The album includes classics from the Great American Songbook including such gems from the repertoire as George and Ira Gershwin’s “Love is Here to Stay,” Jerome Kern’s “The Way You Look Tonight,” and “If I Were A Bell,” from Guys and Dolls, as well as three songs written or co-written by Stigers, including the title track, “Hooray For Love,” “Give Your Heart to Me,” and “A Matter of Time.” Of his new album, Stigers comments, “On almost all of my Concord records, I’ve done a standard or two and lot of songs by modern songwriters. This time around, I’ve flipped it and recorded mostly standards with a few modern songs.”
A seamless combination of old and new songs, a classic pop album recorded with jazz musicians and a jazz sensibility, Hooray for Love is a celebration of this universal human condition. “I set out for this album to be like an old Nat King Cole record from the 50’s. I’ve had a lot of people ask me to do more standards, not critics or record companies, but friends. So, I had a running list of songs that I love and have always wanted to record. This time it really made sense.”
As with most of Stigers’ recordings, he is very comfortable juxtaposing standards with modern songs. In addition to the songs penned by Stigers, Hooray for Love also includes a Steve Earle song called “Valentine’s Day,” included because, as Stigers notes, “I like songs with stories that are told from a point of view of someone that is flawed, and this narrator is, although he ultimately redeems himself with some very romantic wordplay. I think that, while it’s important to keep the Great American Songbook alive, it’s equally important to be open to adding to it.”
One of the tracks on the album, “You Make Me Feel So Young,” made famous by Frank Sinatra features the up and coming French chanteuse, Cyrille Aimée. “Cyrille is a wonderful singer who’s in her 20s and I’m in my late 40s so it really works – throughout the track she laughs and pokes fun of me for being old and it’s kind of like an old movie, like a Spencer Tracy / Kate Hepburn kind of thing.” Another track on the album, “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” which Stigers learned from a recording by Tony Bennett and jazz pianist Bill Evans, reveals a different perspective on love.
“The guy in this song clearly has been in love and knows what love is, and perhaps he’s still in love, but he’s lost her. That’s what makes it so heartbreaking. My favorite line is: ‘You don’t know how hearts burn for love that cannot live but never dies.’ It takes my breath away.”
Recorded at Brooklyn Recording studio Hooray for Love was produced by Stigers and John “Scrapper” Sneider, and features musicians Matthew Fries (piano), Keith Hall (drums), Cliff Schmitt (bass), Matt Munisteri (guitar), and Sneider (trumpet).