Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Lea Delaria: Live Smoke Sessions

Fearlessness. It is the priceless asset that has shaped Lea Delaria’s quarter-century of success as a musical theatre headliner, screen actress, stand-up comic and writer. It is also the quality that, over the course of eight years and two studio albums (plus a “greatest hits” release that blended the two and added a trio of unreleased tracks, including a poignant “Some Other Time”), has pushed her to the front ranks of contemporary American jazz singers.

As proven previously but perhaps best demonstrated throughout this, her first live album, there’s nothing Delaria won’t try-and there’s seemingly nothing she can’t do exceptionally well. Consider her opening number, an effervescent “Down With Love” that progresses from Dinah Shore dewiness to Carmen McRae grittiness; or her down ‘n’ dirty “Why Don’t You Do Right,” which gets directly to the lyric’s gold-digging heart; or her ethereal “Love for Sale” that drifts through fog banks of romantic delusion. She can echo the worldly vulnerability of Billie Holiday (just listen to the fragility of her “Come Rain or Come Shine” and the sage ache of her “You Don’t Know What Love Is”) and, on a boppin’ “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,” exhibits Ella-worthy scat skills.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published