Press and Reviews

 

New York, NY – March 4, 2010

New York Times

Music Review: Optimism to Pierce Any and All Winter Blues

By Stephen Holden

 

Marilyn Maye and Rex Reed

Marilyn Maye in her show at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency.
Photo by Mathew Murphy, New York Times

Kapow! Marilyn Maye’s new show, “In Love Again,” at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency, is a blast of pre-springtime energy that defies the laws of nature in the happiest way. Ms. Maye may be over 80, but to borrow the argot of grizzled show business pundits on a talent search, “this thrush is going places.”

 

For the last several years Ms. Maye has been a top-drawing act at the Metropolitan Room on 22nd Street off Fifth Avenue, where her shows have packed the house with a frenziedly adoring claque. On Tuesday evening she made her move uptown to Feinstein’s, where she began a two-week engagement with a program whose opening string of assertively upbeat anthems includes “Today I Love Everybody” and “You’re Gonna Hear From Me.”

 

Ms. Maye has seemingly inexhaustible stamina, and her trio (Tedd Firth on piano, Tom Hubbard on bass and Jim Eklof on drums) swings hard. Her warm, rich voice is as strong and supple as it was during the years she appeared (76 times) on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show.”

 

Her program at Feinstein’s might be described as a suite in three movements. The first, the allegro, if you will, is a sock-it-to-’em sequence that ends with a two-song mini-tribute to Steve Allen (“This Could Be the Start of Something Big” and “I Love You Today”). Without the support of Allen and Carson, she said, she wouldn’t be there.

 

The second movement, or adagio, is in two sections. The first revolves around “Bye-Bye Country Boy,” a wistful jazz ballad by Blossom Dearie and Jack Segal, in which a singer on the road with her band reluctantly ends her idyll with a star-struck hayseed she meets at a county fair. In the second half a dramatically matter-of-fact version of Murray Grand’s “Guess Who I Saw Today?,” a song she said is probably her most requested number, ends the movement.

 

A passel of Cole Porter songs forms the center of the last part, which revives the show’s optimistic spirit but in much more sophisticated terms. Ms. Maye is not one to dawdle or to mope. She stands at elbow’s length from a song, taking its full measure, projecting empathy while never getting lost in it. Her philosophy: Tell the truth, but stay in charge.