Curtis Stigers, a musical chameleon par excellence, has released his seventh Concord Jazz CD and, true to form, you can’t really call it all jazz or all anything. Stigers takes tunes like Dylan’s “Things Have Changed,” Steve Earle’s “Goodbye” and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy’s hauntingly optimistic “You Are Not Alone” and filters them through his myriad influences of delta blues, American folk, little/big band, jazz and pop. Hailing from the heartland of America (Idaho), Stigers’s phrasing, inflections and understated arrangements highlight his knack for precise storytelling. Allowing the lyric to shine, he adds a luxurious sensuality to his material with the subtle use of tenor sax (which he plays on this CD) and muted trumpets. On Richard Thompson’s “Waltzing’s for Dreamers” and the lovelorn Eddie Floyd/Steve Cropper gem “Oh, How It Rained,” Stigers shines in the freshness of his re-interpretations. An aficionado of star-crossed love songs, he offers David Poe’s “Everyone Loves Lovers” with its caveat of “except when you’re alone,” and Neil Finn’s sensual “Into Temptation.”
Stigers is an intelligent artist, wisely choosing material and tasking producer Larry Klein to capture the natural organic feel that has become Stigers’s trademark. Let’s Go Out Tonight will surely add to his critical and commercial successes and should convert the uninitiated to this very special talent.
February 1, 2013