Curtis Stigers,vocals & sax
Matthew Fries, piano
Keith Hall, drums
Cliff Schmitt, bass
John "Scrapper" Sneider, trumpet
Though jazz has been integral to Curtis Stigersí musical vocabulary throughout his career, his transformation from rock/pop headliner (of the sort that filled stadiums and made Leno and Letterman appearances) to jazz vocalist is barely a decade old, dating from the release of his debut Concord album Baby Plays Around in 2001.
Stigers is often placed at the forefront of post-millennial jazz singers, but isnít a pure jazz artist in the tradition of, say, Mark Murphy or Mel Tormť. Nor does he want to be. Critical to his unique vocal style and his inimitable interpretative skills is his ability to draw upon his checkered professional past and his wide-ranging musical tastes to synthesize myriad influences, coloring tracks with various shades of pop, country, folk, blues and classic R&B. Asked about his staunch refusal to be compartmentalized, Stigers laughs and says, ďI keep poking my foot through the side of the box. Iím interested in finding a place thatís a no-manís land between the genres. Itís both a blessing and a curse. I think itís my greatest strength, but in terms of the marketplace, it can also be considered a liability. Still, Iíve gotta be me!Ē
Stigersí career took off when he signed a deal with Arista in the early Ď90s, recording two albums, the first of which went multi-platinum. His commercial appeal was cemented at this time with his cover of Nick Lowe's "Peace, Love, & Understanding" on The Bodyguard soundtrack in 1992. His third album, Brighter Days (1999), featured Jackson Browne, Benmont Trench, and songs co-written by Carole King and Jules Shear. The album's single "To Be Loved" was featured on Dawson's Creek soundtrack. Stigersís album of standards, Baby Plays Around (2001), was recorded for Concord and was the first of a string of jazz releases, Secret Heart (2002), You Inspire Me (2003), I Think It's Going to Rain Today (2005), Real Emotion (2007) and Lost in Dreams (2009). Stigers most recent release, Let's Go Out Tonight (2012), sidesteps the Great American Songbook and focuses on more folk-based songs by the likes of Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, and Jeff Tweedy.
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