No one can accuse Claire Daly of not keeping her word. She opens this collection of mostly familiar pieces in precisely the manner the album's title suggests, her baritone sax swinging low through "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," a performance that sets the stage for a series of fresh interpretations.
A veteran of the all-female big band Diva, Daly isn't always in a mood to swing -- her rendering of "For All We Know" typifies the more soulful and spacious side of her repertoire. But when she does swing, whether gently, as on the soft-shoe arrangement of "You Make Me Feel So Young," or vigorously, as on the Sonny Rollins-like calypso take on "Little Old Lady," her tone is sure, her phrasing graceful and sometimes full of life. "Little Old Lady" is one of three tunes on the album that find Daly locking horns with the fine tenor saxophonist George Garzone, who manages to both complement and inspire Daly's performances. However, another inspiration altogether is evident on "Lady's Blues," Daly's evocative tribute to the late jazz great and multi-instrumentalist Rahsaan Roland Kirk. An alert rhythm section composed of pianist Eli Yamin, bassist Dave Hofstra and drummer Peter Grant maintain a light touch throughout the album, a strategy that makes Daly's warm, deep-toned recitals all the more appealing.
Appearing Wednesday at Blues Alley. To hear a free Sound Bite from Claire Daly, call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8122. (Prince William residents, call 690-4110.)