Artist: Curtis Stigers
Album: One More for the Road
Label: Concord Jazz
Release Date: 01/20/2017
There are any number of modern day crooners attempting to relive the golden age when the Rat Pack ruled the Vegas Strip and held court at the Sands Hotel. Most imagine themselves as a reincarnation of Old Blue Eyes, while belting out the popular songs that dominated the airwaves prior to the era of prefab teen idols. Of course, there will never be another Sinatra — or Dean or Sammy for that matter — but given the success of Michael Bublé, Harry Connick Jr. and Josh Groban, it doesn’t take much to sense that their spirits are still hovering nearby.
Consider Curtis Stigers a fervent revivalist as well, and on his new album, One More for the Road, he effectively covers a set of swinging standards that would likely have Sinatra and company toasting with their cocktails in one hand and offering up smoke rings with the other. It’s dominated by the usual array of popular classics — “Come Fly With Me,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” You Make Me Feel So Young, “Fly Me To The Moon” and the like, memorable tunes borne from the pens and pianos of Sammy Cahn, Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter and Rodgers and Hart. Happily too, Stigers and the musicians that make up the Danish Radio Big Band offer an appropriately soaring performance, emulating Sinatra’s sessions with the Count Basie Orchestra practically lick for lick. Recorded before a live audience, the album captures the cool vibe and savvy style that was embedded in these songs from the get-go. The crowd seems enraptured, applauding nearly every opening line and fueling Stigers’ energy and enthusiasm every step of the way.
Best then, to relax and get in the groove. This is swing time, baby, and Stigers is sizzling.