If you haven't danced barefoot in the streets for a while, prepare yourself, 'cause this one's gonna remind you why you used to. Covering the joyous but obscure Jobim track Somewhere in the Hills, singer Sue Halloran bounces about in fresh-faced sunny-day vocal gamboling like a teen-ager just released for the summer after a long school year. Her husband, Ken Hitchcock, is a one-man wind and brass orchestra playing multiple instruments on all cuts amid excellent arrangements chiefly by Carlos Franzetti. The title track, I Can Cook, Too!, continues the jiving grin-fest (and, yep, the song refers to both sides of the double entendre) in a big band context, trumpets and trombones clustering around Hitchcock's horns for big splashy sound.
Halloran and Hitchcock are husband and wife and made this CD as a gift to each other on the occasion of their 25th anniversary. Judging from the aspect of everything, they're quite a hoppin' couple, as sonically entangled as otherwise, pitch perfect and sweetly swingin'. Engineer Manfred Knoop passed away halfway through the nine-spot (on Valentine's Day!), and My Funny Valentine is dedicated to his memory, but whiz-kid Chris Sulit picked up the reins in perfect synchrony, so the entire outing comes off with the technical superiority of an Owl label recording by way of CTI.
Valentine, as it turns out, is the most adventurous of the nonet, almost as though Stan Kenton had tweaked the charts for Franzetti. Purely voice and horns, with Halloran on lead and chorus vocals and Hitchcock multi-synched on clarinets, the cut's pointillistic and abstract, as if Boulez suddenly got a Gershwin urge and channelled himself through the Swingle Singers or Flying Pickets and Benny Goodman while trying to reproduce a Miro painting in sound. I sure as hell would like to hear an entire CD produced in that mode—man!, would that be nice—but am more than happy to swing, shuffle, and be-bop to everything else. Ya just gotta have uptempo happy-go-lucky music in these times.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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