Press and Reviews
New York - April 20, 2015
The New York Times
Review: Marilyn Maye’s Tribute to Frank Sinatra
By Stephen Holden
It took a while for “Her Way,” Marilyn Maye’s tribute to Frank Sinatra at 54 Below in New York on Friday evening, to achieve liftoff. But once it did, this 42-song anthology became a phenomenal demonstration of one woman’s stamina and musical intelligence.
Instead of relating musical history chronologically, Ms. Maye and her brilliant pianist and conductor, Tedd Firth, divided Sinatra’s legacy into thematic blocks that traced a path from cock-of-the-walk confidence into the pit of despair and back to a philosophical plateau. The band included Jack Cavari on guitar, Eric Halvorson on drums and Tom Hubbard on bass.
Liftoff arrived with the first of several showstoppers, “Come Rain or Come Shine,” which Ms. Maye, who recently turned 87, delivered as a vow of undying friendship, then built up into a big, swinging proclamation of devotion.
The mood abruptly darkened in the next block, devoted to saloon songs and panoramic cityscapes. A suite of romantic laments that began with “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning” segued into three songs of alcoholic despair — “Angel Eyes,” “Drinking Again” and a remarkable “One for My Baby.” Ms. Maye broke with tradition in “One for My Baby” by making it the monologue of a tough, combative barfly flailing into the night.
The next section, which began with singalong versions of “High Hopes” and “Love and Marriage,” was high-spirited and playful, culminating with a jazz-waltz arrangement of “Luck Be a Lady.” Ms. Maye made “My Way” her own by emphasizing the phrase “not in a shy way.”
This ageless dynamo has earned a singular place in New York’s cabaret world by being the one performer who has amassed a following so loyal that her popularity surpasses any risk of overexposure. Wherever she goes, her flock follows. It is a testament to the size of her talent and the warmth of her personality.