Review: Algonquin Oak Room

New Swoon On Monday

by Rex Reed
The New York Observer

Get rid of Monday. That’s been the lament of hip New Yorkers who for years have searched in vain for something to do on the dullest night of the week. Theaters are dark, cabarets are closed, and there’s no place to go. The Algonquin has a cure for all that. The great Barbara Carroll is already playing classy jazz piano for Sunday brunch. Now Daryl Sherman, one of the coolest, most accomplished and hardworking singer-pianists in town, is holding court in the Oak Room for discerning cats looking for an alternative to Monday night Chinese takeout and bad movies at the neighborhood multiplex. Since she lost her long-standing gig playing Cole Porter’s Steinway in the Waldorf-Astoria’s Peacock Alley last May after 14 years, her appearances have been rare. Now she’s got a new home, and if her opening night was indicative, her living room is standing-room only.

Daryl is not one of those obvious jazz singers who scat lyrics, distort harmonies and improvise melodies. With her, it’s not about the singer, but the song. Whether she’s crooning her way through Cole Porter’s exquisite “Ours” or singing across the bar lines on Ira Gershwin and Vernon Duke’s “Island in the West Indies,” she plays chords that form musical conversations with her bass player, Boots Maleson, and her swinging guitarist, James Chirillo. She calls her style “minimalist,” without flashy technique, and her Champagne bubble of a voice is so reminiscent of Blossom Dearie that it’s no wonder she shines so brightly on Blossom staples like “They Say It’s Spring” and “I’m Shadowing You.” But within her subtlety, there’s still a lot going on. She explores the subtext in both the singing and the playing. She’s no stranger to daring arpeggios and flatted fifths, but she doesn’t try to dazzle you with versatility or put you to the test with music that sounds like mathematics. Her chords are clear and sure, her phrasing is pristine, her songs are accessible and fun. If you want to get technical, she can sing a four-bar strain of notes, stretch it into the next measure, and at the end of the four bars still land on her feet. Turning the Gershwins’ bouncy “Things Are Looking Up” into a slow, wistful ballad is a surprise, and on Johnny Mercer’s charming stalking song “I’m Shadowing You,” written with Blossom Dearie, she milks it of so many flavors it’s like a Ben and Jerry’s jubilee. (Her new CD, out next month, is a tribute to Mercer’s centennial year celebration.) I guess the best thing I can say about Daryl Sherman is that she interprets standards without reconstructing them. She creates moods that turn each song in her vast repertoire into a miniature painting. In 60 minutes, with a diverse crowd to please, she manages to send everyone home balanced and happy. With high hopes that this weekly gig goes on forever, I can think of nothing better to do than spend an intimate musical Monday with a mellifluous meadowlark.

Posted in Reviews

Upcoming Events!

Thursday, April 26

Date: April 26, 2018

Time: 8:30 pm

Daryl with Pat McCarthy, guitar and Dave Green, bass
203 North Promenade
Cleethorpes DN35 8SL
01472 873730

Saturday, April 28

Date: April 28, 2018

Time: 2:00 to 4:00 PM

The Jazz Centre
Daryl with Dave Green, bass
Victoria Avenue
South End On Sea
Essex SS2 6EX

Sunday, April 29

Date: April 29, 2018

Time: 8:00 - 10:30 pm

Daryl with Dave Green, bass
Broxbourne Rowing Club Jazz
Old Nazeing Road, Broxbourne
Hertfordshire EN10 6QU

Wednesday, May 2

Date: May 2, 2018

Time: 8:30 - 11:00 pm

Swansea Jazzland
Daryl with Dave Cottle trio
St James Club, James Crescent
Swansea, SA1 6DR

May 4 – 6

Start date: May 4, 2018

End date: May 6, 2018

Delft, Holland

Tuesday, May 8

Date: May 8, 2018

Time: 8:30 pm

Daryl with Tom Kincaid, piano Andy Hulme, guitar Grant Russell, bass
15 Grove Avenue, Wilmslow SK9 5EG 01625 528 336

Friday, May 11

Date: May 11, 2018

Time: 6:30 pm

new series! Harlem Nocturne
Daryl sings, plays and discusses songs with special guest, Houston Person