Bunny Sigler – Angel Eyes
Bunny Sigler’s latest single, a cover of the jazz standard “Angel Eyes”, shouldn’t be mistaken as tribute. Instead, we’re treated to “Mr. Emotion” tackling a venerable classic with all of the required stylishness and artfulness needed to get it over with a modern audience. This mainstay on the classic soul/R&B scene first came to fame as one of the true titanic talents of the Philly school of performers and his longevity can be marked down to a number of factors, some of which are fully on display with this performance. Sigler retains the uncanny talent for being able to get deep inside any arrangement or lyric presented to him and brings the forcefulness of his own personality to each work. Despite the material’s age, the production helps bring it to vivid life thanks to the clear rendering it receives here. This is a moment that certainly ranks high in Sigler’s long career.
The multi-time Grammy nominee and million+ seller shows no signs of slowing down. His voice and phrasing are still capable of making musical turns within a performance that are the envy of younger, less talented peers and he still has an ear for how to sing with a performance rather than juxtaposing himself against it. He complements the piano and string playing with underrated sophistication and knows how to bring a generous portion of what makes him “him” into every performance. “Angel Eyes” is no different. Despite the song’s history, the ghosts of past performers, particularly the song’s most famous interpreter Frank Sinatra, do not loom over the outing. Sigler takes this song on as if it were written mere minutes before recording and the intimate, engaging quality of the performance will linger long after the final note fades.
Jazz standards are not slam dunks. Devotees of the form are well versed in the differences between versions and will ruthlessly hone in on moments they consider not worthy of such first class material. Bunny Sigler has a lot to live up to here, but it’s obvious that the pedigree doesn’t intimidate him. He sounds certain of where he is going from the first and one cannot help but think Sigler is able to draw from the immense resivoiur of experience at his disposal to make this track resound with the deepest possible impact. Listeners will be hard put to finish this song unaffected by the outputting from Sigler’s soul. He throws himself head long into this with all the zest of a young man and navigates through its emotional weather with a steadiness that ends up mightily satisfying.
Bunny Sigler has come a long way since his discovery performing in Atlantic City’s Ambassador Hotel, but the same inspiration and hunger fueling his earliest days still burns bright in his heart. Those who are familiar with him and suspect he might sound of place with this type of material are in for quite a pleasant surprise. “Angel Eyes” finds Sigler in full command of his art and still capable of wowing audiences worldwide.