Erik Deutsch: Creatures
Pianist Erik Deutsch has proven himself in both the jazz and pop realms, thanks to his time in the groove collective Fat Mama, his work with Norah Jones, Citizen Cope, Shooter Jennings, Teddy Thompson and four albums under his own name. YetCreatures is his first true “solo” release, a sweeping, supple and skillful set that brings clear comparisons to piano works by George Winston, Keith Jarrett, and, to a lesser extent, McCoy Tyner. Still, Deutsch’s compositions employ a more melodic tone, from the fluid fills of “Firefly” and “Incandescence” to the more emphatic designs of “Fishmonger” and “Black Flies.” Deutsch can be plucky at times, but his nimble approach makes each of these offerings graceful and engaging, an autumnal approach that doesn’t leave any distance between the music and the listener. Even in its more sobering moments—“Prayer for Zimewanga” being the best example—there’s still a feeling of guarded jubilation, a free-flowing pastiche that reflects a lack of constraint. While the melodies tend to make a more emphatic impression when Deutsch doesn’t delve into more fragmented meandering, as evidenced in “Doctor’s Demon,” there’s not a track on the entire album that isn’t instantly engaging. That defies the notion of most instrumental outings,which often only add to the ambience. Fortunately, these Creatures are far more persuasive.