A Hundred Million Miracles
At a time when Richard Rodgers tributes seem more plentiful than reality TV shows, Daryl Sherman's A Hundred Million Miracles (Arbors) offers a welcome change from the same old, same old compilations of Rodgers classics. Working alongside such welcome guests as Ruby Braff, Houston Person, Bucky and Martin Pizzarelli and Bob Dorough, Sherman digs deep into the Rodgers archives. Her imaginative choices include the lilting "Ten Minutes Ago" from Cinderella, the remarkably little known "How Was I to Know?" (cut from 1927's She's My Baby and subsequently refashioned as "Why Do You Suppose?") and the gaily optimistic "Do I Hear a Waltz?" from Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim's failed musical adaptation of The Time of the Cuckoo. Rather than opting for such obvious King and I selections as "Hello, Young Lovers" or "Something Wonderful," Sherman chooses the less hackneyed (and decidedly breezier) "Getting to Know You." Likewise, she sidesteps the usual Pal Joey choices for the sassy "Do It the Hard Way." She and Dorough prove ideal sparring partners on the infectiously charming "Everything I've Got Belongs to You" (though their tongue-in-cheek sprint through "Sixteen Going On Seventeen," The Sound of Music's sugary bow to raging teenage hormones, seems vaguely creepy). Among the album's many gems, I must, however, confess exalted delight with the title tune. Apart from the sporadically covered "Love, Look Away" (best interpreted back in 1958 by Rosemary Clooney) and the frilly "I Enjoy Being a Girl" (whose sexist lyric holds up about as well as the misogynistic "Wives and Lovers"), Rodgers and Hammerstein's finely crafted score for Flower Drum Song remains little-known and little-feted. How terrific, then, for Sherman to lavish "A Hundred Million Miracles," delicate as a lotus blossom and sunny as a summer afternoon, with the affection it has long been due.