Ruth Brown

In her first Gotham gig in five years, and fully recovered from knee surgery and the effects of a stroke, Ruth Brown retains her crown as the undisputed queen of rhythm and blues.

With:
Band: Ruth Brown, Rodney Jones, Bill Easley, Jesse "Cheese" Hameen, Paul Ramsey, Oliver Von Essen.

In her first Gotham gig in five years, and fully recovered from knee surgery and the effects of a stroke, Ruth Brown retains her crown as the undisputed queen of rhythm and blues.

The feisty 76-year-old diva holds court from a cushy throne these evenings, seated at a music stand overflowing with a songbook of standards that have peppered her remarkable six-decade career.

Brown has retained her vocal powers, singing with a dusty, strong voice that boasts a syrupy, mellow texture for the ballads and a belting strength for the big, bold notes. She still projects with considerable force, her timing is on target, and she can swing like mad. Recalling her 1943 debut at Harlem’s Apollo Theater, Brown revived the old Jimmy Van Heusen-Johnny Burke movie tune “It Could Happen to You,” a Bing Crosby hit and a mellow highlight of Brown’s Fantasy CD “The Songs of My Life.”

The singer digs deep into the past for a mellow “(Goodbye, I Hate to See You Go, But) Have a Good Time” and her rhythmic 1953 chart topper “Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean.” Brown briefly recalled friends who have long since departed and confessed to knowing all the secrets of the past. “I’ve climbed a few mountains in my time,” Brown reminisced, “and I can still sing a lullaby like you never heard before.” She does just that with a persuasive reading of Victor Young’s cinematic reverie “Love Letters.”

Brown re-creates her Tony-winning turn in the 1989 Broadway tuner “Black and Blue” with Andy Razaf’s saucy “If I Can’t Sell It, I’ll Keep Sittin’ on It.” It’s still a naughty showstopper.

Brown has the gritty support of a quintet led by guitarist Rodney Jones and featuring the burly tenor sax of Bill Easley and Oliver Von Essen at a burnin’ Hammond B3.

Ruth Brown

Le Jazz Au Bar; 184 capacity; $40

Production: Presented inhouse. Opened and reviewed July 14, 2003; closes July 25.

Cast: Band: Ruth Brown, Rodney Jones, Bill Easley, Jesse "Cheese" Hameen, Paul Ramsey, Oliver Von Essen.

More Music

  • Chester BenningtonWarner Music Group Grammy After

    Linkin Park Pays Tribute to Chester Bennington on Anniversary of His Death

    In her first Gotham gig in five years, and fully recovered from knee surgery and the effects of a stroke, Ruth Brown retains her crown as the undisputed queen of rhythm and blues. The feisty 76-year-old diva holds court from a cushy throne these evenings, seated at a music stand overflowing with a songbook of […]

  • Willie Nelson

    Willie Nelson to Release Frank Sinatra Tribute Album ‘My Way’

    In her first Gotham gig in five years, and fully recovered from knee surgery and the effects of a stroke, Ruth Brown retains her crown as the undisputed queen of rhythm and blues. The feisty 76-year-old diva holds court from a cushy throne these evenings, seated at a music stand overflowing with a songbook of […]

  • Watch Pusha T Perform ‘Santeria’ With

    Watch Pusha T Perform ‘Santeria’ With 070 Shake and The Roots

    In her first Gotham gig in five years, and fully recovered from knee surgery and the effects of a stroke, Ruth Brown retains her crown as the undisputed queen of rhythm and blues. The feisty 76-year-old diva holds court from a cushy throne these evenings, seated at a music stand overflowing with a songbook of […]

  • Radiohead Coachella

    Radiohead Demands Answers in Drum Technician's Death

    In her first Gotham gig in five years, and fully recovered from knee surgery and the effects of a stroke, Ruth Brown retains her crown as the undisputed queen of rhythm and blues. The feisty 76-year-old diva holds court from a cushy throne these evenings, seated at a music stand overflowing with a songbook of […]

  • XXXTentacion

    Four Men Indicted in XXXTentacion’s Murder

    In her first Gotham gig in five years, and fully recovered from knee surgery and the effects of a stroke, Ruth Brown retains her crown as the undisputed queen of rhythm and blues. The feisty 76-year-old diva holds court from a cushy throne these evenings, seated at a music stand overflowing with a songbook of […]

  • Cristian Pity Alvarez Accused of Murder

    Argentine Rock Star Cristian 'Pity' Alvarez Accused of Murder

    In her first Gotham gig in five years, and fully recovered from knee surgery and the effects of a stroke, Ruth Brown retains her crown as the undisputed queen of rhythm and blues. The feisty 76-year-old diva holds court from a cushy throne these evenings, seated at a music stand overflowing with a songbook of […]

  • 'Spyro' Composer Returns With New Main

    The Police's Copeland Composes New 'Spyro' Main Theme

    In her first Gotham gig in five years, and fully recovered from knee surgery and the effects of a stroke, Ruth Brown retains her crown as the undisputed queen of rhythm and blues. The feisty 76-year-old diva holds court from a cushy throne these evenings, seated at a music stand overflowing with a songbook of […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content