Curtis Stigers: This Life

The mainstream singer and saxophonist revisits earlier hits, including his tribute to inspiration Gene Harris, and adds new repertoire

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Despite his degree of commercial success Curtis Stigers has always been and remains a jazz man at heart as indicated by the majority of his albums. This latest release allows him to revisit his previous successes and commit a couple of songs to disc for the first time.

Stigers followers will surely revel in these newly recorded familiar tunes, including his top 10 entry I Wonder Why, a worldwide hit back in 1991 and (What’s So Funny ’Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding from the Bodyguard film soundtrack. These are balanced by the newcomers Summertime and Tonight Will Be Fine, the Gershwin classic carrying a reggae beat, the latter title, from the pen of Leonard Cohen, carrying a typically bittersweet message.

The title track, nominated for an Emmy award, is, as the singer suggests, slightly more restrained than the original, an accusation one can hardly level at Swingin’ Down At 10th & Main, which carries all the momentum the title suggests – a song Stigers wrote in tribute to his late friend, pianist Gene Harris.

In general the singer is in good voice on ballads or swingers, displaying that maturity he has always, not forgetting the slightly world-weary element giving an extra edge. His saxophone solos are succinct and ably supported by an excellent band, who perform to the highest standards.

This is an entertaining disc, carrying a wide appeal.

Discography
(What’s So Funny ’Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding; You’re All That Matters To Me; I Don’t Wanna Talk About It Now; I Wonder Why; This Life; Keep Me From The Cold; Summertime; Don’t Go Far; Tonight Will Be Fine; Swingin’ Down At 10th & Main; Never Saw A Miracle (57.53)
Stigers (v, ts, ss) with, collectively: Matthew Fries (p, elp); Cliff Schmitt (b); Paul Wells, Keith Hall (d); John “Scrapper” Sneider (t); Larry Goldings (org, kyb). 2021.
Emarcy/Universal 0602435783970