I Can Cook Too, a self-produced album to be released later this year, is the first CD collaboration by husband and wife jazz veterans Ken Hitchcock and Sue Halloran. Putting their distinctive mark on a mix of show tunes, standards and a curiosity or two, the couple, joined by a bunch of their friends, has fashioned an album that showcases both Halloran's impressive vocals and Hitchcock's versatile musicianship as they tackle a repertoire both familiar and off the beaten track.
Halloran is a woman who knows what to do with a song, and she has the vocal chops to do just that. Her phrasing is imaginative and creative. She reads a lyric with intimate elegance. She is less interested in vocal gymnastics than in emotional honesty, and that honesty comes through in each and every song on the album. Whether it's her rollicking take on the title song, Bernstein and Comden's "I Can Cook Too" from On the Town, or the soft nostalgia of "A Quiet Thing" from Kander and Ebb's Flora the Red Menace, she brings out the best in the music.
Hitchcock, a woodwind virtuoso who has played with the likes of Gerry Mulligan, Steely Dan, Buddy Rich, and Machito, to say nothing of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, plays soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxes in a variety of combinations on different tracks. And if that isn't enough he plays flute, alto flute, clarinet, and bass clarinet as well. For example on the pair's swinging version of the Harold Arlen classic "Let's Fall in Love," he is listed as playing two different flutes, two clarinets and three saxes. Not only does he skillfully accent Halloran's vocals, his solo passages are solid complements. His introductory prelude to American songbook standard "I'll Take Romance" shows just how well he sets up the vocal, not to mention the finesse of his musical echoes. Halloran and Hitchcock work together like a well-oiled machine.