Any singer who opens with "Zoot Walks In" (a.k.a. "The Red Door") has my attention from the get-go. The question then becomes, can he (or in this case, she) keep my mind from wandering away to more alluring places?
Sherri Roberts - with alot of help from her friends, some atypical instrumentation, and an offbeat choice of material - succeeds quite nicely in grabbing and maintaining one's interest. She's an accomplished storyteller with a clear and elegant voice (which reminds me of Beverly Mahr, with whom I fell in love with years ago while listening to Gordon Jenkin's wonderful salute to New York City, Manhattan Tower), an unblemished sense of time and near-perfect diction.
This wouldn't be enough by itself, but Roberts has chosen a number of seldom-heard treasures to share with us including Gigi Gryce's "Social Call" (lyrics by Jon Hendricks), Jobim's "Two Kites," Dave Brubeck's "Strange Meadowlark," Bob Dorough's "I've Got Just About Everything," Cole Porter's "Dream Dancing" (another of Zoot's favorite melodies), "Middle Of The Night" (whose lyrics are by Paddy Chayefsky, best known for the play/film Marty), and Hoagy Carmichael's "How Little We Know" (no, it's not the one you've heard before). She has some top notch sidemen in her corner including pianist Soskin ( a free-spirited swinger), bassist/producer Swartz, drummer Gottlieb, and special guest Potter, who appends his supple tenor to "Zoot Walks In," "People Will Say We're In Love," "It Never Entered My Mind," and "Dream Dancing" and moves to soprano on "Social Call."
This is an admirable session by a first-rate Jazz singer.
Jack Bowers, Jazz Now
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