Sirens of Song kick off Napa Valley Jazz Society’s holiday season

For immediate release

November 8, 2010

Contact: www.napavalleyjazz

Cavallaro photos:

The Napa Valley Jazz Society’s Parlor Jazz Series continues on Sunday, November 28 with three of the Bay Area’s top vocalists, billed as the Sirens of Song. The 4 p.m. concert will be held at Silo’s, Napa’s premiere music club in the historic Hatt Building.

Singers Denise Perrier, Maye Cavallaro, and Lavay Smith will be backed by an all-star women’s quartet consisting of pianist Sue Crossman, bassist Carla Kaufman,  Drummer Ruthie Price and Mary Fettig on sax and flute.

NVJS board member and co-founder Bruce Hopewell is serving as producer for this concert. “This is a historic coming together of these three notable Bay Area vocalists,” he said. “Women and jazz have long been linked with the very best of the music’s rich heritage.  I was familiar with many of the great ladies of jazz such as Ella, Dinah, Sarah, Lena and Carmen.  This is the time to honor their unique contributions to the beginnings of jazz.  With the Siren’s of Song, we can experience it first-hand in Napa.”

Denise Perrier has spent much of her thirty-year career as one of the San Francisco Bay  Area’s most popular performers. Her latest CD, “The Second Time Around,” with guest Houston Person, shows off her rich contralto voice and her ability to swing, sing ballads and blues with equal artistry. Denise has a welcoming straight-ahead style, concentrating on the standards and adding blues and Latin. She has been called  “the voice with a  heart.”

Maye Cavallaro , an exceptionally sophisticated and emotional vocalist, has been singing classic songs since she discovered her mother’s “Sing Along with Mitch” records at age six. She soon began borrowing from her brother’s collection of vintage blues, studied piano, and became a huge fan of Carmen McRae, Billie Holiday, Esther Phillips and Miriam Makeba. Her eclectic and wide ranging musical tastes have continued to encompass jazz, modern pop and rock as well as classical and world music.

Lavay Smith grew up in Southern California and the Philippines and has become an internationally exponent of  jazz and blues. Whether singing her own compositions or drawing on a large repertoire of classics, Lavay provides an instant recipe for dancing and good times, often performing with her seven-piece group, the Red Hot Skillet Lickers. The sultry chanteuse evokes a sensuous era of jazz queens adding a modern, feminist twist.

The parlor jazz concept was conceived and grew up in Harlem, with so many famous musicians of the day working and residing there such as Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Ethel Waters, Lena Horne, Johnny Hodges, James P. Johnson, and a multitude of others.  Many of their acquaintances and friends could not afford to see these musicians downtown so they’d get together and arrange “Sunday Parlor Jazz Concerts” to share food and drink for whatever the attendees could afford and support the musicians.  Some of the proceeds went to pay the musicians and some went to pay the rent.  The tradition continues today.

The Napa Valley Jazz Society seeks to recreate the spirit of these events, drawing on local and regional musicians who enjoy the opportunity for a local gig, and mainstream artists who enjoy playing in intimate settings. Admission is $20 for NVJS members and $40 for non-members. Those joining on the NVJS website or at the door will receive the members’ discount and can pay using PayPal at

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