Marilyn Maye

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:3 mins read

Marilyn Maye

The Iridium, NYC, December 9, 2017

Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes

Marilyn Maye
Photo: Kevin Alvey

Marilyn Maye, at age 89, continues to amaze me as a cabaret artist. I have often written that she is today’s top cabaret performer, but her appearance at the Iridium added a new dimension to my appreciation. The venue is primarily a jazz club and, consequently, Maye put on a much more jazz-oriented show than I am used to seeing when she performs. Backed by a splendid trio led by musical director Tedd Firth on piano, she showed off her ability to scat with the best of them and had the confidence to let her trio take over when appropriate. As always, Maye showed off her boundless energy by moving on stage for 90 minutes, and ending the show with her signature leg kick.

She opened with her Rainbow medley that begins with “Look to the Rainbow” and ends with the smile-inducing “Rainbow Connection.” Following the rainbows, came “Rain,” a very lively, fast-moving song that begins with the words “Rain, rain, rain.

” After her very kinetic performance of the number, Maye jokingly said, “It was easier 60 years ago,” leaving me to think that she could not have done it any better. The Ray Charles tribute began with special material about Charles and included her belting ”Just for a Thrill.” Her ability at dramatic singing was emphasized by her performance of her most requested number, “Guess Who I Saw Today,” ending with her singing “I SAW YOU, YOU, YOU.

” That was followed by a moving performance of “Fifty Percent” which she introduced by saying the song is the same woman as in “Guess Who I Saw Today” eighteen months later. Remembering her Kansas City roots, she showed that she could do justice to a country and western tune with “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” Going from country back to jazz, “Take Five” had her scatting marvelously, and included a lengthy solo by Firth. She saluted the season with a joyful “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” preceding her closing number, “Here’s to Life.” Her encore, a rousing “It’s Today,” left the audience cheering.

Ron Forman

Ron Forman has been a Mathematics Professor at Kingsborough Community College for 45 years. In that time, he has managed to branch out in many different areas. From 1977 to 1994 he was co-owner of Comics Unlimited, the third largest comic book distribution company in the USA. In 1999,after a lifetime of secretly wanting to do a radio program, he began his weekly Sweet Sounds program on WKRB 90.3 FM, dedicated to keeping the music of the Great American Songbook alive and accessible. This introduced him to the world of cabaret, which led to his position as a reviewer for Cabaret Scenes.