Lea Delaria: Live Smoke Sessions To Be Released 9/9

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GHOSTLIGHT RECORDS, a division of Sh-K-Boom Records, is partnering with Warner Jazz for the worldwide release of the new CD from acclaimed singer, actress, comedian and author Lea Delaria. The Live Smoke Sessions – recorded in concert at the popular uptown Manhattan jazz club last fall – will be released online and in stores on September 9. The disc features special guest performers Gil Goldstein on piano, Seamus Blake on saxophone and BBC "Jazz Singer of the Year" Ian Shaw on vocals.

After two innovative CDs reinventing Broadway tunes (2000's Play It Cool) and rock and punk songs (2005's Double Standards), Lea turns her considerable talents to her first recording focused on timeless pop standards. But these classic songs like "Down With Love," "Night And Day," "Love Me Or Leave Me" and "Come Rain Or Come Shine" have never sounded so fresh and alive.  "I styled this CD on the old school live recordings," Lea comments. "It is my hope that this CD will take you back to 1948 and the Village Vanguard. So please let me invite you to mix a cocktail and enjoy a smoke while you sit back and soak up the swing."

The Live Smoke Sessions also includes a jazz reworking of "Puff" from the Michael John LaChiusa musical Little Fish and the Lester Young jazz favorite "Jumpin' With Symphony Sid."

As a part of her busy fall schedule, Lea will appear in dual roles on the ABC-TV daytime drama "One Life To Live" starting in September (one character, the psychic Madame Delphina, was labeled "What's Hot" in Soap Opera Digest). She will celebrate the CD with a return to the New York jazz club Smoke for two Mondays, September 29 and October 6; and at the 606 Club in London on November 9. Her long-running weekend show at the Art House in Provincetown, Massachusetts runs through September 6.

       

Lea Delaria has distinguished herself in every form of entertainment that she touches: jazz musician, Broadway diva, actor, writer and stand-up comic. It's easy to see why Ben Brantley of The New York Times describes Lea as, "Every inch a star." Her first jazz album, Play It Cool, was released on Warner Jazz in 2000. Hailed by the Times of London as "Best Jazz Album of 2001," it featured the single "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd," which remained at #1 on Jazz radio in the states for two months.

Q Magazine commented "Lea Delaria is blessed with one of the most beautiful voices around", while Time Out claimed "the gal can certainly swing", and the Guardian summed her up as "talks like a coffee grinder, and sounds like a cross between Ella Fitzgerald and a Broadway diva." Her second album, Double Standards – which debuted on the Billboard Jazz Chart at #6 – received rave reviews in the UK and US press; the tracks "Call Me" and "Philadelphia" get regular radio play on both sides of the Atlantic.

Lea has appeared in concert at Carnegie Hall, Hollywood Bowl, Lincoln Center, Town Hall, Chicago Symphony, Royal Albert Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Royal Festival Hall, among many others. She has headlined at the New York City JVC Jazz Festival, London Jazz Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival and the 50th Anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival Tour, in addition to appearing at the Playboy, Montreal and Long Beach Festivals.

The first openly gay comic to appear on national television in the United States (Arsenio Hall, 1993) from this point forward she has toured the world with her one-of-a-kind blend of cool jazz and in-your-face comedy, often creating stirs (The United States Congress officially "criticized" Lea in 1993) but always winning accolades (Muff Diva – "Best of the Fest" in Edinburgh, 1993 and DeLightful DeLicious, DeLaria – Best Live Performance, Back Stage Bistro Award, 1999).

Lea has recorded two live comedy albums (Bulldyke In A China Shop and Box Lunch) and developed specials for HBO, Showtime, Comedy Central, CBC, and WNBC 4, including work for which she received a 1994 regional Emmy Award ("The World According To Us, Lifetime). She has created strange characters for daytime soaps ("One Life To Live"), Primetime ("Will & Grace," "Friends," and believe it or not, "Matlock") and has appeared on every talk show from NBC's "Today", "Chef Du Jour" on The Food Network, "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," ABC's "Politically Incorrect." She's even the voice of Helga on the dark comedy cult hit "The Oblongs."

The small screen gave way to the big screen for Lea as she plays bit parts in major motion pictures like The First Wives Club and Sgt. Bilko, but more often leads in independents like Rescuing Desire, Mercury In Retrograde, Homo Heights, Edge Of Seventeen (for which her version of Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies" won a 1999 GLAMA Award for Best Jazz Performance) and Fat Rose and Squeaky (playing the title role opposite Academy Award winner Louise Fletcher and four-time Emmy Award winner Cicely Tyson).

Like all singing comics Lea's greatest desire was to stand downstage center and hold a Broadway audience captive. Her dream came to fruition in 1997 with The Public Theater's revival of On The Town. Directed by two-time Tony Award winner George C. Wolfe in the role of Hildy she stopped the show eight times a week and received Obie, Drama Desk, Theater World and Fanny Awards. She returned to Broadway in 2000 to play "Eddie" and "Dr. Scott" in The Rocky Horror Show. She has also been featured as "Joy" in Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella at New York City Opera, "Mama Morton" on the National Tour of Chicago, and Off-Broadway as "Cinder" in Little Fish, "Winnie" in Happy Days, and "Jane" in The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, a role written especially for her by Paul Rudnick.

Her book, Lea's Book Of Rules For The World, was released by Dell Book in 2000.

ABOUT GHOSTLIGHT:

It is a standing practice in the theatre that a ghostlight – a floor lamp holding a single bare light bulb – be lit on stage after everyone has left for the night, so that the theatre never goes dark.  In the same spirit, Ghostlight Records, created by Sh-K-Boom co-founders Kurt Deutsch & Sherie Rene Scott, ensures that music of the theatre by composers old and new will always be enjoyed. Ghostlight Records honors the past while shining a light toward the future. Ghostlight Records was honored with a special 2006 Drama Desk Award for dedication to the preservation of musical theatre through cast recordings, as well as Grammy Award nominations for Best Musical Show Album: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Hair (The Actors' Fund Of America Benefit Recording), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and most recently The Drowsy Chaperone. Other recent recordings include the original cast recording of Legally Blonde, Martin Short – Fame Becomes Me, High Fidelity, See What I Wanna See and Bernarda Alba by Michael John LaChiusa, Irving Berlin's White Christmas, Patti LuPone's The Lady With The Torch and LoveMusik. Ghostlight Records is distributed by Razor & Tie Entertainment.  For more information, visit www.GhostlightRecords.com or www.sh-k-boom.com.

Photo Credit Linda Lenzi

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