Ruth Hellkamp has maintained the same musical gig at the upscale Desmond hotel in the Albany New York area for an unbelievable 33 years, and is still playing five nights a week year round. Beginning in November of l980 as a "one night fill in", she ended up staying almost three decades to the delight of her fans. Catch her Fridays and Saturdays at the Scrimshaw Room inside the Desmond Hotel, 6PM to 10PM, year-round, and all major holidays.
Anyone walking away from a performance by Ruth Hellkamp, walks away in awe at the magical blend of her obvious classical background, and amazing creativity progressing into her knowledgeable jazz piano technique. There's a little Art Tatum,a little Peter Nero, a little George Shearing...a musical cocktail of solo piano jazz. Her huge repertoire spans the light classics and includes all the past decades of standards and show music.
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, she grew up listening to a wide spectrum of musical influences. With a life-long fascination with the genius of George Gershwin, she added more jazz composer flavors along the way like Ellington, Porter, Rodgers, Michel LeGrand, amongst others. Layers and layers of influence blended, and became a unique style of her own! Educated at Xavier University, Cincinnati, she originally planned a career in Broadcasting.
She plays the music of America...the American Songbook. A walking encyclopedia of American pop and jazz...if it was recorded, Ruth knows it! Obscure songs are featured along with the most well known trinkets from the past, but with a delicious surprise around every turn.
Meeting many musical giants along the way, including Henry Mancini, Charlie Haden, Dave Brubeck, Tony Bennett, all who happened to hear her play at the Desmond, she remains the down to earth suburban lady with the cute historic farm house and the shih-tzu dog named, "Gershwin", likewise passionately interested in politics, art, and writing. A published author of political satire, she also had one of her plays locally produced entitled "The Stockyards", and has written incidental music through the years for locally produced Radio and TV commercials