Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Marilyn Maye is Magical!

On Saturday, December 4 my wife and I attended the Marilyn Maye show at NJPAC titled: "Mercer...The Maye Way".  As we were leaving the theatre, I knew writing a review would be very difficult.  It is hard to find words to express and capture the talents of such a polished and talented performer. It's not just her voice that captures everyone in the audience. It's her stage presence and understanding of the meaning of the music and lyrics she sang. Sinatra once say that there were three qualities a singer must possess in order to become a major star.  One of the three was that a singer needed to project a personality to the audience that would make them wish they could hang out with the singer. Let me just get it out... I wish I could hang out with Marilyn Maye and gain insight about her life and how she has chooses her music.  She needs to write a  book, and I would offer a possible title: "The Maye Way".

Marilyn's program on Saturday evening was all Johnny Mercer with the exception of the first two songs.  Marilyn hit the ground running with an up tempo version of the great Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II song "The Song is You".  She followed with "Love Being Here With You". Lyrics written by Peggy Lee and music by Bill Schluger. From this point on it was all Johnny Mercer and Marilyn Maye.  Marilyn sang an unbelievable 30 Johnny Mercer songs in an  hour and 15 minutes without coming up for air. I think most of us have an appreciation for the songs and lyrics of Johnny Mercer but once you hear someone as talented as Marilyn Maye sing his songs one after another, you can't help but be in awe of this man's ability to write lyrics that tell stories we can all relate to.  Marilyn spoke of her admiration and love of Mercer's Music and the effort it had on her.  She then added that she never got the chance to meet him but if she did, she most likely would have married him. My take is a little different, if Johnny Mercer ever heard Marilyn Maye sing his songs, he would have wanted to married her!
I would like to list just a few of my personal favorite Johnny Mercer songs that Marilyn sang:
1.   Satin Doll
2.   Summer Wind
3.   Moon River
4.   Come Rain or Come Shine
5.   The Days of Wine & Roses
6.   That Old Black Magic
7.   Goody Goody
8.   I'm Old Fashioned
9.   Day In, Day Out
10. Too Marvelous For Words
11. Emily
12  Drinking Again
13. Laura
No one who loves songs and lyrics from the greatest American composers should miss the chance to hear Marilyn Maye sing live.  Don't take my word for it, listen to Ella Fitzgerald who called Marilyn "The greatest white female singer in the world".
If it was within my power, I would make it a requirement for all young singers to see and listen to Marilyn Maye before they ever perform.  She sets the mark for all American singers both young and old.

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