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When the smoke cleared from the retro swing boom of the ’90s, only a few bands remained. Lavay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers was one of them. The swing bands resurrected an entire corpus of old-style dancing, slick dressing, and lyrics not heard in public for a half-century. While the posers could handle the hip side, only a few bands could really play the music.

Lavay belts out blues, jazz, jump, jive and swing with the old-style grace and suggestive innuendo of the original hard-swinging bands of the ’30s and ’40s. More than engaging in musical archaeology, though, Lavay and the Lickers genuinely re-create the excitement of those classic jazz bands that played to fast-stepping dancers in clubs across prewar America.

Her singing style has little of modern jazz in it, drawing inspiration instead from singers such as Dinah Washington, Helen Humes, Jimmy Rushing and Joe Williams. Those singers delivered soul-satisfying blues phrasing set to danceable rhythms. Lavay (her first name fits the sexy intimacy of her stage persona show better than “Smith”) works that same good-time style with a booming voice and coy charisma. She squeezes irony out of every line, and ensures the female point-of-view is distinctly heard. On “Big Fine Daddy” she sings, “I love men, I swear it’s true, all shapes, all sizes, all kinds/But baby when I’m blue, a big man’s good to find/I need a big, fine daddy, a big, fine daddy in every way/They say it’s what’s inside that counts, and daddy, I think that’s cool/Love’s not measured by the ounce, baby, as a rule.”

Her other lyrics are delivered with equally sweaty sass. On both originals penned with bandleader Chris Siebert and on workhorses like “Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good to You?” and “Sent for You Yesterday,” (“and here you come today!”), she phrases her sentiments with humor and frankness. On “Busy Woman’s Blues” she leaves no doubt about her priorities: “I got to be the boss, but daddy you can wear the pants/and if you want to try my loving, you had better book it in advance.” And while her lyrics, like her stage manner, are steeped in another age, they resonate strongly in the present.

The Skillet Lickers’ style might be simply nostalgic if it weren’t for their sincerity and quality musicianship. Their compositions are based on originals from Count Basie, Jay McShann, Louis Jordan and other classic swing bands that plied their trade in the rowdy prewar clubs. Piano-playing musical director Siebert spent time digging deep into the old arrangements, writing some of his own and bringing in arrangers. The sound is loud enough to be heard over a raucous crowd, but can easily handle tight ensemble work. The midsize band is big enough to accommodate a fat horn section, but small enough for quick tempo shifts and long solos.

“We’re bringing an even more exciting band this time,” Lavay said in an e-mail interview. “Although we brought a top-notch group of musicians last time, this year, we’re proud to bring our starting team, which ranges in age from 23 to 79. We’re particularly happy to bring our two mentors, Allen Smith [trumpet] and Bill Stewart [alto sax].” The experience of the older musicians, Smith and Stewart, in some of the famed bands whose sound they re-create, set next to the fresh energy of the younger musicians, is a dynamic combination. The younger players have studied the original recordings and relish nailing old solos note for note while the older musicians play with knowhow and ease.

The band has a strong following in Japan and has just released a CD, its third, expressly for fans here, called “The Intimate Lavay Smith.” Performances throughout Japan last summer drew wildly enthusiastic responses, so they will be primed to play this time as well.

“We’re thrilled to return to Japan, and particularly excited to feature our mentors, Allen Smith and Bill Stewart,” Lavay said. “We had a ball last year and look forward to seeing some of the friends we made then, and meeting new friends as well. Folks in Japan know a lot about American jazz and blues music, and it is a joy to perform for them.” And they are a joy to hear.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

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