By PAM HARBAUGH
Jazz lovers out there, pay attention. A marvelous CD, “House of David: delaria+bowie=jazz,” has been released by Ghostlight Records today on CD and digital formats. It features Lea DeLaria, who stars as Carrie ‘Big Boo’ Black in the Netflix series “Orange is the New Black.” While she’s tough and scary in that show, here, she sings terrific, sensitive, boldly jazzy versions of songs by David Bowie.
And is she wonderful!
She has multiple albums to her credit. When I slipped this CD into my car’s player, I became immediately entranced by it. So much so that I had to wait a few minutes before actually going somewhere. It has now taken up permanent residence in my car, on my computer and on my CD player.
Her voice is diamond bright and velvet smooth. She sings effortlessly, plumbing low notes and soaring on a breeze to vocal heights. And she holds notes with un-ebbing power. In “Suffragette City,” she scats like an Ella Fitzgerald songbird; the scat is performed with Janis Siegel, the only other vocal artist on the CD.
Oh, and by the way, unless you already know Ms. DeLaria, you will have your mind expanded. Famously homosexual (the first openly gay comic on American TV, according to the press release), she is witty and raunchy and gender-bending as can be. So, yeah…you may not expect her beautiful feminine voice. Yet again one more testament that humanity has variety.
In addition to “Orange is the New Black,” she has been on “Friends,” “One Life to Live,” “Will and Grace” and a host of other television shows. She’s also been in film and on the live stage, where she received the Obie and Theater World awards and a Drama Desk nomination for her portrayal of ‘Hildy’ in the Public Theatre’s “On the Town.” She was the featured vocalist at the Newport Jazz Festival 50th anniversary and has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Hollywood Bowl.
The CD features Kevin Hays on piano and keyboards, Tony Scherr on bass and guitar, Steve Cardenas on guitar, Kenny Wollesen on drums and vibes, Seamus Blake on saxophones, Bashiri Johnson on percussion and Shedrick Mitchell on Hammond B3. The album costs $14.99. To order one, head to www.sh-k-boom.com/houseofdavid.
Here’s a video of her singing David Bowie’s “Fame” on Conan O’Brien show: