Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Erik Deutsch - Creatures (2016)

CREATURES...(In Erik's words): 

Creatures… lions, flies, doctors, fish, lovers, fireflies, outlaws, and such… these are the characters of my first solo recording (and DVD). Other peoples' solo piano records have occupied my air-space for the duration of my musical life: Paul Bley's Open To Love, Art Lande's The Eccentricites of Earl Daunt , and Keith Jarrett's Koln Concert are just a few of the albums that have shaped my sound and style. After 20+ years in the business of jazz piano (during which time a number of solo concerts and recordings never quite made it to the light of day) I figured it was time to take a shot and see what I might be able to offer the genre. 

I spent a few months mulling over repertoire from my past--songs that I'd written, tunes that I'd learned (or maybe that I'd meant to learn and never quite got the chance). Eventually I came to the conclusion that my original material was the most obvious and perhaps the most challenging subject. The majority of my songs had been written with an ensemble in mind, and eventually recorded that way, so the re-imagining and configuring of the arrangements sounded like a task that could be interesting. When the subject of where to record came about, I reached out to an old friend, Steven Vidaic.

His Boulder recording studio, Immersive, was a home-away-from-home and happened to house a beautiful seven-foot Baldwin grand: an earthy, dark, distinctly american instrument that would be worthy of such a recording. Steve's big ideas followed: how about a multi-camera video shoot? And why not a live audience? Thus, Creatures was born.

Over the next few months, I was busy composing, practicing, and dreaming up ideas for the concert. Looking back, it's the most personal time I've spent with my instrument in the past decade (aka i was shedding my ass off!!). Hour-long sessions quickly turned into three-hour sessions, and before I knew it I'd sit down for five hours and still not feel like I had enough time to accomplish everything I needed. I'm really proud of my growth during that period and truly feel that I improved as a pianist and a musician (thus before the concert ever took place, I was seeing the rewards of accepting the challenge at hand). 

When the day arrived, the most predictable of scenarios came to be: a blizzard in Boulder. And so through the snow (and it was a lot of snow!) traipsed a small but mighty group of fans to fill Immersive studio. As the concert began, I realized what it truly meant to have an audience in the studio: that although their energy would be an unmistakably positive addition to the recording, my mistakes would live on… forever!!

The final challenge was upon me, staring me right in the face… I made it through relatively unscathed, and I think the music did as well. Hopefully you enjoy what we discovered on that snowy Sunday night January of 2012!

1. Firefly 06:17 video
2. Lover's Eyes 05:13
3. Fishmonger 04:33
4. Tiny Lion 04:46
5. Black Flies 04:28
6. Incandescence 05:26
7. Prayer For Zimewanga 03:37
8. Doctor's Demon 08:33
9. Outlaw Boogie 04:38