Daryl Sherman Trio
(Pizza Express Dean Street, 26th April 2011, Review by Frank Griffith)
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Cafe Society comes to Soho. New Englander, and now NYC-based jazz chanteuse and pianist Daryl Sherman, brought her own blend of that culture to Soho’s Pizza Express on Tuesday.
A frequent visitor to our shores since 1999, her trio, consisting of Howard Alden on guitar and Brit bassman Dave Green, had previously racked up many seasons at Pizza on the Park, Hyde Park’s recently closed venue. As a result, she has migrated to the flagship venue for modern jazz, Pizza Express, Dean Street. The lighting, table layout, room shape and general ambiance were much more conducive at the POTP for the song and storytelling kind of menu that this artiste delivers.
Sherman’s chat and anecdotes contribute nearly as much to the show as do the actual songs and jazz. The seamless segue and interplay between these two elements works wondrously in her hands. The audience is simultaneously entertained, and educated about the lives and classic offerings of the British and American songsmiths.
Hailing from Woonsocket, Rhode Island, Daryl has deep roots in thism nusic. Her father, Sammy Sherman, a restaurateur, doubled on trombone and violin. She forged longtime musical associations with other jazzers from that area such as Dave McKenna, Ruby Braff, Harry Allen and the sadly missed cornetist, author and general knower of all things, Richard Sudhalter.
She took the theme of April songs for a medley (“I’ll Remember April” and Bill Evans’ “In April”). Another sequence, interspersed with eloquent anecdotes, consisted of four Johnny Mercer songs in succession, including “Jeepers Creepers” and a pair of his Dream titles, all of which were sung with aplomb.
At one point Daryl rose from the piano and took centre stage to deliver a heart-rending reading of Burton Lane’s “Too late Now”. Her eye contact with the audience, body language with the band and general stage presence had risen in exponential proportions. Perhaps having freed herself from the piano helped her up the ante in attaining a poignancy in delivery, a touch of magic..
Sherman also writes well-crafted and characerful trio arrangements which leave plenty of space for solos. She is no mean pianist, both as accompanist and soloist. Her vertical “hopping in place” motion in time to the beat is a sight to behold-which is in keeping with her scamp-like improvisations mixing light asides and riff trading with Alden and Green. both of whom are driving soloisits in their own right. Dave Green’s bass feature, Oscar Pettiford’s “Laverne Walk,” was a worthwhile diversion from the songfest, as Green put Alden and himself through their paces on this rarely heard jazz classic.
Cafe Society indeed. A dying art to some perhaps, but in Ms Sherman’s case, in ever so able hands. A true celebration of melodies, language and songdom.
Daryl Sherman’s next London appearance is at The Pheasantry in Chelsea on 5th May. Bookings at pizzaexpresllive.co.uk
Any other week than this I would have been down there sitting at a front row table even it meant camping out the day before!