Curtis Stigers defies categorization. The vocalist's singularly distinctive delivery of a classic-to-contemporary songbook is unparalleled in the jazz and popular music marketplace. Across the pond, Curtis was named BBC Radio 2 "Jazz Artist of the Year" in addition to receiving "Jazz Album of the Year" honors from the London Times. His performance with the John Wilson Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall in the "BBC Proms" added his name to the luminary roster of artists featured in this legendary festival. On this side of the Atlantic, Stigers was a 2009 Emmy Award nominee for his original theme song created for the acclaimed FX TV series The Sons of Anarchy. His recording Lost in Dreams earned Stigers the 2010 International Male Jazz Singer of the Year trophy in German's Echo Awards. (Click here to see his performance on the televised awards show.) Stigers' concerts never cease becoming long-remembered highlights for both audiences and arts presenters throughout North America and Western Europe.
Curtis Stigers obliterates pre-assumed labels as comfortably as he tunes his audience's fortunate ears to a new definition of jazz, one that embraces the music of Elvis Costello and Tom Waits as easily as classic standards by Carmichael or Kern. Some will hear a low aching growl of early Chet Baker or the un-chartable arc of a Mark Murphy scat. But there's the unmistakable voice and style of Curtis Stigers — who has taken all the good things about his early days in the pop/rock firmament touring with Elton John, Eric Clapton and others — and sifted them through his unique musical instincts to guide him to where he's arrived today. Frequently named among the best male jazz singers of this generation, he has shared the stage at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis and at Montreaux with Diana Krall. Stigers achieved early pop star status with several self-penned top-ten hits ("Never Saw a Miracle," "I Wonder Why") and inclusion on The Bodyguard soundtrack, one of the biggest-selling recordings of all time. With Stigers, no good song merits indifference. And they all become better in his hands.
In a Word…
"… creative overdrive, a good clip further down the road toward genius." - Christopher Loudon, Jazz Times
"… his generation's answer to Tony Bennett." - Minneapolis Star Tribune
"People who attended our festival this year will be talking about Curtis Stigers for years. This was the first time in the history of the Lewiston Jazz Festival that the audience rushed the stage after the performance to purchase CDs and to get an autograph. Curtis offers that rare combination of top notch musicianship and stage personality. How we’re going to top Curtis as our headliner next year…well…we still don’t know." - Carol Calato, Dir., Lewiston Jazz Festival, Niagara Falls, NY
"Not since Chet Baker has a male singer been quite so cool at impeccably interpreting The Great American Songbook. He’s eloquent on ballads, can turn pop songs into jazz gems, sings heartache songs in a laconically conversational manner and has a voice that’s at once young and old, tender and tough, warm and inviting, yet sturdy as a firm handshake. And he plays some mean saxophone, too. " - Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival/QueensHall.net
A Presenter's Point of View
In addition to spectacular musicality, singular talent and classy showmanship, the whole group exudes a palpable joy and mutual admiration — and always within their trademark distinctive elegance and style. Things are tight, sharp, solid. It's all very infectious and it spreads through the audience in no time flat. Because of Curtis' broad musical journey over the past twenty years, with still-loyal fans from from the pop/rock years in addition to devotees of the last decade's jazz-based recordings, the audience is as eclectic as the set list — and that only adds to the electricity of his performance on stage. His continually exploding popularity in Europe keeps him on the other side of the Atlantic much of the year, where he's filling venues from Paris to London to Copenhagen. We could learn a lot from those audiences, because they've figured it out already. Curtis Stigers just well may be the finest male jazz vocalist working today — anywhere.