Curtis Stigers – TONIGHT at 7 PM

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Curtis Stigers, the voice behind the Sons of Anarchy theme song, performs at Zoellner Arts Center tonight at 7:00 PM.

Following a two-month European tour

“Rock ‘n’ roll and jazz share so many of the same artistic bloodlines that it’s remarkable the two don’t fuse more often into the kind of inspired marriage of visceral clout and intellectual savvy conjured by the singer, songwriter and saxophonist Curtis Stigers.” – The New York Times

Tickets are $35/25 and available here.

In conjunction with the concert, there will be a free pre-show lobby performance Doug Hawkat 6pm with Doug Hawk, the Lehigh Valley’s own funk/jazz/R&B artist fills the role of vocalist, keyboardist and principal composer in his myriad of groups. He presents a unique style, which can be described as historically soulful yet progressively hip.

 

Hooray-For-Love-YouTube-150x84Given his string of hit singles, millions of records sold and a 23-year recording career that has touched every continent and nearly every genre, one might expect Curtis Stigers to be very busy. The energetic singer/songwriter/saxophonist regularly barnstorms concert halls, festivals and clubs everywhere from Moscow to Manhattan, accompanied one night by his quartet, another by big band or orchestra. He has released new work nearly every year since he started recording, frequently collaborating with his musical heroes. Along the way, this musician who began his career playing standards in a Boise hotel lobby while moonlighting as drummer in a punk rock band has redefined the constitution of contemporary jazz.

Stigers’ repertoire is not so much eclectic as it is a reflection of his appreciation for the fundaments of tone and craft, for quality. (He credits his mentor, the late soul jazz pianist Gene Harris, for his first lessons in the art.) Though much has been made of Stigers’ perceived transformation from pop to jazz artist, in retrospect the progression of his work seems both organic and practical. “Pop used to be jazz. Jazz has always been about reinvention,” Stigers notes.

Throughout, Stigers makes it all look easy. “Hooray For Love [his latest CD] is the embodiment of what happens when everything works,” raves Critical Jazz. “Nothing short of amazing.”

Perhaps because he has penned so many notable songs himself, as well as writing with the likes of Carole King and Barry Mann, Stigers has come to recognize the small, perfect things that are a great melody and lyric, and how to capture them on paper and on tape. But it is his rich singing voice — singular, balletic, at turns mournful and playful — that has landed him on records with the likes of Al Green and Shawn Colvin, in studios with venerated producers like Larry Klein, Danny Kortchmar, and Glen Ballard, and onstage with a plethora of legends, including pop and rock greats Eric Clapton, Elton John, Bonnie Raitt, Rod Stewart, and The Allman Brothers, and jazz giants Nancy Wilson, Al Jarreau, Gerry Mulligan, Randy and Michael Brecker, Chuck Mangione, Toots Thielmans, Wynton Marsalis, Diana Krall, and many more. The voice, of course, is the thing: hearing Stigers’ confident, nuanced delivery is akin to seeing a celebrated actor lose himself in a role.

That talent was recognized early on by music business impresario Clive Davis, who signed Stigers to a record deal after seeing him in a New York dive. A debut album sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide on the strength of self-penned hit singles like “I Wonder Why,” “You’re All That Matters to Me,” and “Never Saw a Miracle.” A year later, Stigers contributed a cover version of Nick Lowe’s “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love and Understanding” to The Bodyguard Soundtrack, which sold over 40 million copies worldwide. Multiple appearances on The Tonight Show, David Letterman, The Today Show, and countless international TV shows, put Stigers directly in the spotlight of popular culture.

More accolades followed. Stigers’ 2003 release You Inspire Me was The Sunday Times (UK) Jazz Album of the Year; in 2007 BBC Radio 2 awarded him Jazz Artist of the Year. In 2010 and 2013, Deutsche Phono-Akademie named Stigers International Male Jazz Singer of the Year at the Jazz Echo Awards; he received an Emmy nomination for “This Life,” a song he co-wrote and sang for the popular television show Sons of Anarchy. Stigers also recently recorded a duet of Cole Porter’s classic “Well Did You Evah” with Family Guy creator/actor/producer Seth MacFarlane and the John Wilson Orchestra, and he made a cameo appearance in MacFarlane’s movie Ted.

But Stigers seems to be the rare artist who has not allowed his success to influence his artistry, or his sense of self. Born in Hollywood, raised in Boise, and transplanted to Manhattan, he now resides, between gigs, in his hometown back in Idaho, a place where he says he can can raise his daughter and “live a real life.” Here, between blue mountains and green fields, Stigers is able to write and discover the songs he wants to sing.

Here’s a bit of Curtis… come swoon with us at Zoellner tonight.

 

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Linda Ganus Albulescu – Art Show in Easton

Most of us in the Music Department know Linda as the superhero of ensembles. In her utility belt, she deftly serves as ensemble program coordinator, designs graphics for concert promotions, coordinates instrumental scholarships, assists the orchestra, and plays flute. In her spare time (yes, she finds it), she’s a visual artist. Her work is exhibiting now in Easton, PA at the Nurture Nature Center; 519 Northampton Street. The center is open to the public on Saturdays and Wednesdays from 10:00am-1:00pm, and Thursdays from 6:00pm-9:00pm.

Don’t miss this chance to see Linda’s work.

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American Repertory Ballet – A Midsummer Night’s Dream comes to Lehigh Friday, March 6

The next Zoellner Guest Artist is a welcome respite from the droll winter weather. The American Repertory Ballet Company will present “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” accompanied by the music of Felix Mendelssohn. This is a new production by the New Jersey company this season. Artistic Director Douglas Martin has envisioned the work to focus on the characters; their stories with balance to the attention typically paid to the “dream.”

“The traditional ballet A Midsummer Night’s Dream, most famously, Sir Frederick Ashton’s production, is performed in one act to Mendelssohn’s score “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,'” Martin explains. “My new version of the ballet will be in two acts. Act II is set to Mendelssohn’s score for the ballet, and the Act I is set to music from his First Symphony.  I wanted to make a version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that offered something new, but still choreographed in a very classical ballet vocabulary,” Martin explains. “In the studio, we’ve been working on creating very strong characters – both among the Athenians and the fairies. I love the worlds we have created, and look forward to sharing them with the public.”

Douglas Martin will also present a pre-performance lecture at 6:30pm.

The performance will be this Friday, March 6 at 7:30pm. Tickets are available at this link.