In August 2003, Out printed this article on jazz diva Lea DeLarias upcoming album Double Standards, but the release date was delayed indefinitely. Now, with the album arriving in stores this month, we reprise the interview.
Lea DeLaria was polling the audience at the Plush Room in San Francisco. Which Lea had they come for? Broadway Lea? Jazz Lea? Someone yelled, Were just Lea fans, DeLaria recounts on the phone from Los Angeles.
This is no idle boast. DeLariawho has belted Broadway sideways in On the Town, crooned in nightclubs, and rocked the mike with some saucy stand-uphas a knack for taking her admirers to parts unknown. They want to see whatever Im doing, she says. A good thing, that, since her next stop is rock and roll.
Sort of. Double Standards takes scat-scaling liberties with an eclectic mix of rock songs. Like DeLarias previous jazz reclamation act, Play It Cool (that time it was show tunes), Double Standards blowsin the best (OK, second best) sense of the word.
DeLaria swings sweet havoc with the Pretenders Tattooed Love Boys and Green Days Longview. But this isnt lounge against the machine, she says. This is real music, real jazz.
She should know. The daughter of jazz pianist Robert, Lea accompanied her dad to nightclubs in East St. Louis, Ill., as a girl. At one point her mom, Jerry (who had been a dancer in the USO and who recently died), put an end to those adventures. Little did she know, says DeLaria, chuckling. I was pretty safe.
In Just a Girl, Robert and Jerrys girl adds her own triumphant spin to Gwen Stefanis coda phrase: Oh, DeLaria wails, Ive had it up to here. Oh, yeah.
Lea DeLaria gives us a list of her desert-island discs:
Best of Bowie by David Bowie
I cant stop listening to it right now.
Birth of the Cool by Miles Davis
It changed the face of music. Darn that Dream is one of the prettiest things Ive ever heard.
The Complete Ella in Berlin: Mack the Knife (Live) by Ella Fitzgerald
Youve got to get it. Its going to change your life.
A Love Supreme by John Coltrane
I had a hard time choosing between this and Coltranes Ballads, since its the album I like to make out with girls to. If Im alone on a desert island, I dont want to be frustrated, so I chose A Love Supremeits a tasty bit of music.
Largo by Brad Mehldau
I think Brad kind of crosses quietly into the realm of genius. Its so sexy. Its a make-out record. Or if you just want to meditate on it."