Barbara Cook – A Young Octogenarian
By Sandi Durell
The iconic Cook’s latest offering “You Make Me Feel So Young,” at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency, is a tribute to her never-ending ways in which she reinterprets both herself and some new songs added to her long repertoire. She is charming and delightful as she journeys into the songs of Alan Jay Lerner, on whom, admittedly, she hasn’t concentrated very much of her illustrious career, along with others that now become part of the Cook history.
Her low-key maneuvers through some funny Lerner lyrics, with music by Burton Lane, on “Wait ‘Til We’re Sixty-Five” (On A Clear Day . . .) garnered the laughs in all the right places, followed by a sassy “The Frim Fram Sauce” (Joe Ricardel/Redd Evans) with Cook solo on a kazoo midstream. Fear not, as she doesn’t neglect the beautiful ballads, putting her soft, glowing touch to Leslie Bricusse’ “When I Look In Your Eyes” and a plaintive cry to “I’m A Fool To Want You” written by Jack Wolf, Joel Herron with Frank Sinatra.
Sondheim wasn’t forsaken as she paid homage to him from movie Dick Tracy with “Live Alone and Like It” adding special meaning for the single and divorced crowd including Cook. Her brilliant team of musicians, led by Lee Musiker on piano, were given their just due on the piano break in ‘This Can’t Be Love,” a scattin’- jammin’ masterpiece arrangement. Other band members include Jay Leonhart on bass, Warren Odze on percussion and Steve Kenyon on woodwinds.
Few singers earn the right to “Here’s To Life” (Artie Butler/Phyllis Molinary), but, by far, Cook has the No.1 place, as she resonates with simple, honest intensity.
Her voice has taken on some beautiful colors as it ripens and to answer the question posed in Sammy Fain & Jack Yellen’s “Are You Havin’ Any Fun,” which she sings at the beginning of the show, the answer is a resounding YES, YES, YES!