“I knew Ruth Brown was a Jazz/Blues vocalist and heard many of her songs.” I know she enjoyed visiting Colorado. She performed here in many clubs in Five Points during the 50s and 60s. In 1989 Ruth released an album, “Blues & Broadway,” which won a Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Performance, female. She won a Tony award for “Black & Blue” the Broadway musical. Miss Brown also performed at Red Rocks Amphitheater during her tour with Bonnie Raitt in 1995.
That’s all I knew about her until I saw the show Miss Rhythm the Legend of Ruth Brown, featuring Sheryl McCallum and David Nehls. It’s now playing at the Garner Galleria in the Denver Center for Performing Arts Complex. I learned so much about Miss Brown’s life that I never knew. I’ve seen the show grow into the full production it is today. It is awesome! Well put together. I loved the interaction between the musicians and the way Sheryl put her own twist on portraying Ruth Brown. My thoughts on Miss Rhythm: it is wonderfully enlightening and musically entertaining.
When Ruth Brown’s son Ron McPhatter and her nephew Damon Williams came to Denver, I was honored to interview them on my show, Mid-Morning Jazz with Tree King. We had so much fun on the air.
Their thoughts on the musical, “We thought the play was amazing from the storyline to the performances, to set and visuals. David and Sheryl have crafted a play that truly captures the essence of Ruth Brown, Bravo!”
Two very humble gentlemen, helping to keep Ruth Brown’s legacy alive in many ways. Miss Brown’s fight for musician’s rights and royalties in 1987 led to the founding of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1988. The foundation is now run by her nephew Damon Williams. Ron McPhatter runs the Ruth Brown estate. Her autobiography, Miss Rhythm, the Autobiography of Ruth Brown, Rhythm and Blues Legend will soon be re-released.
Miss Rhythm The Legend of Ruth Brown, runs until October 22 at Denver Center for Performing Arts. See it before its run ends!
Pictures by Tree King
Top: Damon Williams, Carlos Lando, Tree King, & Ron McPhatter
Middle: Cast—Back row left to right:
Guitar- Dave DiMiclellis, Ron McPhatter, Sheryl McCallum, Damon Williams, Adon Biggs-Bass, Kenny Moton- Director
Front row: David Nehls – piano, Alex Burse-sax, Skip Lynch-drums
Homepage: Ron McPhatter, Tree King, & Damon Williams