Reviews and Articles
Curtis Stigers reviews and articles. Read what people are saying about Curtis and his music.
Clive Davis – 4 stars
Midway through one song, Curtis Stigers’s microphone fell apart. Luckily, the number happened to be You’re All That Matters to Me, the blue-eyed soul hit that helped define his career a couple of decades ago, so his fans were able to fill in the lyrics without missing a beat. “It happened on the right song, at least,” he quipped, as he toyed with a recalcitrant cable. His stage manner is as droll and quick-witted as the very best stand-up comedian’s.
Tim Brennan, No Depression Magazine
There was a time when some people wrote song and some people sang songs. The two rarely mixed. In that era of Tin Pan Alley and the songwriting mills, Curtis Stigers would have been a demi god. As he displays on Let’s Go Out Tonight, he can take well written songs and wring every bit of melody and emotion out of them. Songwriters would be inventing ways to get Stigers to record one of their works.
But those days of songwriters churning out one song after another in the hopes of crafting a melody that a signer spins into gold, have all but faded away. It became forgivable for a singer to be less than perfect if they wrote their own songs. We could allow a poor performance if we knew that the song came from the artist himself. We’d go so far as to praise the performance “inimitable”. But when that happened, some audiences found themselves unable to get past the quirkiness of some performers, and they lost out on the chance to find some great songs. Dylan was too nasal, Earl too controversial, Tweedy has a punk kid history.
Jazz will always color the world of Boise singer and saxophonist Curtis Stigers, but it’s just one of many influences on this eclectic, personal collection — his best yet.
Stigers’ 10th studio album feels like a new beginning. He wrote none of these songs, but you can imagine them on his iPod’s “most played” list. He uses them to boil down the essence of his musical DNA not just as a performer, but as a fan. With the helpful ear of producer Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Madeleine Peyroux) and a fresh group of backing musicians, Stigers connects with pop, Americana, folk and soul in a deep, self-reflective way.
Mike Ragogna, Huffington Post
Mike Ragogna: Curtis, you have a new album, Let’s Go Out Tonight. But first, it seems you made a certain person named Nick Lowe quite a bit of money by performing his original song “(What’s So Funny About) Peace, Love, And Understanding,” on The Bodyguard Soundtrack.
Curtis Stigers: Yeah, it was all by accident. I’d been a fan of Nick’s since I was a kid. I loved all of the records that he produced. I happened to do that song as the final song of my set every night, and that ended up being the track that I was lucky enough to put on The Bodyguard soundtrack. Then it went on to sell over 40 million copies thanks to Whitney Houston, God rest her soul. It was a big surprise for all of us. One day, I got a call from my hero, Nick Lowe, out of the blue thanking me for doing the song. He told me I’d never have to buy a meal in London again. (laughs) So, every now and then, Nick Lowe buys me dinner in London. The best thing that came out of all of that, besides Nick becoming rich, was that I’ve gotten to become friends with one of my heroes.
CriticalJazz.com – 5 Stars
Smooth jazz? No…Contemporary jazz? No, try again. Curtis Stigers Let’s Go Out Tonight is a critics worst nightmare as it sidesteps both his past impressive discography and the current plethora of sub-genres dotting the jazz landscape. Let’s Go Out Tonight is a fresh, inspired and rather eclectic look at some of what most would consider the more alternative takes on artists including Richard Thompson, Jeff Tweedy and even the great Bob Dylan. Opening with a soulful riff on the Bob Dylan classic “Things Have Changed” this Oscar winning song from Wonder Boys helps set the musical tone if not jump start an organic pulse that creeps through the release with well placed jazz sensibilities coupled with an alternative soul spin on tunes that seem to linger long after the last note.
Wall Street Journal
July 29, 2011
By ANDREW MCKIE
When Curtis Stigers came on stage on Wednesday night it felt as if someone had upped the wattage in the bulbs. It ought to have been no surprise that Mr. Stigers is a competent turn on stage—this is, after all, a man whose first album sold more than 1.5 million copies. But I hadn’t quite been prepared for the sheer brio with which he tears into a crowd. The course of his career, and the chat I had had with him that morning, had given me the impression that this was a man backing away from the limelight.
The Rochester City Paper said this about Curtis at The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival:
“It was day No. 5 and did we ever kick it into overdrive. Curtis Stigers started off my evening at Kilbourn Hall. Opening with Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup’s ‘That’s Alright’ with a brief stop at ‘Heartbreak Hotel,’ Stigers was all kinds of suave. His voice was sharp and seasoned — downright luxurious — and his phrasing was impeccable without being the least bit indulgent. When he wasn’t crooning tunes ‘genetically engineered to make you cry,’ he bopped heavy and cool on the sax. Serious class act here, folks.”
-Rochester City Paper, Rochester, NY
4 out of 5 Stars
* John L Walters (guardian.co.uk, Sunday 1 August 2010)
Middle age suits Curtis Stigers better than his long-haired youth. Immaculate in tie, suit and breast-pocket handkerchief, he is smack bang in fashion, making the kind of Blue Note post-bop to which 1960s ad executives sipped martinis. He comes across like an amalgam of Mad Men characters Roger Sterling and Jimmy Barrett.
STEPHEN HOLDEN, The New York Times
A lean, pop-jazz hipster whose buzz-saw voice, much like that of Tom Waits, slices away glib sentimentality, Curtis Stigers is not the usual sort of act one finds at the Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel, although he has played there before. (The last time was five years ago.) Depending on your definition he is either a rock ’n’ roll jazz man who plays a honking saxophone that echoes his raw, craggy singing or a jazz-influenced rocker.
Clive Davis, The London Times – November 7, 2008
His visits to Frith Street are becoming something of an institution, and it is easy to understand why. Of all the singers jostling for attention at the moment, Curtis Stigers possesses by far the most winning stage manner.
If some critics still seem reluctant to forgive him his Nineties pop star past (or for those duets with Penny Smith on the reality TV show Just the Two of Us), the American jazz-blues vocalist simply goes about the business of winning converts among listeners who are not weighed down by preconceptions.