Best Of Tucson®

Best Local Performing Artist

Lisa Otey

No matter the stage, Lisa Otey is comfortable on it--in a Madrid jazz club, at a Dutch music festival, teaching a master class, appearing in local bars, concert halls and hotel ballrooms, and invariably, accompanying the comedic melodramas at the venerable Gaslight Theatre. Despite the ironic cover photo of her 2001 album Hard Workin' Woman (a depiction of her kicking back in a lawn chair in front of a house trailer), this 36-year-old pianist and singer is one of the hardest-working musicians in our dusty burg. Otey plays anything you can throw at her--classic pop and rock, cabaret music, mainstream jazz, blues (both bouncy and lowdown), boogie-woogie and all its permutations (stride, barrelhouse), gospel, R&B and even show tunes. She always throws it back with taste and verve. And as impressive as her skills on the 88 are, her smooth, sexy voice is her secret weapon, referencing her two singing idols, Elvis Presley and Billie Holiday. In Tucson (and now increasingly around the world), nobody does it better.

Runner up:

Mat Bevel, 530 N. Stone Ave.

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