(The Pheasantry, 17 July 2019. Review by Lauren Bush)
Daryl Sherman at the Pheasantry was met by an audience of friends and fans alike. It had been a while since she’d been back to the UK and everyone was pleased to see her. Her concert this time was a collection of American Songbook tunes made famous by Louis Armstrong. These ‘Satchmo’ favourites were sandwiched between lots of facts and stories about Armstrong’s life and it was clear that Sherman had fallen in love with this selection of music.
Joined by Alan Barnes on alto saxophone and clarinet and Dave Green on the bass, Sherman reminisced about their first gigs together and it was clear they felt comfortable playing together.
The collection of songs that she chose was a mix of lesser-known Armstrong favourites, like the opening numbers, Jubilee and Double Dare, and some classic favourites like A Kiss to Build a Dream On and Sunny Side of the Street. Other songs like Duke Ellington’s Azalea had interesting arrangements that featured Green plucking an open fifth, giving it an eerie, beautiful quality. Stars Fell on Alabama was preceded by an endearing story about when the first meteor shower was spotted and the people thought that the stars were falling.
Sherman’s nature was kind and patient as she walked her audience through this carefully chosen repertoire. She was mindful to pay tribute to Armstrong’s prestigious career, but also made sure to sing the songs in her own way. Her phrasing was unique and surprising, giving the audience something new to hear when singing such familiar songs. The array of styles included something for everyone, Chim Chim Cheree, La Vie En Rose and even a tribute to the late Duncan Lamont with his tune about Hoagy Carmichael: Oh Hoagy.
Barnes was understated and thoughtful in his solos. His clarinet solos punctuating Sherman’s lyrics in a playful way and his alto solos showed his prowess on the uptempo tunes and his lightness on the romantic slow songs.
One of the comments that was shared about Armstrong’s life was that he expressed a type of “aggressive shyness” and I think that this trio captured this element of his life well. The audience went home feeling nostalgic and impressed.