All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

163

Curtis Stigers: Baby Plays Around

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count

A unique jazz voice from the frontier.

Idaho native and Gene Harris Protégé Curtis Stigers has a voice that is the love child of Harry Connick, Jr. and Betty Carter. His delivery has a rough humor not to be taken too seriously, but serious enough for jazz art. On Baby Plays Around, Stigers basically sings the Chet Baker Songbook in a most un-Chet Baker manner. Everything is here, except "My Funny Valentine." Where Baker sings as a wounded bird, Stigers projects an "Ah Shucks", stuff-happens quality that is immediately likable. Just check out "But Not For Me," The listener might think Baker is near suicidal, while Stigers is just ready to move on. The same with "Let's Get Lost". From Baker's mouth, this song is more about sex appeal of the needle (not a bad metaphor), as opposed to Stigers flirting, carefree fun that precedes consummation.

Stigers' tenor is not half bad. He claims that when a "real" tenor man enters the room, he quickly becomes a singer, but he can certainly hold his own on the blues and ballads as evidenced by a lyrical "Parker's Mood". Which brings us to the disc centerpiece— an incandescent vocalese, "Billie's Bounce". This song is simply phenomenal. Stigers sings very fast, almost spinning from the control of that Parker blues. Stigers has been highlighted on several of the late Gene Harris's recordings, including Down Home Blues and In His Hands. His band is peppered with interesting people. Larry Goldings leaves his Hammond B-3 for the piano and Randy Brecker shows up with his round trumpet tone. The rhythm section is divided, with both sets performing admirably.

Stigers' debut as a leader on Concord Jazz is a welcome one. This is the best jazz vocal disc I have heard this year.


Title: Baby Plays Around | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Prestige

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
One More For The Road

One More For The Road

Concord Music Group
2017

buy
I Think It's Going to Rain Today

I Think It's Going to...

Concord Music Group
2005

buy
You Inspire Me

You Inspire Me

Concord Music Group
2004

buy

Related Articles

Read Dirt...And More Dirt CD/LP/Track Review
Dirt...And More Dirt
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 26, 2018
Read Locked & Loaded CD/LP/Track Review
Locked & Loaded
by John Kelman
Published: May 26, 2018
Read Long Story Short CD/LP/Track Review
Long Story Short
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 26, 2018
Read Awase CD/LP/Track Review
Awase
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: May 26, 2018
Read Invisible Touch At Taktlos Zurich CD/LP/Track Review
Invisible Touch At Taktlos Zurich
by John Sharpe
Published: May 26, 2018
Read My Singing Fingers CD/LP/Track Review
My Singing Fingers
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 25, 2018
Read "Disappeared Behind the Sun" CD/LP/Track Review Disappeared Behind the Sun
by John Sharpe
Published: January 21, 2018
Read "You Already Know" CD/LP/Track Review You Already Know
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 7, 2017
Read "Lux" CD/LP/Track Review Lux
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 20, 2018
Read "From Outer Space" CD/LP/Track Review From Outer Space
by Thad Aerts
Published: March 11, 2018
Read "Inspired by Nature" CD/LP/Track Review Inspired by Nature
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 14, 2017
Read "Moksha" CD/LP/Track Review Moksha
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 28, 2018