Curtis Stigers

Curtis Stigers

& Band*
The RRazz Room SF welcomes saxophonist and singer Curtis Stigers in support of his new album, Let’s Go Out Tonight.
  • Tuesday, January 15, 2013 • 8pm
  • Wednesday, January 16, 2013 • 8pm

Curtis Stigers released his 10th studio album on Tuesday, April 24th, his 7th album for Concord Records. ”Let’s Go Out Tonight” was produced by Larry Klein and features songs by Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, Richard Thompson, Neil Finn, Eddie Floyd, Steve Cropper, David Poe and more.

These days former pop idol Curtis Stigers does what he loves best, which is performing as a jazz vocalist. Alongside standards he sings lesser known jewels from pop, soul, folk and Americana. On his recent album Let’s Go Out Tonight these include intimate songs by such artists as Bob Dylan, Richard Thompson and Wilco. His pleasant, slightly gritty nightclub voice stands out in this setting. ‘He’s a jazzer who lucked into pop stardom, which is why he can get under the skin of standards’ (The Guardian).

"If voices, like wines, had noses, Curtis Stigers' would be dusky oak with hints of Willie Nelson, Harry Nilsson, Ray Charles, and Matt Dennis. It's a voice that's at once young and old, tender and tough, warm and inviting as a caress, yet sturdy as a firm handshake..."
- Christopher Louden, Jazz Times

Never have Stigers’ genre-blurring instincts been more sharply defined than on his latest album, Let’s Go Out Tonight (April 2012). Stigers describes it as, “probably the most autobiographical album I’ve ever made. It hits so many places I’ve been and things I’ve gone through and am currently going through.” Ironically, given its deeply personal nature, Let’s Go Out Tonight is the first album since 2003’s You Inspire Me that includes no original Stigers tunes. While shaping the playlist with producer Larry Klein, Stigers says he “played him a few songs I’d written, but I hadn’t been writing that much. It’s been a tumultuous year, and I haven’t been able to focus on songwriting. He didn’t think the ones I played for him fit in with what we were going for, and I had to agree with him.” Instead, Stigers and Klein each drew up long lists of song possibilities. “They’re songs I’ve had in my back pocket for years and have always wanted to record. So, in a way, it feels like I wrote the album anyway.” Let’s Go Out Tonight is also the first of Stigers’ Concord albums to completely sidestep the Great American Songbook. Instead, he surveys a vibrant cross-section of pop, folk, country and soul songwriters, ranging from Bob Dylan, Eddie Floyd and Richard Thompson to Jeff Tweedy, Hayes Carll and David Poe, whose “Everyone Loves Lovers” was crafted expressly for Stigers.

Though jazz has been integral to Curtis Stigers’ 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 isn’t a pure jazz artist in the tradition of, say, Mark Murphy or Mel Tormé. 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, “I keep poking my foot through the side of the box. I’m interested in finding a place that’s a no-man’s land between the genres. It’s both a blessing and a curse. I think it’s my greatest strength, but in terms of the marketplace, it can also be considered a liability. Still, I’ve gotta be me!”