Thursday, July 10, 2014

Staggering Stigers (Music Review: Curtis Stigers, Hooray For Love."

The issue of pop stars singing standards is a non-issue with me. I am a purist in a lot of sense, but in this sense, I am flexible, even welcoming. I kind of like it when pop stars sing songs from The Great American Songbook, because it means more often than not that you can sense their affinity for the songs in their renditions. (I had no problem with Rod Stewart's standards albums, for example) Aren't these songs so adaptable that they would work in any context? (Bossa versions, for example, are as welcome) Stigers is of the singer/songwriter vein, and had a couple of hits in the 90s. He went more jazzy as a natural progression, or perhaps he was always inclined. "Hooray For Love" is his latest in these jazz outings, and it's fantastic. I love the gravely edge to his voice, it has a folky/jazzy tinge to it, and paired with an intimate setting - a quintet, I believe - we see him in his element. His original songs stand well with the standards. The title track swings and lilts, and is a great paean to love. The same is true with the adorable "Give Your Love To Me." There is understated elegance in this album - the kind you play at a dinner party while having drinks, but not background music enough to play while you are eating. He even duets with the fantastic Cyrill Aimee in "You Make Me Feel So Young." (she's been a long fave of mine)  I can't think of a bad track really.

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