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Listening to Daryl Sherman’s cheerful singing on this album, you may find yourself forgetting that she’s also the pianist on the date. That oversight is your misfortune. Her lightly swinging style on the keyboard shows just how much of these songs she has learned inside out.
Last year’s centennial of Richard Rodgers served to remind us all just how much a part of mainstream jazz his theater music had become. Consequently, Sherman’s album of his tunes, performed with the aid of some of the better known names in jazz, seems completely appropriate.
Sherman is an ideal jazz singer to interpret Rodgers' music because of her approach to the craft. She pays respect to both the lyrics and music, something for which Rodgers was a famous stickler.
Most of the music is performed with bassist Boots Maleson and either guitarists Joe Cohn or James Chirillo, and Sherman chose them well. The string players help propel the session while giving plenty of room to Sherman’s voice and piano.
On what must have been one of Ruby Braff’s last recordings, the cornetist joins Sherman on “You Are Too Beautiful,” his rich tones adding lovely accents to a performance that includes Bucky Pizzarelli on guitar, his son Martin on bass, and Jim Gwin delicately carressing the drums with his brushes.
Tenor saxophonist Houston Person demonstrates the empathy for singers he developed over the years performing with Etta Jones in his contribution to the album, which includes accompaniment on “Little Girl Blue.” His intense, breathy tone acts as a foil to Sherman’s higher, delicate voice, the two of them working nicely in tandem, the saxophone exploding into a bluesy solo before retreating towards the end of the song.
The presence of singer-pianist Bob Dorough on a couple of tunes is an absolute delight. He adds such a lecherous southern twang against Sherman’s innocent delivery on “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” that you have to wonder what he has in mind with the lyric “I’ll take care of you...”
Track Listing: 1. Getting to Know You (Hammerstein/Rodgers) - 3:49
2. How Was I to Know? (Hart/Rodgers) - 3:04
3. You're Nearer (Hart/Rodgers) - 4:58
4. Ten Minutes Ago (Hammerstein/Rodgers) - 2:59
5. Everything I've Got Belongs to You (Hart/Rodgers) - 4:20
6. You Are Too Beautiful (Hart/Rodgers) - 5:53
7. A Hundred Million Miracles (Hammerstein/Rodgers) - 3:51
8. Do I Hear a Waltz? (Rodgers/Sondheim) - 3:19
9. Little Girl Blue (Hart/Rodgers) - 6:58
10. Sixteen Going on Seventeen (Hammerstein/Rodgers) - 5:11
11. Bewitched, Bothered, And Bewildered (Hart/Rodgers) - 7:34
12. Do It the Hard Way (Hart/Rodgers) - 2:42
13. What's the Use of Wond'rin' (Hammerstein/Rodgers) - 3:56
14. This Can't Be Love (Hart/Rodgers) - 3:17
Personnel: Ruby Braff - Cornet;
Bob Dorough - Piano, Vocals;
Houston Person - Tenor Sax;
Bucky Pizzarelli - Guitar;
Daryl Sherman - Piano, Vocals;
James Chirillo - Guitar;
Joe Cohn - Guitar;
Leon Maleson - Bass;
Martin Pizzarelli - Bass;
Jim Gwin - Drums.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.