Daryl Sherman: Spring Fever

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Daryl Sherman

Spring Fever

Birdland Theater, NYC, April 16, 2019

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg for Cabaret Scenes

Daryl Sherman
Photo: Eric Stephen Jacobs

Spring has been slow arriving in New York City this year, but it certainly exploded at the Birdland Theater when Daryl Sherman breezed in with her confederates—bassist Boots Maleson and trombonist Art Baron. Her song list celebrated both the joys and the vicissitudes of the season. (One of the joys of Sherman’s shows is her love of words, savoring their sounds and meanings, such as “vicissitudes” and “travelogue,” a word she expressed enthusiasm for.

) This pleasure was also apparent in her delivery of such wordplay-heavy songs as “Hurry, It’s Lovely Up Here” and “Spring, Spring, Spring” (the latter with lyrics by her beloved Johnny Mercer).

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Sherman is an extremely generous performer so that her on-stage musicians are essentially co-stars who have many moments to show off their dazzling talents. Baron, who once played with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, got to return to his roots with the merry nonsense of “Tulip or Turnip” (Ellington/Don George) and a moody solo on the classic “April in Paris.” Maleson was a constant welcome presence on melodies such as the opener “It’s Anybody’s Spring” (Johnny Burke/Jimmy Van Heusen) and “In April” (Bill Evans/Roger Schore).

But it is the lady at the piano who dominated the show.

Her range—from the comedy songs mentioned above to deeply felt ballads such as “Stars Fell on Alabama” (she shared the fascinating background to that song)—was most impressive. There was a joy in her casual style, from the conversational delivery of the opening verse to “It Might as Well Be Spring” to her seeming surprise at the high notes at the end of the keyboard as she completed that number. Spring may be a little late this year, but for at least one evening, it radiated with warmth and charm while Daryl Sherman was on stage.

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Bart Greenberg

Bart Greenberg first discovered cabaret a few weeks after arriving in New York City by seeing Julie Wilson and William Roy performing Stephen Sondheim and Cole Porter outdoors at Rockefeller Center. It was instant love for both Ms. Wilson and the art form. Some years later, he was given the opportunity to create his own series of cabaret shows while working at Tower Records. "Any Wednesday" was born, a weekly half-hour performance by a singer promoting a new CD release. Ann Hampton Callaway launched the series. When Tower shut down, Bart was lucky to move the program across the street to Barnes & Noble, where it thrived under the generous support of the company. The series received both The MAC Board of Directors Award and The Bistro Award. Some of the performers who took part in "Any Wednesday" include Barbara Fasano and Eric Comstock, Tony Desare, Andrea Marcovicci, Carole Bufford, the Karens, Akers, Mason and Oberlin, and Julie Wilson. Privately, Greenberg is happily married to writer/photographer Mark Wallis, who as a performance artist in his native England gathered a major following as "I Am Cereal Killer."