[Dixielandjazz] Here's Tp Life - Barbara Cook at 83 at Feinsteins NYC.
Stephen G Barbone
barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sat Jun 11 08:18:38 PDT 2011
A great show by a wonderful lady. Don't miss it if in the New York
Looking Back on Love and Loss, With an Eye on More to Come
NY TIMES - By STEPHEN HOLDEN - June 10 2011
“Here’s to life/And dreamers and their dreams,” sighed Barbara Cook,
spinning out the word “dreams” so that it lingered like the glow on
the horizon after a spectacular sunset.
Although almost every performer over a certain age seems to have
adopted “Here’s to Life,” by Artie Butler and Phyllis Molinary, as the
summing-up anthem of a life lived largely on the stage, no one lends
it more depth and tenderness than Ms. Cook. Singing it near the end of
her new show, “You Make Me Feel So Young,” on Wednesday evening at
Feinstein’s at Loews Regency, she gently led it over the rainbow.
The lessons imparted by “Here’s to Life” are certainly familiar. The
phrase “all you give is all you get,” expresses pretty much the same
sentiment as the Beatles’ “in the end the love you take is equal to
the love you make.”
But when Ms. Cook delivered it in a tone of wistful certainty,
emphasizing “all,” it became personalized; all meant all, a huge
expenditure of energy over a lifetime, holding nothing back.
This is what Ms. Cook, now 83, does with songs, especially ballads.
Her voice may not be the glorious soprano of old. But because she is
profoundly invested in what she sings, the lyrics increasingly take
precedence over the melodies. It’s not that she has lost her voice;
far from it. But it has lowered and diminished in volume.
The show’s spare arrangements, featuring her great accompanist, Lee
Musiker, gave her ample space both to ruminate and to swing freely.
His pianistic punctuation helped shape each song into a statement.
Filling out her quartet were Jay Leonhart on bass, Warren Odze on
percussion and Steve Kenyon on woodwinds.
“You Make Me Feel So Young,” 13 of whose 16 songs Ms. Cook said she
had never performed before, is a show about aging, sex, regret,
triumph, love and loss, all contemplated from the point of view of a
mature woman who is not ready to drop out of the game. Two key
ballads, “I’ve Grown Accustomed to His Face” and “When I Look in Your
Eyes,” examine the comfort and sadness of intimate long-term
relationships. Two others, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “I’m a
Fool to Want You,” describe being in the grip of erotic obsession, and
Ms. Cook sings them from the perspective of someone who has come
through the fire, remembers its flames all too clearly but still
flirts with the possibility of approaching the inferno one last time.
The jauntier numbers, including “Wait Till We’re 65,” “Are You Havin’
Any Fun?” “Love Is Good for Anything That Ails You,” “I Got Rhythm”
and the show’s title song, look squarely at the challenges of old age
and recommend various defenses. High on the list are a sense of humor
and the courage to take chances. No. 1 is love.
Attending a Barbara Cook concert nowadays is like consulting an
oracle. She’ll advise you, to the best of her knowledge, on how to
proceed. From there on, it’s up to you.
Barbara Cook continues through next Saturday at Feinstein’s at Loews
Regency, 540 Park Avenue, at 61st Street; (212) 339-4095,
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