Where It's At
Grammy-nominated Bettye LaVette is simply irresistible
by Richard Kennedy - SGN A&E Writer

Bettye LaVette
Tuesday-Wednesday, March 18-19 - 7:30 PM
Dimitriou's Jazz Alley

Bettye LaVette at Jazz Alley is truly the first must-see show of the year! With a career spanning decades and a roster of huge record labels from Atlantic to Motown, LaVette has conquered soul, jazz and even disco while gaining a reputation as one of the most charismatic live performers on the road. She is truly the "real deal," so real that her powerhouse vocals and raw soulfulness may have prevented her from ever reaching huge commercial success. Never one to sell out to the mainstream, she has garnered critical acclaim even in her 60s with the last two incredible albums.

In 2005, she didn't cover a collection of songs written by female musicians, she completely reinvented them. From Sinead O'Connor and Dolly Parton to Aimee Mann and Lucinda Williams, LaVette ran the gamut of musical styles with I've Got My Own Hell To Raise. She infused darkness and passion that can only be described as pure soul. On her most recent outing, The Scene of the Crime, her fiery vocals pierce through ballads and rock songs by the likes of Willie Nelson and Don Henley. The one original piece on the album, aptly titled "Before the Money Came (The Ballad of Bettye LaVette)," is a hard-edged take on the injustice of her musical career. "I was singin' R&B back in '62, before you were born, and your mama too! I saw all my friends on the Grammy show, while I was stuck in Detroit tryin' to open doors." It's been a long road for LaVette, but it's never too late to give her props for a stellar career.

For years, Jazz Alley has been bringing jazz and soul divas to Seattle and the club was just voted Best Live Music Venue by the Best of Citysearch. It's no surprise, considering the roster of performers, intimate seating and fantastic menu. Even if you don't want to dine, you can still watch the show from the bar with spectacular views. Bettye LaVette alone is certainly a big enough draw, but seeing her here just can't be missed. Longtime soul music fans will certainly be there, but be assured that a young and hip fan base will also catch this star. Her edginess and underground success have created a cult following with hipsters who are smart enough to know when a legend is in town. LaVette earned a Grammy nomination for 2007's The Scene of the Crime.

Set times are Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30pm. Doors open at 6:00pm on Tuesday and 5:30pm on Wednesday. Check www.jazzalley.com for reservations and any other information.

Artist Essentials: I've Got My Own Hell to Raise must be heard. Aimee Mann's "How Am I Different" morphs into an up-tempo R&B work of art, while Sinead O'Connor's "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got" is a haunting reading with vocals as raw as Aretha or Tina! Be sure to check out her newest The Scene of the Crime.