New York-based singer and pianist Daryl Sherman has released her latest album on the Japanese label Muzak, Inc. Daryl has performed regularly at the Tableaux Lounge in Tokyo for the past several years and I am more than happy for her success abroad, especially since her long-running, steady gig at the Waldorf in New York had not been extended. I remember seeing her there on a regular basis on each of my trips to the city. She played the piano that Cole Porter was using, too and her repertoire always included unusual and rare songs from back in the day and some contemporaries as well. And let’s not forget those delicious scones!
And that’s more or less the same on her new album. It is a pretty intimate, very close-up performance with just her singing and playing the piano and bassist Harvie Swartz accompanying her on two tracks. The pure joy in the arrangement for “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” is one of the highlights of the album as is the engineering which I know can be a drag with only vocal and piano. So thanks also to Malcolm Addey who worked for the Abbey Road studios as well.
I think it suits Daryl well to include more contemporary stuff in her set, like the Eugene McDaniels classic “Feel Like Makin’ Love”, again delivered in a cute and very coherent arrangement. Simply beautiful. What about the obscure songs then? Well, there is “Let’s Go Live In A Lighthouse”, written by British guitarist Pat McCarthy, a nice story excellently told by Daryl. And there is her own “Cycling Along With You”, a perfect fit right after the McCarthy tune. And again very personal and elightening. If at all, you might compare Daryl’s approach and pitch to those of Blossom Dearie and so it is just fitting that she includes Blossom’s “Inside A Silent Tear” on her album. I also detected a very attractive and charming little vibrato in the word “disappear” and some Shirley Horn similarities in intonation.
The delicate title track includes lyrics in Japanese and is a nice dedication to her ever expanding Japanese audience. Her smoky diction saves this from becoming an exotic little circus number. Daryl is also a veritable swinger, as you can hear in “You Turned The Tables On Me”. There is one song here that has been done to death, I think. But thanks Daryl who starts out with the seldom-heard verse, “Fly Me To The Moon” is saved also by a swell piano solo. Another rarely heard gem is the Cy Coleman/Dorothy Fields tune “You Wanna Bet”, a perfect vehicle for Daryl’s style and the second tune with expert accompaniment by Harvie.
The 12-track collection concludes with “The Brooklyn Bridge”, the Jule Styne/Sammy Cahn song from the 1947 movie “It Happened In Brooklyn” (Frank Sinatra sang this) and a surprise Jimmy Webb add: “The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress” works amazingly well for Daryl. I can hear her interpreting more stuff from the 70s.
You can catch Daryl every Monday to Saturday at Tokyo’s Tableaux Lounge until May 28th.