Club Review: Daryl Sherman Trio

August 8, 2021 | By

Start with the tastiest collection of songs to be heard in NYC, add three brilliant musicians at the top of their game, mix in the warm, inviting vocals of an icon of the city’s music scene, add one of New York’s most cozily elegant rooms, and top it all off with a 1,000-watt smile, and you get the recipe for not only a refreshing and moving welcome back to New York nightlife, but a surefire remedy for the malaise that has engulfed the city (and the world) for a year and a half.  The Daryl Sherman Trio was, indeed, just what the doctor ordered, so kudos to Ben Cassara and his Hot Summer Nights Jazz series at Pangea for presenting her.

Daryl Sherman (Photo: Eric Stephen Jacobs)

Daryl Sherman has long been one of the bright lights of New York nightlife and a champion of the hidden treasures of the Great American Songbook and their writers. Her Pangea show was a perfect example.  She started with a brief “weather report.” “Breezin’ Along with the Breeze” (Richard Whiting, Haven Gillespie) turned out to be the coolest, most smile-inducing opening imaginable, and then came Cole Porter’s “Too Darn Hot” which showcased  not only a bit of stride and a lot of fun, but also her endearing “little girl voice”—in this case, the wisest, hippest little girl ever.  That voice might seem light to some ears but it is a remarkably expressive, resilient, and pliable instrument used to perfection. The weather section ended with a gorgeous rediscovery, “Summer Song” (Dave & Iola Brubeck), originally written for Louis Armstrong (whose birthday it was) and later claimed by Jackie & Roy on their masterpiece, Time and Love.  Sherman made an equally strong claim as she wove a spell of gentle poetry and soothing sound over the audience.

Then attention was turned to New York City, with the trio cooking on all burners for “Drop Me Off in Harlem” (Duke Ellington, Nick Kenny) which set the stage for an original paean to the city with, as she put it, “an ulterior motive.” A solo number, “Welcome to Manhattan,” was an example of the essential Daryl Sherman and proved a highpoint of the evening. The singer was quick to acknowledge the inspirations for her next set of songs, starting with an introduction of Eric Comstock in the audience before leaping into a jet-powered “Lullaby of Birdland” (George Shearing, George David Weiss) in honor of his upcoming engagement at the historic jazz room.  Also in the audience was songwriter Nancy Winston who, with Roger Shore,  wrote “Like a Puzzle.”  It was a great find (at least for me), and with Sherman’s delicate, thoughtful rendition,  the song should move from the “unknown” category to the “known” forthwith!  As she so often does, the singer included the rarely done verse to “Sand in My Shoes (Frank Loesser, Victor Schertzinger) and it was a welcome addition to her wistfully understated version of the song.  A reminiscence of the great Mildred Bailey, with a mention of the movie Pigskin Parade (in which Judy Garland introduced the number), introduced the rollicking “It’s Love I’m After” (Lew Pollack, Sidney D. Mitchell).  She made a feast of the lyrics and allowed the audience to partake in it.  “I’m Beginning to See the Light” (Duke Ellington, Johnny Hodges, Harry James) was an apt closer, sending us out into our recovering city with a lighter step, a warmer smile, and a fuller heart.

The remarkable musicianship on view on that tiny stage was staggering in the gentlest way.  I particularly liked the few times the singer was up on her feet, away from the piano, and singing with her cohorts’ gossamer backing. The men were brilliant throughout the evening but especially so in two solos—Guitarist James Chirillo played a spellbinding reharmonization of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (Harold Arlen, Yip Harburg), and bassist Boots Maleson stunned the audience with a haunting, hypnotic immersion in “My Man’s Gone Now” (George Gershwin, DuBose Hayward). 

The best thing about this—at times moving, at times toe-tapping—response to what ails us in 2021 was that it was available without prescription.  For this miracle cure, my hat is off to the Daryl Sherman Trio. Long may they heal!


Presented by Ben Cassara at Pangea as part of Pangea’s Hot Summer Nights Jazz series on August 4.


Category: News / Reviews / Commentary, Reviews

About the Author ()

Gerry Geddes has conceived and directed a number of musical revues—including the Bistro- and MAC Award-winning "Monday in the Dark with George" and "Put On Your Saturday Suit-Words & Music by Jimmy Webb"—and directed many cabaret artists, including André De Shields, Helen Baldassare, Darius de Haas, and drag artist Julia Van Cartier. He directs "The David Drumgold Variety Show," currently in residence at Manhattan Movement & Arts Center, and has produced a number of recordings, including two Bistro-winning CDs. He’s taught vocal performance at The New School, NYU, and London’s Goldsmith’s College and continues to conduct private workshops and master classes. As a writer and critic, he has covered New York’s performing arts scene for over 40 years in both local and national publications; his lyrics have been sung by several cabaret and recording artists. Gerry is an artist in residence at Pangea, and a regular contributor to the podcast “Troubadours & Raconteurs.” He just completed a memoir of his life in NYC called “Didn’t I Ever Tell You This?”

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  1. Carol Shedlin says:

    Brilliant musicians.
    Thank you for the beautifully written article