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Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers 

When: Fri., July 10, 8 & 10 p.m., Fri., Aug. 7, 8 & 10 p.m., Fri., Sept. 18, 8 & 10 p.m. and Fri., Nov. 13, 8 & 10 p.m. 2009
Price: $20

Lavay Smith is one of the country's best jazz singers, and why she isn't better known remains a mystery. Her multi-generational band can play anything from New Orleans R&B to the most sophisticated swing-band charts, with side trips to Cuban and New Orleans grooves, but it's Smith's voice that's the showstopper, a sultry, confident alto that's as smooth as silk and as sharp as a tack. With a deep repertoire that includes classics from the American songbook as well as original tunes that can compare favorably to the any blast from the past, Smith and her band remain one of the jewels of the local nightclub scene. Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers serve up their sizzling sounds at Biscuits & Blues (401 Mason St., San Francisco) on Friday, June 12. 8 p.m., $20. BiscuitsandBlues.com


— j. poet

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