From Mark, your concert co-host: I’ll put it right out there: I love listening to Suzanna Smith. I could do it for hours (and I have). Whether she’s interpreting a classic jazz tune or singing one of her own compositions, her warm, clear, unforced voice brings the music and lyrics joyfully to life. Onstage or off, she’s the sort of person who lights up a room when she walks into it.
For the past dozen years, she’s performed almost non-stop at venues around the Bay Area — from a twice-weekly gig at Kelly’s of Alameda, to monthly appearances in the Mission at Savanna Jazz, to her current biweekly sets at Zingari Ristorante in San Francisco’s Hotel Donatello. Her influences include such great vocalists as Sarah Vaughan and Peggy Lee, but her style and presence are all her own.
Guitarist Ken Husbands soaked up music from a young age, studying in Boston with Berklee faculty and honing his jazz chops in Paris. He and Suzanna have performed together for over a decade, developing a poignant yet playful style that explores the interplay between voice and guitar, and the elasticity within each song.
“There are relatively few contemporary female vocalists who evoke Peggy Lee, at least not genuinely. Suzanna Smith numbers among that rare ilk.”
—Christopher Louden, JazzTimes