Magical, Marvelous Marilyn Maye

Marilyn Maye (Photo by Seth Walters)

I know I’m preaching to the choir, but I want to take this opportunity to talk about the magnificent, the magical and the marvelous…Marilyn Maye! She’ll be doing four shows on the iconic and historic Birdland stage this coming Friday and Saturday, so if you’re anywhere near New York City, you should grab up some tickets…and fast.

Remember back in the 60’s, when the most in vogue events were called “happenings?” That’s the only way to describe a Marilyn Maye concert. Whether she’s at the Royal Room at The Colony Palm Beach, concertizing at Jazz at Lincoln Center, or kibitzing with me on stage at my weekly Cast Party, she has a knack of creating quite a scene…and I mean that in the very best way.

Before she sings a note, just the way she walks onto the stage is a lesson in showbiz deportment. Those confident strides, the physical contact with the audience, and the requisite Mackie beaded gown lets the crowd know that nothing bad could ever happen…and in fact something very good is in the works! Then, she opens her mouth to sing. I hate to talk about age, but at this point, there’s no way not to brag that Marilyn is 88 years…very young! And that voice has never sounded more robust…maybe a bit more shaded…and true as apple pie. She swings through the Great American Songbook, and adds a few pieces of imaginative special material. She has endless stories…all priceless…it’s no wonder she was Johnny Carson’s favorite girl singer…she’s a talk show host’s dream! And the late Ella Fitzgerald dubbed her “The greatest white female singer in the world!” Top that, Britney Spears!

Marilyn Maye is an American treasure, and you owe it to yourself to see her do her brilliant thing every chance you can! I’ll be there at Birdland cheering her this weekend — maybe I’ll see you!

Marilyn Maye in “Swing Sessions” at Birdland, 315 West 44 Street, NYC, Friday and Saturday, January 27 and 28, 8:30pm and 11pm, www.BirdlandJazz.com