Curtis Stigers

Curtis Stigers

Pictured: Curtis Stigers

Jazz singer and saxophonist Curtis Stigers performs some of his biggest hits!

American jazz vocalist, saxophonist, guitarist, and songwriter, Curtis Stigers plays some of his biggest hits before a packed house in this episode of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival.In addition to Stigers performance, this episode included a discussion with the festival producers about the first years of the festival and some of its struggles. Though jazz has been integral to Stigers' musical vocabulary throughout his career, his transformation from rock/pop headliner to jazz vocalist is barely a decade old, dating from the release of his debut Concord album Baby Plays Around in 2001.

Stigers is often placed at the forefront of post-millennial jazz singers, but isn't a pure jazz artist in the tradition of, say, Mark Murphy or Mel Tormé. Nor does he want to be. Critical to his unique vocal style and his inimitable interpretative skills is his ability to draw upon his checkered professional past and his wide-ranging musical tastes to synthesize myriad influences, coloring tracks with various shades of pop, country, folk, blues and classic R&B. Asked about his staunch refusal to be compartmentalized, Stigers laughs and says, “I keep poking my foot through the side of the box. I’m interested in finding a place that’s a no-man’s land between the genres. It’s both a blessing and a curse. I think it’s my greatest strength, but in terms of the marketplace, it can also be considered a liability.  Still, I’ve gotta be me!

The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival Series is produced by WXXI Public Broadcasting and distributed nationally by American Public Television. The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival Series is underwritten by The Louis S. and Molly B. Wolk Foundation and Rowe Photo, Video, and Audio.

To see the complete line-up of artists and the airdates, visit: WXXI.org/jazz.

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