Musical Storytellers and Rising Stars

January 7, 2024

An SRO crowd packed the Madison (NJ) Community Arts Center on Sunday, January 7, to hear pianist/vocalist Daryl Sherman and bassist/vocalist Jay Leonhart pay tribute to the musical wordsmiths, Bob Dorough, Blossom Dearie, and Dave Frishberg.

Sherman led off, though, with Frank Loesser’s “If I Were a Bell”, pointing out that Loesser was Frishberg’s favorite songwriter. She performed Dearie’s “I’m Hip”, and Leonhart played and sang “the one song where Dave Frishberg really expressed his feelings.” That song was, “Do You Miss New York”, written by Frishberg after he had moved to Los Angeles to write for TV comedies.

Dorough was Music Director of ABC-TV’s Schoolhouse Rock, and one of his best-known songs was “Figure Eights”. Said Leonhart, “If you can follow this song, you’re a genius.” Another Frishberg song that brought down the house, was Leonhart and Sherman’s duet of “I Can’t Take You Anywhere”.

Here are samplings of all three composers’ lyrics”

Dearie’s “I’m Hip”

“I’m hip, I’m no square 
I’m alert, I’m awake, I’m aware 
I am always on the scene 
Makin’ the rounds, diggin’ the sounds . . .”

Frishberg’s “Do You Miss New York?”

“Do you miss New York? The anger, the action
Does your laid-back lifestyle
Lack a certain satisfaction?”

Dorough’s “Figure Eights”

“Figure eight as double four
Figure four as half of eight
If you skate, you would be great
If you could make a figure eight
That’s a circle that turns ’round upon itself

Sherman and Leonhart were preceded by a Rising Stars opening act featuring violinist/vocalist Jacquie Lee and guitarist Derick Campos. Their repertoire ranged from instrumental performances of Charlie Parker’s “Confirmation” and Gene de Paul’s “I’ll Remember April” to Lee’s vocal on Cole Porter’s “Night and Day”.

At the end of Sherman and Leonhart’s performance, the bassist gave the young performers a shout out and then, in what is becoming a Jersey Jazz LIVE! tradition, invited them to come on stage. (Photo above, from left, Sherman, Lee, Leonhart, Campos). And the afternoon concluded with a rousing rendition by the multi-generational quartet of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “One Note Samba.”

One final note. Sherman, pointing out that Leonhart was a longtime partner of the late pianist/vocalist Barbara Carroll, paid tribute to Carroll and then introduced her daughter, Suzanne Glatt, who was in the audience.





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