-swing being produced today. Ms. Smith's vocals are spot on aesthetically, stylish and period appropriate. The musicians are tight, the arrangements sparkling, the production values top notch. It all adds up to a sound that is uniquely genuine, and comes clearly from the heart. That's a lot of high falutin' talk to say this album (like their two earlier offerings) SWING! It simply doesn't get any better than this.

Another superb effort by a queen of vocals

It's been far too long since Lavay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers last album but worth every second of waiting. Miss Smith to You! continues the craft, polish and heartfelt vocals that make every performance Lavay does a joy. Lush, beautiful, dead on vocals sung with Lavay's soulful style, and some of the finest musicians anywhere backing her make this one another gem from a queen of swing and jazz vocals. Highly, highly recommended.

Miss Smith to You!, Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers
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Customer Ratings

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