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Musician Curtis Stigers reveals why Dunfermline’s Carnegie Hall is ‘better’ than New York’s

Curtis Stigers
Curtis Stigers

There aren’t many performers who can sell out a venue weeks in advance of their show.

But Curtis Stigers, who plays at Dundee’s Gardyne Theatre on March 15, is one of them.

The singer, guitarist and saxophonist who shot to fame in 1991 with pop songs I Wonder Why and You’re All That Matters To Me, is in the midst of a UK tour.

He is looking forward to rediscovering the city where he did a “hit and run” show in the mid-2000s before he moves on to Inverness, Aberdeen and Dunfermline – venues where tickets are still available.

“The last time I played Dundee it was one of those hit and run shows – we popped in and then we were gone,” explains Curtis in an interview from his home in Idaho, USA.

“I’ve also been to Dunfermline before to the Carnegie Hall. You always remember the Carnegie Hall because of the other one!” adds the musician who lived in New York for 16 years.

“But I have to admit the Dunfermline Carnegie Hall is better for drums than the New York one. It has better acoustics!”

Curtis has played arenas all over the world but some of his favourite gigs have been in medium sized theatres where people are “so attentive” and “listen to every word”.

A good portion of his fans have followed him from his pop days.

But the 51-year-old, who grew up playing and studying jazz, has attracted a whole new audience since he went back to his roots and started recording jazz records in 2001.

Fans turning up in Dundee and Dunfermline can expect him to perform his pop classics.

He’ll be performing alongside The Ryan Quigley Big Band.

But they’ll also find the tracks have been restructured with a jazz twist.

“I always do All That Matters To Me and I Wonder Why,” he says.

“People would be disappointed if I didn’t. I just feel that if I am lucky enough to have songs that resonate with people then I should play them. I just play them in a different way now.”

Curtis will be performing material from his new album One More For the Road, which celebrates Frank Sinatra through classic songs such as Come Fly With Me, I’ve Got You Under My Skin, My Kind of Town and You Make Me Feel So Young.

And he reveals it’s been “such a riot” to perform.

“It’s music I never would have touched 10 years ago,” he says.

“I daren’t. Because Sinatra put such a stamp on it! I’m 51-years-old now. I’ve been around the block a few times. It just feels good. It makes sense. I don’t do a Sinatra impression.”

Jazz or pop, a good song is a good song, however, and Curtis keeps this in mind when he performs.

“I tend to lean towards things that have great stories behind them, “he adds.

“Things that make you cry that make you laugh. If a song moves people, then it works.”

* Curtis Stigers plays at the Gardyne Theatre in Dundee on Wednesday March 15 (SOLD OUT) and at Dunfermline’s Carnegie Hall as part of the Fife Jazz Festival on Saturday March 18 (tel 01592 611101 for tickets)

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