Curtis Stigers' latest album, Let's Go Out Tonight, has been out since April. But other than an in-store with a pick-up band at The Record Exchange, he hasn't done much to push it around town--or around America, for that matter.
"If I play 10 gigs in the U.S. a year, that's a lot," Stigers said.
The reasons are simple. The geography of Europe makes it easier to tour, and he has sold just as many records there despite much smaller populations.
"Copenhagen is nicer than Kansas City--no offense to Kansas City," he said. "OK, well, maybe a little offense to Kansas City."
But Stigers is still pretty pumped about his performance at the Egyptian Theatre Friday, Sept. 14 at 8 p.m.
"This is the big unveiling," Stigers said.
The reason why the jazz star is so jazzed is that Let's Go Out Tonight represents some decent-sized steps out of his comfort zone.
"I was really clinging to the idea that I was a jazz singer," said Stigers. "And I sort of let go of that and just became a singer."
The result is an album that Stigers said exists in a nether-region between genres. There are elements of soul and pop, rock and jazz.
Another major step was Stigers' decision to have the album produced by Larry Klein. It was the first time he let someone else produce one of his albums for more than a decade, since what he described as "being terrorized" by Arista Records founder Clive Davis. But Klein has produced some of Stigers' favorite tunes, and after a dozen years of tossing the idea around, he was finally ready. It made a big difference.
"I started off in 1981 over-singing everything because I wanted everyone to know I listened to Ray Charles," Stigers said. "On this record, every step of the way [Klein] said, 'less,' and that was a revelation to me."
Less is definitely more on Let's Go Out Tonight. Instead of big, jazzy solos from overly qualified musicians, it's a study in subtlety. And Stigers' show at the Egyptian will be his first chance to showcase that newfound restraint. It will also be the last chance to see Stigers locally until his X-Treme Holiday X-Travaganza in December. But if you happen to be in Copenhagen ...