Carla Cook: Just a Swingin' and a Groovin'

Mathew Bahl By

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Cook's plans for the near future include promoting Dem Bones and performing at clubs and festivals both in the USA and abroad. She would also like to carve out some time to work on her songwriting, and she looks forward to working more with large ensembles. "I don't think I have matured enough musically to pull off the great Carla with Strings yet." But big bands are a different story. "It just feels so good. When it's a really swinging big band, that wall of sound behind you, you can't replace that with anything." She will also continue her involvement with a project close to her heart. Cook has been performing in Udu, a jazz opera by trombonist Craig Harris and poet Sekou Sundiata that highlights the shocking reality that slavery still exists in the 21st Century in the Northwestern African nation of Mauritania.

As for the future, Cook wants to continue to take risks. "I believe in pushing the envelope. I believe in experimentation, which was exactly what Bird and all of those guys did. Sometimes your choices are going to be better than other times. But as long as you are exploring things, you are growing as an artist."

That's not to say that Carla Cook doesn't have career ambitions. "One day, I'd like to scat with the Muppets on Sesame Street." "You know," she muses, "you can get some kind of award and it would all be good, it would all be wonderful, but you"ve got to really be somebody deep to get onto Sesame Street. Dizzy and Joe Williams, they were on Sesame Street. I'm aiming for that."

Is there a particular Muppet that Cook is looking forward to trading fours with" "Elmo is just a cutie, but I remember I liked Snuffleupagus. Snuffie was cool."

No doubt that, when they eventually meet, Snuffie will think the same thing about Carla Cook.
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