This CD of old standards, as performed by singer Daryl Sherman with pianist Dave McKenna, celebrates simultaneously the centennials of Fred Astaire, Hoagy Carmichael, Noel Coward, and especially Duke Ellington. Sherman's background includes both cabaret and jazz, and her friendly swinging style adds just the right touch to complement McKenna's rhythmic piano. A bouncing "Tulip or Tulip," an obscure Ellington tune from the '40s, is a perfect opener; while the moody "It's Lonesome out Tonight" will send folks scurrying for their Ellington discography. The ballad "Isn't This a Lovely Day" and uptempo "Flying Down to Rio" are salutes to Astaire's popular musicals, even if they aren't the tunes most associated with him. Sherman takes McKenna's place at the keyboard on several tracks, including Hoagy Carmichael's delicate "Moonburn" and another seldom heard Ellington work, the playful "Swingtime in Honolulu." The rest of rhythm section is also first rate: guitarist Joe Cohn, bassist Frank Tate, and drummer Terry Clarke. This release is a delight from start to finish.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden