It began on the bandstand of the Red Parrot nightclub in New York City – a girl singer and the saxophone player of a big band. Before long they realized that they shared two things: a love of music and love for each other. This CD is a tribute to both those loves. Sue Halloran and Ken Hitchcock put their love, laughter and talents together to demonstrate what it sounds like to make beautiful music. Between them Sue and Ken have spent many decades in the music business. At seventeen, Sue was on the road performing while Ken was starting at Juilliard. They went on to multifaceted careers that included jingles and recordings with major artists. Sue has also had TV appearances and performs internationally with the trio “String of Pearls,” which has released two CDs. Ken has performed with orchestras, chamber groups, jazz and big bands as well as in the Broadway pit. Sue’s sassy, quirky enthusiasm onstage turns into true elegance in delivering a song that both entertains and touches her audience.
Ken & Sue's highlights from the date of their CD release up to 2014 were some extremely well received gigs at some of the most prominent jazz clubs and cabarets in Manhattan. Their first CD Release Party was at the IRIDIUM. Since this performance was totally sold out, they were asked to do a return engagement. The METROPOLITAN room came next with their All-Star sextet containing many of the musicians from the CD. The most recent hightlight was to share the bill with Barbara Cook at 54 BELOW, which has become one of New York's most popular jazz/cabaret rooms.
The songs selected for this CD showcase the many aspects of her personality and musical abilities – her effortless vocal range, impeccable intonation and intimate connection with the lyrics. Ken’s mastery of all saxophones, flutes and clarinets are a clear message to the listener that they are hearing one of the most versatile and accomplished musicians playing in New York today. Ken’s amazing range of abilities and talents led to his decision to provide the entire woodwind section for this CD. And, when these two performers combine their range and talents, the result is magic. Contributing to this magic is the creative team they had the good fortune to assemble. This “A-Team” includes an array of accomplished, talented musicians as well as three of the best musically acclaimed and award-winning arrangers/composers/pianists in the business. The vision and talents of primary arranger Carlos Franzetti helped to create an unforgettable recording. From his decision to bring in the thrilling and commanding sound of the 31 strings of the City of Prague Philharmonic, which adds a lush and soul-stirring beauty to A Quiet Thing and Let’s Fall in Love to his exquisite orchestrations that bring sophistication and an element of surprise to Somewhere in the Hills, I Got It Bad/Autumn Nocturne, I’ll Take Romance and Look at that Face. The title song on the CD, I Can Cook Too, is really “cookin’” thanks to the swinging big band arrangement of Rob Mounsey.
It inspired Sue to write additional lyrics—Food Channel watch out!—which give “free range” to her vocal talents. The interplay between singer and musician in this song demonstrates that sass never goes out of style, summed up in the final tag – a saucy conversation between Sue’s spicy lyrics and Ken on Bari sax. When thinking of creative and “out of the box” arrangements, the first name that comes to mind is Mike Holober. His Hey Daddy puts the funk in Cha Cha and the sugar in daddy. Sue meets her match with Ken’s Bari sax “Daddy,” in this case hailing from the ‘hood and the barrio. My Funny Valentine is dedicated to the generous and creative original engineer for this CD, Manfred Knoop, who recorded five of the songs before his untimely passing this year on Valentine’s Day. Chris Sulit, an equally amazing engineer, took on the challenging task of completing the CD and mixing this incredible tribute. Again, the talents of arranger, and Manfred’s longtime friend, Carlos Franzetti are evident in the multiple dimensions he adds to this sweet Rodgers and Hart love song. Taking advantage of the range and versatility of both Sue and Ken, using only five vocals and five clarinets, the arrangement creates an underlying tapesty of sounds and emotions.
The result is a kaleidoscope-like feeling – always turning and revealing yet another facet, yet another angle of that special love. This CD is fondly dedicated to our mothers, Gladys Halloran and Ann Hitchcock, who taught us the true meaning of strength, perseverance and love of life. They also left us with the secret ingredient to all their fabulous dishes…a can of Cream of Mushroom soup!