In January 2022, I ran into a jazz version of the soft rock classic You’re All That Matters To Me. The song has been performed by the original artist, Curtis Stigers. I did not know that during all the years Stigers has grown really big in jazz music. The more, I was curious about his 25th February 2022 album release: covering his own big songs in jazz versions. You’re All That Matters To Me has been one of the pre-releases – and I just had to take it as a featured song in the respective Songs Of The Week edition. No doubt I had to go for this review.
Curtis Stigers – About The Artist
Curtis Stigers was born on 18th October 1965 and grew up in Boise, Idaho. He grew up as a jazz musician. Stigers moved to New York and signed a first record deal at Arista, pursuing a rock music career. On 24th September 1991, Curtis Stigers released his self-titled debut album, which included rock, soul and jazz elements. The album turned out to be an international success: While the peak Billboard chart placement was rather shy (#101), it was a Top 10 album in Austria (#3), Germany (#5), the United Kingdom (#7) and Switzerland (#10). The key single, I Wonder Why, however, has been a Top 10 success in his home country as well. None of his albums have been able to connect to this success. Stigers is, however, regularly releasing studio albums. His new retrospective jazz album This Life is already his fourteenth one.
Curtis Stigers – This Life – Track by Track
The twelve track album (incl. the LP Bonus Track) lasts 66 minutes. The eleven track version is 58 minutes.
1. (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, And Understanding
The opening track of the the song, which most of you likely know from the Bodyguard movie. The song works so surprisingly well with Larry Goldings on the organ and John Scrapper Sneider on the trumpet. And… Yeah, I am not into jazz at all, but I do love this one.
2. You’re All That Matters To Me
Okay, that’s one of the big ones. Maybe the biggest one? A song which I loved in my young ages… and which is so damn good in that jazz style some thirty years later. Amazing work.
3. I Don’t Wanna Talk About It Now
Sorry Curtis, I have to give in that I did not follow all of your career, so that I don’t even know the original of this third track too well. The 2022 version of I Don’t Wanna Talk About It About comes with a lovely melody line and strong piano presence. The very nice groove turns it into a really good listen.
4. I Wonder Why
Okay, that’s the other classic. Stigers slows down I Wonder Why even more. The song is not that jazzy, also because Stigers’ vocals are initially just having the piano in the background, other instruments to follow. There is a beautiful sax solo later. Great artist, great original song, great new version!
5. This Life
This Life is a 2011 release. The new version could almost turn the song into the soundtrack music of a hot James Bond movie scene. Beautiful instrumentation.
6. Keep Me From The Cold
This song was the leading single of This Life, when Stigers released the song in December 2021. Similar to I Wonder Why, the song starts with a very reduced, intimate atmosphere and later adds some instruments. However, Keep Me From The Cold rather stays a ballad. Beautiful listen.
Not all songs on the album are Curtis Stigers originals. I guess almost all of you know the 1935 George Gershwin original. Almost a century later, it still feels timeless.
8. Don’t Go Far
The eighth song are beautiful 4:27 minutes. Again, Stigers shows a very soft musical side. The performance is very emotional. Lovely.
9. Tonight Will Be Fine
These seven minutes re-interpret a late 1960’s song by Leonard Cohen. Stigers beautifully changes between quiet and rather powerful moments. I guess that jazz lovers deeply enjoy this one.
10. Swingin’ Down At 10th & Main
7:41 minutes of Curtis Stigers and his musicians at the second last track. As the title is suggesting, the song has strong swing elements, but then again uses quiet and jazzy moments. Cliff Schmitt at the bass is able to show his instrumental skills in this one.
11. Never Saw A Miracle
Could there be a better way to close the album than with this track and with these beautiful lyrics. I loved the album before – and this song definitely cannot stop me from that.
No, I never saw a miracle
I was blind but now I see
The miracle is the love you give to me
12. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
I did not receive this LP bonus track as a promo
Curtis Stigers – This Life – Spotify
I will add the This Life Spotify widget once the album has been published.
Curtis Stigers – This Life – My View
I have been so excited when I received the promo of This Life. Even though there was much more urgent stuff to do for Flyctory.com, I just had to review these tunes first. The singles I heard before were so good. The more I listened to that, the more I felt that this one might not be just good. Not just very good. Welcome to the Club of Excellence to this album. I don’t like jazz generally, but this piece is amazing. And it is great music, without a doubt. It would be wrong to deduct a single notch from the maximum rating.
The Flyctory.com Club of Excellence
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