Pianist Dave McKenna remembers Daryl Sherman's father this way: "He had the only place in town where you could get pastrami and corned beef sandwiches, and they were good, too." Trombonist Sam Sherman gave up full-time playing and opened his restaurant in Woonsocket, R.I., when his daughter Daryl was born in 1950. McKenna left Woonsocket for good in 1949, when he joined saxophonist Charlie Ventura's band, and didn't meet Daryl until several years ago when they made an album together.
They open as a duo Tuesday at the Maryland Inn in Annapolis, staying through Sunday. In addition to their joint efforts on standards, McKenna will offer some solos and Sherman, a polished pianist, will accompany her own vocals on several numbers each set.
New Yorker magazine jazz critic Whitney Balliett has said that McKenna "may be the hardest-swinging jazz pianist of all time," but the 50-year-old pianist's fans know that it isn't as easy to get him to talk about himself or even about music as it is to get him started on his favorite subject, baseball -- or more specifically, the Boston Red Sox.
In his younger days McKenna and his big-band colleague once played the team from the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra. "I think it was Zoot Sims who named us the Central Park Drunks," recalls McKenna.
"Our manager, saxophone player Al Thompson, used to stand in the coaching box with a can of beer in his hand. The Dorsey band came out with uniforms and softball sneakers with semispikes. We just wore whatever pants we had. We didn't look very good, but we did beat 'em and I was always kinda proud of that."