SHERMAN & CO.
There have been female jazz singers who combined vocal and keyboard skills, but only a couple come readily to mind -- Nina Simone and Shirley Horn. So area jazz fans and students of voice have a treat in store when Daryl Sherman, who sings to her own swinging piano accompaniment, opens Tuesday for three weeks at Cates Restaurant and Jazz Club in Alexandria. Steve Novosel will be on upright bass.
Sherman, who grew up in Woonsocket, R.I., used to be taken by her father, big-band trombonist Sam Sherman, to hear jazz in the local clubs. She began piano studies at age 5 and soon was sitting in with her father's weekend band. She also lost some sleep when her father "brought musicians home at 2 in the morning" for jam sessions. Sherman worked with the late cornetist Bobby Hackett and recently sang the part of Mildred Bailey in a re-creation of the Paul Whiteman Orchestra. Artie Shaw chose her to sing with his newly formed band and she produced her own first album, "I'm a Dreamer" (Tropical Belt 101).
"Part of my world is the piano," says Sherman, "but my first love has always been singing. I sang before I could talk and I learned to accompany myself merely because I wanted to sing so badly and didn't have anyone else around to play the piano for me." BOOGIE-WOOGIE BURTON
"My introduction to boogie-woogie was through the rolls on the player piano," recalls Wallace Burton of his Chicago childhood in the 1930s. "That's how I learned. My mother and father and uncles and aunts, they used to play that piano and I was a little boy watching the keys and then imitating by picking out the notes. It was all by ear."
Burton was about 2 when he began this hands-on education and 4 when he began taking formal instruction. At 17, he received a degree in music from Chicago's American Conservatory. In a career that dates from 1952, Burton's associates have included saxophonists Sonny Stitt and Gene Ammons, son of the great boogie-woogie pianist Albert Ammons, who died in 1949. Burton will offer a program of Albert Ammons' selections today at 3 p.m. in the Palm Court of the National Museum of American History. Burton's concert is free and is part of a series sponsored by the Smithsonian's Program in Black American Culture.
When he works in clubs, "People are constantly asking me to play boogie-woogie," says Burton, who teaches music in the Chicago school system. "It's played a very important role in jazz and I thought that since Albert Ammons is someone you hear very, very little about, if anything, it would be good to present his style."