Daryl Sherman’s all-too-brief summer turn at the Oak Room celebrates the release of her Arbors Jazz CD “A Hundred Million Miracles — The Music of Richard Rodgers.” Sherman is one of Gotham’s most delectable jazz babies, whose feathery vocal technique, sunny demeanor and firmly grounded piano beautifully complement a keenly designed and delivered repertoire.
Sherman puts a new spin on “Do I Hear a Waltz?,” Rodgers’ only collaboration with lyricist Stephen Sondheim. This time around it’s a lilting samba, and it remains a sublimely lyrical dance, despite the subtle and infectious change of tempo.
The songbird also brings new insight to the Rodgers classic “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” with its seductive word design by Lorenz Hart. “The piece has so many facets,” Sherman notes, “it deserves a masters degree in songwriting.” She does all four choruses with its sensuous confessionals and subtle double entendres.
Another “Pal Joey” excerpt is the seldom-performed “Do It the Hard Way,” revealing Sherman’s supple and fervent talent to swing and the clean, clear economy of interpretation.
Along with the firm support of Joe Cohn’s supple guitar lines and Boots Maleson’s full-bodied bass — both musicians are frequent Sherman associates — the diva is joined by vet tenor sax player Houston Person. His syrupy intro for “Little Girl Blue” and the enveloping sexual heat his sound brings to “Bewitched” cast a caressing spell.
Composer-pianist Bob Dorough, moonlighting from his Sunday brunch buffet gig at the Iridium, guests with Sherman for a trio of Rodgers’ gems. “Sixteen Going of Seventeen” has never revealed such whimsy and sauciness as it does here. The teenage love song reveals a kind of sweet, naughty edge this time around, and “Everything I’ve Got” romps joyously.
Dorough solos with the film tune, “You Are Too Beautiful,” introduced in 1933 by Al Jolson as a philosophical hobo. Dorough accompanies himself at the piano and croons like Ray Bolger used to dance. His phrasing has a breezy eccentric edge. There is wit and warmth and truth in his serenade. It doesn’t get any hipper than this.
Borrowing the words of Oscar Hammerstein, as found imbedded in “Getting to Know You,” Sherman and her companions are irresistibly “bright and breezy.”