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!

Saturday, January 27

Date: January 27, 2018

Time: 7:00 pm

Daryl Sherman: It’s All In The Game
Singing Pianist From The Waldorf
“It’s All In The Game” (great hits you know but didn’t know are by CARL SIGMAN)
Dont Tell Mama
343 West 46th St NYC
$17.00 cover charge and a 2 drink minimum per person
Seating from 7:00pm
Approximate running time: 70 minutes

Sunday February 11

Date: February 11, 2018

Time: 2:00 to 4:00 PM

VISIONS services for the blind and visually impaired
Jazz on Tap with DARYL SHERMAN
Local & Vine
282 Hudson Street, NY
info: (212) 625-1616 ext 135
special fund raiser tickets:

Saturday, March 17

Date: March 17, 2018

Time: 8 and 10 PM

Trumpets Jazz Club
6 Depot Square
Montclair, NJ
(973) 744-2600

Sunday, March 18

Date: March 18, 2018

Time: 12 noon to 5PM

New Jersey Jazz Society
Pee Wee Russell Memorial Stomp

with Jon-Erik Kellso, Jay Rattman, Jay Leonhart, Kevin Dorn

Birchwood Manor
Whippany, NJ

See NJJS web page for full information.