Contemporary Jazz

VOICES Notes and news on Contemporary Jazz releases

Found In Dreams

08 OCT 09 JONATHAN WIDRAN

Interpreted autobiographically, the title of Curtis Stigers' sixth Concord Jazz recording Lost In Dreams could hearken back to the early-'90s when the distinctively soulful singer and saxman was riding high as a mainstream pop star.

His self titled 1991 debut sold 1.5 million copies worldwide. He toured with Elton John, Eric Clapton and Bonnie Raitt, hit all the late night talk shows and even had a cut on the zillion selling soundtrack The Bodyguard. Yet his teenage years in Boise were spent cutting teeth with legendary pianist Gene Harris and he was no doubt dreaming of a jazz career all along. While having middling subsequent success as a popster, Stigers carried an unreleased, self-produced jazz recording with him in the late-'90s until Concord's John Burk saw its potential and released it as Baby Plays Around (2000). Finding a welcoming home at Concord Jazz this past decade, he has always looked for ways to incorporate his complementary love of rock and pop into unique jazzy contexts.

On Lost In Dreams, he enjoys the joyful schizophrenia of mixing unexpected interpretations of songs by Annie Lennox ("Cold"), John Lennon ("Jealous Guy") and Roger Waters (a medley of Pink Floyd's "Vera" and the WWII era standard "We'll Meet Again") with high spirited original swingers (the bluesy "Daddy's Coming Home" and sensual "You've Got The Fever") and timeless chestnuts from the Great American Songbook. By the time he hits the saloon for a smoky "In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning," the listener will feel they've shared all the great passions of Stigers' remarkable musical life.

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Jeff Lorber - Hacienda