By Sandi Durell
The always astounding Marilyn Maye, the warm and friendly atmosphere of Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at Lincoln Center, added to by the impressive cityscape backdrop of Columbus Circle, all take your breath away.
This is the Marvelous one’s favorite room and, boy, does it show! Her lithe and joyful persona rides on a sea of waves and calm, making every song she touches more impressive than ever (if that’s possible).
She’s playful, pensive, resourceful and powerful, riveting her audience in the glow of the stories she tells . . . thoughtful, musical stories that linger in our heads.
It was one hour, 10 minutes of delight listening to the phenomenal Marilyn Maye as only she can deliver songs that make us happy, keep us happy . . . “Get Happy/I Want to Be Happy/Put On a Happy Face,” and showing off those high note endings to perfection, peppering throughout the evening with a little scat here and there. Yes, she loves her audiences and they love her back with an intensity that bonds us all . . . it’s a love fest!
Tender, romantic tunes like “Why Did I Choose You,” “That’s All” keep us enraptured in the glow she creates.
Ms. Maye, the songwriter, does justice to Ray Charles, writing a fun-filled parody introduction to “Hallelujah I Just Love Him So” . . . a soulful man who gets my vote . . . Hallelujah I’m a-lovin’ Ray . . . I want to sound like Ray but I’m too white. . .This is Maye singin’ Ray. The lady rocks!
Maye is one of the few singers who make you sit up and pay attention at every turn; always delighted to sing a favorite jazz waltz – “Come Rain or Come Shine” or pay homage to the Duke, swinging with “Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me” and “Satin Doll.” She’s still the queen of sexy innuendos in my book with Fats Waller’s “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and the ultimate double entendre version of “Honeysuckle Rose.” Brubeck/Desmond’s “Take Five” (in 5/4 meter) stuns as she gives the stage over to the band, each shining in solo offerings: uber talented Musical Director/Arranger on piano Tedd Firth, nimble fingered Tom Hubbard on bass, Eric Halvorson on drums and long time friend Rod Fleeman on guitar.
Her secret is no secret anymore . . . live life to the fullest, do what you love, fill your soul with love and joy . . . that’s the “Secret O’ Life.” And don’t forget to raise a little hell, kick up your heels – – “It’s Today!”
PS: I did stay for the second show on opening night and was treated to the exceptional sounds of guest artist Brandon Wright on sax on “Take Five!”
Photos: Kevin Alvey
The phenomenon known as Marilyn Maye continues her run at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, 10 Columbus Circle, NYC Fri 2/16, Sat 2/17, Sun 2/18 at 7:30 & 9:30 pm – two shows each night!