JazzTimes - 10/95, p.149
"What a brilliant concept--teaming the definitively stylish voice of Sylvia Syms with Johnny Mercer's incomparable lyricism!....Pairing an absolutely captivating vocal stylist with...memorable lyrics...makes this album a treasure..."
Jazziz - 9/95, p.36
"...The quintessential queen of cabaret....treats Mercer's delicate lyrics with sensitivity and thoughtful articulation in this live, 1984-vintage revue. Syms swings from the serious to the slyly humorous..."
Personnel: Sylvia Syms (vocals); Al Cohn (tenor saxophone); Joe Newman (trumpet); Russ Kassoff (piano); Gene Bertoncini (guitar); Jay Leonhart (bass); Ronnie Bedford (drums).
Recorded live at New York University, New York, New York on November 14, 1984. Includes liner notes by Rex Reed.
Digitally remastered by Bob Stone.
Personnel: Sylvia Syms (vocals); Gene Bertoncini (guitar); Al Cohn (tenor saxophone); Joe Newman (trumpet); Russ Kassoff (piano); Ronnie Bedford (drums).
Liner Note Authors: Jack Kleinsinger; Rex Reed.
Recording information: Nyu Loeb Student Center, New York, NY (11/14/1984).
Photographer: Eric Stephen Jacobs.
Sylvia Syms was nearly 65 when she performed this concert and she knew she sounded her age, joking about it several times during the concert. However that makes little difference for the late singer's touching interpretations of Johnny Mercer's lyrics (and her verbal introductions to each song) are often definitive, making this one of her finest recordings. Trumpeter Joe Newman and Al Cohn on tenor (both of whom actually had no opportunity to rehearse with Syms) take occasional solos and the rhythm section (which includes guitarist Gene Bertoncini) keeps the music jazz-oriented although Syms was really closer to being a cabaret singer. One comes away from this previously unreleased program (performed at one of Jack Kleinsinger's "Highlights in Jazz" concerts) greatly appreciating the talents of both Johnny Mercer and the sorely missed Sylvia Syms. ~ Scott Yanow