Cover of Gentleman revealed: a little of the Lowe down on the latest from Curtis Stigers

The legions of publicists at the label have so far only got round to revealing the cover of Gentleman, new from Curtis Stigers (cool photo) soon. If you believe in redemption but above all in not pigeonholing crooners Stigers is your man and even …

Published: 25 Mar 2020. Updated: 2 months.

The legions of publicists at the label have so far only got round to revealing the cover of Gentleman, new from Curtis Stigers (cool photo) soon.

If you believe in redemption but above all in not pigeonholing crooners Stigers is your man and even the hardcore free-jazz loving throng among us who on our off days still like an old ballad delivered meaningfully surely dig Stigers hand on heart.

Long since his pop days the singer/saxophonist is a pretty credible hard touring small club-loving and bigger venue old time jazzer even when he goes for songs that some might feel are to use an old title of his real emotional, ''Gentleman'' (the title reminds me of obituaries in local newspapers that eulogise the deceased in the highest possible terms going like ''he was a real gentleman and had a dry wit''), is co-produced by Stigers and pianist/organist/composer Larry Goldings and features jazz arrangements of standards by Nick Lowe, Tom T. Hall, John Fullbright and David Poe, plus four new original songs. Tracks are: Nick Lowe's exquisite 'Lately I've Let Things Slide,' 'After You’ve Gone,' 'A Lifetime Together,' 'Gentleman,' 'As Usual,' 'Remember,' 'She Knows,' 'Here We Go Again,' Tom T. Hall's 'Shame On The Rain,' 'Green Growing Under The Snow' and 'Learning To Let You Go.' More when we know more and hopefully can share a track. For now check out some of the songs he tackles. Look for the release in late-April-May. Such a shame the current crisis is playing havoc with the extensive touring planned to support the release. But hey everyone is hurting.

Tags: News

Pablo Held, Ascent

The only ''unlocking mechanism'' anyone is thinking about at the moment as events overtake just about everything is a Coronavirus vaccine, not the so-named first track of Ascent. The album once again finds the famed German pianist with bassist …

Published: 25 Mar 2020. Updated: 2 months.

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The only ''unlocking mechanism'' anyone is thinking about at the moment as events overtake just about everything is a Coronavirus vaccine, not the so-named first track of Ascent.

The album once again finds the famed German pianist with bassist Robert Landfermann and drummer Jonas Burgwinkel plus Brazilian guitarist Nelson Veras. Vocalist Veronika Morscher is a guest on two tracks while clarinettist Jeremy Viner also figures however fleetingly as an attractively decorative presence. He pops up hyperactively and most tellingly on bebop warhorse '52nd Street Theme'.

A cutting edge sound spanning Held, Monk, Mompou and Rachmaninoff compositions that explores the latest ideas in terms of small group piano-led jazz Held produced the album himself. But perhaps he needed to step back from his close-up relationship to the music and hand the reins to someone else given that it does not quite reach the places I thought that it easily would on hearing a lead-off track a few months ago.

A pastoral Metheny-esque super refined blend as it all turns out recorded in a Cologne studio back in late-June of course the musicianship dazzles anyone who hears this will surely agree however this turns out to be a difficult album to love because the tunes seem to lack a directness and the whole thing is a little too disengaging. It becomes more an album to study (as a chore rather than object of fascination) because there is a lot here to do just that than to definitively take your breath away. SG

3-stars

Out on Edition. Pablo Held photo top: Bandcamp.