When jazz singer Curtis Stigers originally booked the Fulton Street Theater for two shows, it was to record for a live concert DVD. He was set to go until a serious illness in the jazz world sent Stigers' bass player and good friend, Phil Palombi, to New York to fill in. Stigers didn't want to try to bring a brand new bass player up to speed, saying, "It would have been terrifying," and decided instead to keep the dates booked, but just focus on having some fun.
The first thing he did in preparing for the shows was to hire trumpet player John "Scrapper" Sneider. Stigers said Sneider's been instrumental (ha ha!) in rearranging not only classic songs but also some of Stigers' own pop/soul songs from early in his career and putting them back together as jazzier tunes. Sneider has played on Stigers' last three records, and Stigers said that alone, he's a virtuoso and a character and reason enough to come out to see the shows. "Plus," Stigers said, "he's pretty small. You could put him in your pocket."
Along with the modest-sized but hugely talented horn player, Stigers will be joined by regular tour mates Matthew Fries on piano and Keith Hall on drums, plus new addition Cliff Schmitt on bass. Audiences will hear the band's take on some more-contemporary classics from the likes of Willie Nelson and the Police, as well as Stigers' own music, but most of all, they'll be there to experience Stigers' talent as a singer, a songwriter and a storyteller. Communicating with the audience, he said, is the best part of what he does.
Feb. 29, March 1, 8 p.m., $20. Fulton Street Theater, 854 Fulton St., 208-442-3232, visit ICTickets.com.