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Curtis Stigers: One More for the Road (Concord)

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Curtis Stigers: One More for the Road
Curtis Stigers: One More for the Road

Frank Sinatra had already been recording for over a quarter-century when, early in 1966, he united in Vegas with arranger-conductor Quincy Jones and the Count Basie Orchestra to capture Sinatra at the Sands, his very first commercially released live album. Now, to mark its golden anniversary, Curtis Stigers, preeminent among the postmillennial cadre of Sinatra-styled crooners, revisits the shining hour-plus of that double-LP set. A couple months prior to the Sands dates, Sinatra had turned 50. Stigers, too, was 50 when he traveled to Copenhagen to lay down the 10 tracks for this semi-tribute, performed live with the muscular Danish Radio Big Band subbing for Basie’s brassy outfit.

Only seven of Stigers’ selections—including an aptly frolicsome “Come Fly With Me,” a lithe “Fly Me to the Moon” and the bar-propping title tune—are lifted from the original 18-song Sinatra/Basie program, repurposing Jones’ potent charts. Oddly, Stigers sidesteps “Angel Eyes,” Sands’ apex, yet includes “You Make Me Feel So Young,” which he’d smartly covered, in a perky duet with Cyrille Aimée, on his previous CD, 2014’s Hooray for Love. Ably echoing the loose, easy sophistication of mid-’60s Sinatra, he adds the wistful “Summer Wind” (not recorded by Ol’ Blue Eyes until four months after the Sands gig) and two Sinatra signatures, “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” and “The Lady Is a Tramp.”

Originally Published