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.


Track Listing: But Not For Me; Baby Plays Around; Centerpiece; Marie; Let's Get Lost; Love; Billie's Bounce; Everything Happens To Me; Parker's Mood; All The Things You Are; I Keep Going Back To Joe's; All Of You; You Are Too Beautiful. (Total Time: 53:01)

Personnel: Curtis Stigers: Vocals, Tenor Saxophone; Larry Goldings: Piano; Randy Brecker: Trumpet; Denis Irwin: Bass; Chris Minh Doky: Bass; Bill Stewart: Drums; Adam Nussbaum: Drums.

| Record Label: Concord Music Group | Style: Vocal


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "The Whole World Must Change" CD/LP/Track Review The Whole World Must Change
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 13, 2016
Read "Guess Who I Saw Today" CD/LP/Track Review Guess Who I Saw Today
by Edward Blanco
Published: July 14, 2016
Read "I'm Gonna Tell You Somethin' That I Know" CD/LP/Track Review I'm Gonna Tell You Somethin' That I Know
by James Nadal
Published: August 2, 2016
Read "Zośka" CD/LP/Track Review Zośka
by Anthony Shaw
Published: April 8, 2016
Read "Trajectoire" CD/LP/Track Review Trajectoire
by Barry O'Sullivan
Published: March 16, 2016
Read "East West Daydreams" CD/LP/Track Review East West Daydreams
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 9, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!