Barbara Cook / Michael Feinstein

Cheek to Cheek: Cook and Feinstein

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Michael Feinstein hosts Barbara Cook, the reigning queen of New York cabaret, at his own club, Feinstein's at Loews Regency, in this album recorded during their joint appearance in the fall of 2010. Feinstein may count himself a nightclub veteran of a quarter-century's standing by now, but of course he has nothing on the octogenarian Cook, who remains in excellent voice and was vigorous enough to have made her return to Broadway earlier in the year in the musical revue Sondheim on Sondheim. From that show, she borrows the duet arrangement of "You Could Drive a Person Crazy" to give her and Feinstein something to joust about here. Most of the time, however, they are of like minds and in warm harmony when they sing together. The set has no particular theme, simply consisting of a batch of quality songs and standards. If there is any overall message, it seems to be a celebratory and upbeat one, with songs such as "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive" and "Here's to Life" (Cook solos) and "Without a Song" and "You're Gonna Hear from Me" (Feinstein solos), as well as joint efforts like "Give Me the Simple Life." Different accompanists (including Feinstein himself) slide onto the piano stool at different times, and sometimes a reed (Aaron Heick) and a horn (George Rabbai) join a rhythm section (David Finck, bass, and Warren Odze, drums) for a Dixieland flavor. Cook and Feinstein turn out to be complementary performers, both capable of belting or burning a torch by turn, and displaying considerable rapport that makes the age difference between them disappear.

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