Curtis Stigers – One More For The Road – with The Danish Radio Big Band – Concord Jazz CJA00011, 33:28 ***:
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
(Curtis Stigers – vocals; The Danish Radio Big Band)
Charles Caleb Colton, an English cleric of the 19th Century, offered the following quotation: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. Curtis Stigers provides his own interpretation of this quote with his release One More For The Road, in which he covers ten songs that are inextricably associated with the late, great, Frank Sinatra.
Accompanied by the super-charged Danish Radio Big Band using transcribed arrangements from the original sources such as Billy May, Nelson Riddle, and Quincy Jones, Stigers works the numbers to his best advantage. However in doing so, one is always faced with fact that the master is still the master, and comparisons end up to be a mugs game.
With that caveat in mind, Stigers has a voice that is in the same range as Sinatra’s but without the swagger. However he tackles each number with gusto, and since most of the tunes are up-tempo affairs, he appears to be fully at home with the material. Anyone familiar with the 1966 release entitled Sinatra At The Sands with the Count Basie Orchestra will know the set list of this album, with the exception of My Kind Of Town, Summer Wind and They Can’t Take That Away From Me which were not part of The Sands session.
With his precise diction and suave technique, Stigers approaches those classic Sinatra numbers with panache and vitality. He is especially effective on Cole Porter’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” with Nelson Riddle’s sizzling arrangement reverberating behind the singer. As Quincy Jones’ chart works its magic, Stigers gives “Fly Me To The Moon” an impressive brio. Sinatra rarely made a bad choice in the material he sang, and since Stigers has taken the best of the best, the calibre of handiwork is tasteful.
However at the end of the day, if given a choice of being your own number one, or some else’s number two, the former is the better choice.
TrackList: Come Fly With Me; I’ve Got You Under My Skin; Don’t Worry About Me; You Make Me Feel So Young; My Kind Of Town; Fly Me To The Moon; Summer Wind; They Can’t Take That Away From Me; The Lady Is A Tramp; One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)