Rick Cutler

Keyboardist For David Bowie


Pianist For Sonny Rollins, Billy Cobham & Gato Barbieri

Honest and heartfelt...reflective, spiritual sounding...love all the harmony...reminded me of a good read of short stories right up to the end...what's next??!!

Drummer For Rollins Band & J. Geils

This is absolutely beautiful stuff! Very inspiring. It reminded me of the way I felt when, as a kid, I heard the Keith Jarrett Koln Concerts.

Oakland Jazz Music Examiner

This album is not due in stores until January 4, but I am going to sing its praises here in October. Surely, we can all agree that one of jazz’s greatest strengths is its versatility, the fact that an almost infinite number of subgenres can fit under the name. Cutler’s work on this, his second solo piano recording, runs more to the atmospheric jazz of the ECM label; it even touches on vintage Windham Hill new age. The results border on the hypnotic, with Cutler weaving soundscapes that by turns soothe, enthrall and always intrigue; the middle-of-the-night reflection of the title foreshadows much of the music contained therein. That impression is deepened through such tracks as “Isle of Words Forgotten,” “Charlotte’s Roads Before Her,” “Measuring Eternity,” “Indian Sunset” and “A Song You’ve Heard Before.” Don’t miss this dreamy yet dynamic album.

This Is Book's Music

f you are a fan of the piano, especially jazz piano with occasional classical touches, you will enjoy First Melancholy, Then The Night Stretch (New Dude) by musician Rick Cutler. The entire 18-song album is solo, so the listener gets a chance to hear each song executed beautifully from start to finish without interruption or interference. To be able to hear a musician play like this, adding subtle touches to his audio painting the way he does, is great. While I am not a pianist, I have always admired the sound of the piano and the way it’s played, and hearing this makes me wish I could play the instrument more than “by ear”, so to imagine his (or any musician’s) approach in songs like “Who Needs Words”, “Charlotte’s Roads Before Her”, or “Thank You (For McCoy Tyner)” is part of the listening experience. While he is a musician that plays jazz, this isn’t just a jazz album, and I think most pianists will go into this album knowing and accepting this, since it’s about the power of the musician and the instrument chosen, not the style of music (s)he performs. It’s a stand-out album, and definitely worth picking up. With 18 songs (all Cutler originals), there’s enough to feast on for a long time.

Midwest Record

Pay attention. Here's a drummer that's also a piano man that's played with everyone as well as having written the theme for "Dateline" and the Yankees for MSG Network. You know this guy's work even if you don't know him. This solo piano set sounds like a trip into Bill Evans mind after hours when he doesn't think anyone is listening. Sounding like an American ECM release, Cutler knows his stuff and how to get what he wants making this a sure bet for solo piano fans who know this is what they want. Well done.

Audiophile Audition

Although First Melancholy, Then the Night Stretch is Rick Cutler’s second solo piano release, he may be best known as a percussionist/drummer, theme composer and sideman: he has worked with Liza Minnelli, Gregory Hines and written for television, film and on Broadway. However, as evidenced by this and other recordings, Cutler is a flexible artist. This 62-minute collection draws on influences such as Chick Corea – whom Cutler studied with – Keith Jarrett, Debussy and even fellow drummer Tony Williams. For the most part Cutler’s original material – he wrote all 18 tracks presented here – moves slowly in a late evening blue-mood that has a rural, pastoral and nocturnal disposition. “Charlotte’s Roads Before Her,” for example, has a folkish demeanor that evokes Aaron Copland’s Americana as well as George Winston’s landscape-oriented characteristics. This and many other pieces are evocative of other artists who have made significant impacts on Cutler’s composing and performing style. “Debussy” is of course dedicated to Claude Debussy, whose ideas on symbolism are a notable inspiration: this five-minute cut shares Debussy’s reflective and sensory work and his use of single or simple keys or pitches. A much briefer but similarly-shaded creation, “Noise (For Tony Williams),” honors the iconic drummer who was one of Cutler’s early musical heroes. Praise is also given to jazz violinist Noel Pointer during “Song for Noel,” a methodically poignant piece that blends optimism with loss. “Thank You (For McCoy Tyner)” is yet another commendation to a musical idol, where Cutler does not replicate Tyner’s tone or sensibility but rather offers an impressionistic sensitivity that alludes to Tyner’s literate personality. The darkest compositions form a three-part “Alien Landscape” suite that merges Cutler’s suggestive, minor-key improvisations with echoing wind. Each shortened section is spread amongst the other tunes: Cutler unassumingly rephrases the same brooding theme on each component, which provides both a positive thematic connection but also a negative indication of repetition. “Dance” is the most rhythmically involved performance and seems the closest in spirit to Jarrett’s modern creative muse, although definitely not nearly as breathtaking and ambitious. On “A Song You’ve Heard Before” Cutler mirrors the melodic sketches Corea recorded on his early seventies piano improvisation releases.

Zzaj Productions

Rick’s talent on this second CD is beyond categories… cleanly sculpted notes all the way through, firm keyboard touch and dedication to the mood being created make this a very enjoyable (& new) sonic adventure. For those who love piano...most highly recommended!! 4.97 out of 5 stars!!

WKAR-East Lansing, MI

Rick is truly unique and this is one solid album. Hope he gets wider recognition.

Gapplegate Music Review

From the evidence of his second CD First Melancholy, Then the Night Stretch, Rick Cutler is a pianist with a lyrical thrust, a soloist that draws upon and extends the work of Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea in that vein, with graceful ostinatos accompanying movingly expressive right hand melodizing, use of space and a quasi-classical solo style that is punctuated with exotic harmonies and reflective reveries. He is different enough that what is happening does not smack of plagiarism. It's Rick Cutler music. I'll be glad to file it over with Jarrett and Corea and Steve Kuhn, and will no doubt play it often. It's very nice to hear and a credit to Mr. Cutler's talent. Give it a spin!

WDVR/The Sound Alternative-Sergeantsville, NJ

I love it totally. One of the better piano albums to come my way in ages.


Great album!!

WTUL-New Orleans, LA

What a great, refreshing CD !

KAMP-Tucson, AZ

Truly a testament to Cutler as a purist, or musician's musician if you will; bypassing the trap of labels and genres and instead just playing good music.

All About Jazz Italia

This CD has the consistency of a romantic whisper....Escapes the cliches...He knows that the lyricism of a few notes, suspended between pauses and silences, is priceless...His is a discreet romance and elegant passion...4 Stars!

The World's #1 Music Forum

It is a stellar CD worth perusing.


First Melancholy, Then The Night Stretch is the second solo album from pianist/drummer/composer Rick Cutler. Cutler is an extremely versatile musician with a vast and diverse background that includes classical studies at Juilliard; studies with Chick Corea; touring with a variety of artists that include the late Gregory Hines, Gloria Gaynor, and Liza Minelli (currently); performances in Broadway productions of Hair and The Wiz; and composing for television. Cutler’s list of accomplishments and references could go on for pages, so I mention only a few to give you an idea of how versatile he is. With such a rich history, it is no wonder that his original music goes in so many directions. Despite the diversity of the eighteen piano solos, this album holds together seamlessly and never ceases to amaze. The piano sound is flawless - clear without being brittle or too bright, warm, and a rewarding listening experience for many, many returns. First Melancholy, Then The Night Stretch begins with “Isle of Words Forgotten,” an elegant and somewhat mysterious reflection that flows smoothly and effortlessly without revealing too much. “Gentle Nightmares” suggests a dichotomy, with the left hand presenting a gentle rhythm that propels the piece while the right hand is more “angular” and edgy - one of my favorites. “Charlotte’s Roads Before Her” has a slow, lyrical melody and rubato tempo that suggests tentatively moving forward, making choices and overcoming fears. Each section of the “Alien Landscape” trilogy appears in a different part of the album, with piano accompanied by the sound of bitter wind, evoking images of desolation and foreboding - very effective! “Debussy” captures the sparkle and experimental nature of that composers’ music as well as that of the Impressionist painters of Debussy’s time. “Measuring Eternity” contains elements of improvisation as well as structured composition; melodic yet fluid and changing. “Noise (For Tony Williams)” is edgy and free. “Indian Sunset” is another favorite. Inspired by the beauty of one of nature’s most spectacular displays, the piece expresses a mix of emotions that range from serene contentment to melancholy longing while remaining free to wander and evolve as it wills. “A Dance” suggests expressive free-form movement and grace - love it! “Hymn” is not your traditional four-part harmony Sunday morning song, but a prayer that comes from the depths of the soul - stirring and sincere. “Who Needs Words” clearly and gracefully demonstrates a range of emotions and musical thoughts that need no verbal clarification. “Going Home” closes the album with an uplifting gospel tune that expresses joy and inner peace. Amen! First Melancholy, Then The Night Stretch has introduced me to a new favorite artist in Rick Cutler. Highly recommended!

Raj's Blogspot

Rick Cutler’s latest collection of piano instrumentals is a moody and evocative affair worthy of the album’s equally atmospheric title and cover. The 18 tracks contained on the CD are very cinematic in feel, which should come as no surprise since Cutler writes and performs music for film and television. He also served as Gregory Hines’s keyboardist and musical director for 18 years and currently tours as Liza Minnelli’s drummer, and has also worked with scores of other notable artists in between, giving Cutler an edge as a brilliant composer and a seasoned musician. Cutler is a crafty tunesmith, always drawing you in with captivating hooks, sometimes giving you what you anticipate, and other times taking you in unexpected directions, yet leaving you musically satisfied. The compositions, which include tips of the hat to such classical and jazz influences as Debussy and McCoy Tyner, are subtle and understated and function as a sort of tonic for the psyche. Interspersed throughout the album are three “Alien Landscapes” that exemplify Cutler’s simultaneously adventurous and eerie sensibilities. With the CD as a whole, Cutler has definitely cultivated an artistically and intellectually stimulating sonic landscape for inner reflection and deep reverie.


Rick Cutler’s second album is called FIRST MELANCHOLY, THEN THE NIGHT STRETCH. This solo piano music sounds a bit different than most others because Rick brings forth all of his varied influences. One tune may be soft and reflective in the best new age tradition, but the next might subtly show his jazz influences (Cutler studied with Chick Corea, toured for years with jazz violinist Noel Pointer and had a jazz-fusion band called Exit). In addition, Cutler studied classical music at the prestigious Juilliard School of Music and played in the stage bands for many Broadway musicals, so you hear bits and pieces of those influences too. This is a sophisticated, yet warm and intimate, piano recording. Some of the pieces are slow and soft, while others are extremely rhythmic, pounding, pulsating and upbeat. And some, like the three titled “Alien Landscape 1, 2 & 3,” are a little strange, as you might expect from the title. Several others are tributes to jazz greats, but are less structured than if this was an ensemble recording. Cutler obviously has a lot of talent and he keeps it interesting throughout.

Midwest Book Review.com

Superbly performed and emotionally moving, First Melancholy, Then the Night Stretch explores echoes of memory, reflections on the grandeur of nature, and contemplation of dreams just out of the conscious mind's reach. An extraordinary and beautiful work, highly recommended.

Top 40 Charts.com

Rick Cutler is one of those solo pianists who constructs interesting melodies, but then leaves room for improvisation when he goes into the studio to make the recording. This gives his CD the best of both worlds -- structure as well as the excitement of the moment, a melody along with extemporaneous freedom all of which makes this a fascinating new piano recording worth checking out.

The Borderland.co.uk

Mr. Cutler is an extremely fine musician and composer, and the music doesn't really sound like anyone else's. There is a stark beauty to it.

Acoustic Music.com

In one of the coolest titled CDs I've yet come across, Rick Cutler has created First Melancholy, then the Night Stretch pretty much, just from the title, in exactly the way you'd suspect…but with more than a few differences. He cuts across many pianistic paths in this set of recitals of his own songs and inventions. Melancholy is Cutler and just Cutler, solo, undubbed, quite often almost chamber-ish. Starting pensively in thoughtful narratives difficult to place in time, the CD ruminates inside a little church just down the lane (Isle of Words Forgotten), which becomes an abandoned alley ghosted with lively memories (Gentle Nightmares) letting into reminiscences of sundry events and interludes (Debussy being precisely what you'd expect, a kind of a Prelude au Claire de Reverie a Mer) before waxing modernique in the serial From Then Till Now, a Glassian exercise inflowing an angularization of Gershwin meeting Bob James, Keith Jarrett pushing the lads into traffic lanes. Cutler expended a lot of time on this CD, not in its execution but in the crafting of the songs comprising it. Each stanza shows a subtle wealth of long-considered lines, passages crafted endlessly until not a note remained that wasn't perfectly placed. I can see no way in which this was a set of extemporaneous compositions, the brainwork is too extensive, and the result is a display that at first seems to invite comparisons to Benoit, Guaraldi, Brubeck, and others but which rapidly reveals a classical background highly inflected by the heavier jazz ivory ticklers from Peterson to Jarrett (Song for Noel fuses all of this). Expect to discover a part of your own aesthetic that you hadn't known existed.

8 Notes.com

If after reading this you go and listen to Rick Cutler's "First Melancholy, Then The Night Stretch", pay special attention to the rhythm patterns he sets up in many of the tunes. Those rhythms are outside the realm of most pianists but they come naturally to Rick. In fact, his rhythmic qualities (timing and percussive attack) are what make this an extraordinary new piano recording worth paying attention to. Of course he mostly does it with his left hand but also occasionally with his right, or with both simultaneously. He often sets up the rhythm strongly before jumping off into improvisation which varies between rhythmic and melodic. A couple of highlights are “Charlotte’s Roads Before Her” and the classical-tip-of-the-hat “Debussy.” Check Cutler out.

Victory Review Magazine

Rick Cutler presents what might be considered “softer new age’ but also “exploratory jazz.” Not unlike folk musicians or any other writers for that matter, Cutler’s roots are in his faith and beliefs. In this case Rick adds a quote to the CD cover from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. My first impression is that these compositions are unique and to me they are very moving. Some piano composers have tracks, however good they are, which do not tell me we have moved onto a new thought, mood, or concept. With Cutler’s songs the transitions are clear, yet not unwelcome. It’s like rounding the bend and getting a view of some hidden mountain. ‘Gentle Nightmare’ lacks any of the frightfulness I would expect from the title. Cutler stays close to an inviting melody line played mostly on higher keys. I do not want this dream to end. But then ‘Charlotte’s Roads Before Her’ begins on a warm low tone. The compositions are good but Rick Cutler has assembled a collage with clear variety. ‘Alien Landscape’ incorporates the sound of extraterrestrial wind. There are three such pieces on the CD. A Julliard percussion major, Cutler is also devoted and experienced in Jazz Fusion, Miles Davis and a “…long list of traditional classical composers.” ‘Debussy’ is a tribute. ‘From Then Till Now’ is dark, slightly frantic, wandering the lower keys until the mystery expands to the upper reaches giving us two perspectives at once. The lower notes continue as disturbing boogie-woogie and the higher melody stretches us until resolving together at the end. ‘Measuring Eternity’ reminds me at times of Mingus, whose solo piano LP ‘Myself When I Am Real’ still haunts me. ‘Noise’ is anything but noise; a thoughtful meditation perhaps a treatise about noise. This composition pauses at times to position chords, letting them stand alone like placing them randomly on a map. Cutler’s playing and this recording are crisp. ‘Indian Sunset’ makes me feel like I’ve wandered into an undiscovered piano bar with a pianist who, oblivious to audience, plays timeless favorites-his way and from his depths. More than any solo piano I have reviewed, Cutler’s sense of rhythm and piano voice is as close to having lyrics as any I have heard. ‘Hymn’ brings something familiar with it-a sense that you are drawn in, ready to sing. The CD has a generous eighteen tracks each with finely crafted structure. ‘Who Needs Words’ treads on discord, resolves to simple melody and back. ‘Going Home’ is my favorite and powerful. This is the best solo piano collection I have heard.

Cadence Magazine

Composer/performer Rick Cutler provides an excellent collection of thoughtful originals on solo piano on (1). The diverse program of eighteen pieces displays a purity of expression, with selections that emphasize mood, melody, and interesting rhythmic patterns and grooves. Cutler’s own description of his previous solo piano recording “Sanctuaries” (2005) as “meditative” and “New Age with a Jazz edge,” would apply very well to this current release. Among the varied selections are three “Alien Landscape” pieces which depict stark panoramas, and top-flight melodies such as “Who Needs Words” and “Thank you (for McCoy Tyner),” the latter being one of the finest jazz ballads I have heard in recent years. Currently touring as a drummer for Liza Minnelli, the New York-based Cutler has also served as musical director and keyboardist for tap dancer Gregory Hines, has composed music for numerous film, radio, and TV themes, and has performed or recorded with a wide range of artists including Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Leonard Bernstein, Billy Eckstine, Gloria Gaynor, Rodney Dangerfield, Regis Philbin, and Charles Aznavour. Cutler’s rich musical background undoubtedly contributes to an interesting and eclectic quality in his music, leading to music of great depth which should appeal to jazz, classical, and general listeners. ©Cadence Magazine 2011

Sputnik Music.com

This solo piano music sounds a bit different than most others because Rick brings forth all of his varied influences. One tune may be soft and reflective in the best new age tradition, but the next might subtly show his jazz influences. This is a sophisticated, yet warm and intimate, piano recording.

Review Centre.com

5 out of 5 Stars!! Solo piano music is a strange beast these days. Most of it gets airplay and coverage in the new age music world because it fits there better than most places and so many pianists have had sales success in that community starting way back when with George Winston. There are a few classical pianists who play solo, but no one pays much attention whether they play traditional repertoire like Chopin or write their own material and get lumped into the contemporary-classical or neo-classical genre. And finally there is a very small handful who work in the jazz field like Keith Jarrett, but no one knows whether to call them modern-mainstream-jazz, avant-garde or contemporary-jazz. It is all so confusing. This brings us to the matter at hand, the second solo piano recording by Rick Cutler. A case could be made for placing this CD in either the new age or neo-classical music bins, but truly this New York City keyboardist most closely resembles the solo piano music of Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea in the early Seventies era, although those two tended to improvise their material into longer tunes, whereas Cutler's longest piece is 5:06 (and he has two under two minutes and five under three). But the way the tunes are structured and evolve has a definite feeling of Jarrett and Corea when they were not playing fusion with Miles Davis or Return to Forever in those days. However, Jarrett's playing was a little more flowing and had more air in it than Cutler, who is a bit more rhythmic (probably due to the fact that he also is an in-demand session and touring drummer). Cutler's background materials cite both Jarrett and Corea (and the entire Miles camp) as major influences. Plus Cutler studied under Corea and also had his own fusion band (Exit) in the Seventies (and they loaned out their rehearsal space to Return to Forever for awhile). Although Cutler's bio says he does transcendental meditation, he seems to have less new age music ties than he does a jazz background. For example, Cutler has played behind lots of top jazz artists such as including Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Harry Connick Jr., Billy Eckstine, Michael Franks, Larry Coryell, Noel Pointer and Jon Lucien. Cutler's album is strangely titled First Melancholy, Then The Night Stretch (if you get up and stretch in the middle of the night, do you lose your blues?). On it he dedicates several tunes to jazzsters -- "Thank You (For McCoy Tyner)," "Song for Noel" (Rick toured with Pointer for six years) and "Noise (For Tony Williams)." In addition, Cutler studied classical percussion and piano at the top-flight Juilliard School of Music, and on this CD he also does an original number titled "Debussy" as a tip-of-the-hat to that classical composer. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Cutler also has toured extensively with singer and tap-dance legend Gregory Hines and traditional songbird Liza Minnelli which put Rick in front of audiences all over the world. This must have helped shape his songwriting and performing sensibilities. But the closest to his sound would be if you sat Chick Corea down at a grand piano with a timer and said, "give me a three-and-a-half-minute improvisation." But let's face it, that is not bad company to keep. If you are going to listen to solo piano, why not try what Rick Cutler has to offer -- a solid rhythm, a melodic structure, interesting improvisations and jazz overtones.

The Tango Reporter

His rich creative vein is put out in the open on this CD.


Here’s an intriguing solo disc by a pianist I’m not familiar with, but who has a touch I want to hear more from. This disc is a collection of originals, and the hour’s worth of material is a mix of sounds that hint at Debussy, Bill Evans, Chopin, Jarrett, yet with an individual breath all his own. Like the title suggests, the mood is mostly melancholy, contemplative and pensive, but the melodies, like “Thank You (For McCoy Tyner)” have a depth and richness that keeps you tuned in. More embracing than George Winston, and less jarring than Andrew Hill, the music is a thoughtful balm. Check it out.

World Beat Canada

Sanctuaries is a rare exotic among music breeds; a pop album of solo, instrumental piano music. Come to think of it, I don’t recall ever hearing anything quite like it, although there are touch stones in Rick Cutler’s playing style and compositions. It’s not the free form experimentation of jazz and it’s doesn’t follow the prescribed forms of classical, though Cutler readily cites everyone from Miles Davis to Herbie Hancock, Jimi Hendrix to The Beatles and Chopin to Beethoven as influences. But, what makes this gem rarer still is that the performer/composer does not even consider himself a pianist, but a drummer who happens to play the piano. The back story in the disc’s liner notes, (Remember those? Or, should I ask, “Do you remember compact discs?”), explains the process of construction and, eventually, deconstruction Cutler embarked on to discover the answer to the question which brought him to the recording of Sanctuaries in the first place, “What, if anything, in my musical expression, could be considered uniquely my own?” A solo piano album of pop instrumentals by a drummer couldn’t have been the first answer that came to mind, but it certainly meets the challenge. And, Cutler does himself a pretty piece of self-deprecation by playing down his keyboard playing prowess. His touch is heartfelt and rhythmic as one might expect from a time keeper. There’s an air of Southern Gospel that slips into each new chord with the twang of Bruce Hornsby or early Elton John. In the finest tradition of pop sensibility, the 20 tunes that comprise Sanctuaries are rife with hooks and coherent flow, devoid of unnecessary distraction or ornamentation. Cutler explains, “The title of Sanctuaries came to mind when noticing that, after listening to some of these pieces, I felt myself in a bit more of a peaceful place than before the music started.” In this regard, the album achieves far more than the answer to his original question. That sense of sanctuary his music produces is not his alone. I suspect it’s universal.

Circles Of Light.com

First Melancholy, Then The Night Stretch (New Dude Records) is the flawless, meditative album by Rick Cutler. Talented composer and musician Cutler weaves together for music lovers a beautiful jazz piano album that showcases his innate ability to capture listeners’ emotions. Each original song on First Melancholy, Then The Night Stretch was recorded solo without interruption, definitive proof Cutler is a musician who knows exactly what he’s doing and how to execute an enchanting new age album. The meditative soundtrack First Melancholy, Then The Night Stretch features 18 original compositions by Cutler. All songs are calming and laid-back, the perfect complement for a stretch of relaxation or quiet night in. “Gentle Nightmares” is a dream-like track that highlights Cutler’s exceptional finger work with its gentle-yet-dizzying melody, indicative that he knows how to mix style with emotion. “From Then Till Now” is another track with engaging and unique key work, and highlights Cutler’s ability to lead his listeners in a variety of directions within one neat and tidy song. Perhaps one of the most unique features of the album is the song trilogy “Alien Landscapes” parts 1, 2, and 3. These three songs are haunting, as listeners can close their eyes and picture the eerie wind blowing across the earth. If pressed to choose a favorite song from the album, “Who Needs Words” would be it. This is a beautiful song fitting for all those moment where no words are necessary, whether alone or with someone special. Cutler’s talent for emitting emotions and thoughts through his precise key work is demonstrated through out the entire album. First Melancholy, Then The Night Stretch is an extraordinary piano instrumental album that will surely enchant all listeners, from music experts to the casual new age appreciator looking for a period of inner reflection. I believe this album was created entirely with its listeners’ moods in mind, and as such is a musical success.


First Melancholy, Then The Night Stretch is the second solo album from pianist/drummer/composer Rick Cutler, and if you enjoy piano music with a strong jazz flavor, you will enjoy this album. Cutler is an extremely versatile musician with a vast and diverse background that includes classical studies at Juilliard; studies with Chick Corea; touring with a variety of artists incuding Gregory Hines, Gloria Gaynor, and Liza Minelli; performances in Broadway productions of Hair and The Wiz; and composing for television. With such a rich history, it is no wonder that his original music goes in so many directions. Despite the diversity of the eighteen piano solos, this album holds together seamlessly and never ceases to amaze. The piano sound is flawless - clear without being brittle or too bright, warm, and a rewarding listening experience for many, many returns. While he is a musician that plays jazz, this isn’t just a jazz album, and I think most pianists will go into this album knowing and accepting this, since it’s about the power of the musician and the instrument chosen, not the style of music (s)he performs. It’s a stand-out album, and definitely worth picking up. With 18 songs (all Cutler originals), there’s enough to feast on for a long time. Cutler draws the listener in with captivating hooks, sometimes giving you what you expect but other times taking you in unexpected directions. He always leaves you musically satisfied. The compositions, which include tips of the hat to such classical and jazz influences as Debussy and McCoy Tyner, are subtle and understated.

WXXI-Rochester, NY

WOW! AT LAST. A decent solo piano CD. I love this. Good melodic content, rich harmonic background. This is really excellent.

Huffington Post


Huffington Post

Set for release on Feb. 10th, his son’s birthday, Rick Cutler’s album “Daydreams (Probably)” produced on his own label New Dude Records delivers almost an hour of aural massage with 21 tracks of mostly instrumental, principally keyboard jazz contemplation. The sound experience is an easy stroll with a master musician, the reward for decades of intense collaboration with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Steve Van Zandt, Freddie Hubbard, Charles Aznavour, Gloria Gaynor, Billy Eckstine, Johnny Hartman, Donna Summer, Liza Minnelli and Gregory Hines. “I don’t consider myself famous,” Cutler said with sincerity, shifting focus to the headliners. “But working with Gregory [Hines] was the best job as a side man I’ve ever had. He was the best boss, period. He created a family atmosphere and created a lot of love around him.” Cutler worked as music director and keyboardist for the touring tap dance phenom for 18 years until 2003 when Hines died of cancer. “We’ll sometimes get together and have a meal with that band. We call it ‘the family,’” Cutler reminisced. “It was thanks to his love for the people he liked that it became so.” Part of that beloved family is Branice McKenzie who sings Stevie Wonder’s “Black Orchid” on Cutler’s album, one of three fresh covers in a warm pool of originals. The feel is present and personal, delivering the narrative with phrasing that builds touchingly toward a peaceful resolve. The pianist/drummer romances his actual family with similar fervor. “We have pretty much the best relationship you could possibly want with a father and daughter,” he raved about stepdaughter Charlotte Durkee, 21, who sings on the album. “I met her when she was seven. Since then, anything I lay on her she’s ready and willing to accept. She’s an open vessel for learning. She’s one of the most talented people you ever want to meet.” While Durkee makes her recording debut on “Daydreams (Probably)” with a polished and compelling performance of Bob Dylan’s “Tomorrow is a Long Time,” she’s no novice in the realm of performance. A junior in Drama at the New School, she has already appeared in an episode of “Law and Order” and goes on high-profile auditions as she makes her way toward graduation and develops alternative skills in tech and design. The album comes with some surprises. Lending emotional texture to the its honeyed expressions, Cutler’s own “Opposites Distract” folds an eerie tension into an otherwise mellow Latin groove. “Daydreams (Probably)” is a fitting name for the title track given its attribution to Alfred Hitchcock. Drawing the listener into a suspenseful place, the song pulses with elements of fantasy. The master of psycho-thriller films was said to have responded this way when asked how he came up with ideas for his movies. “Sanctuary” is Cutler’s intended electronic homage to the style of Miles Davis in the 1960s and early ‘70s. On this tune by legendary saxophonist Wayne Shorter, Cutler demonstrates his multi-instrumental skills and technical prowess using delays and a ring modulator along with keyboards, then peppers the otherworldly sonic landscape with soprano saxophone and drums.

The Rogers Review

Rick Cutler’s musical history is truly impressive. For 18 years, he was a musical director and keyboardist for Gregory Hines, and he worked in Broadway shows such as “The Wiz” and “Hair”. Now he’s set to release his new album “Daydreams (Probably)” February 10th of this year. While you’re waiting for the release, let’s talk about this album. “Amuse Bouche” is a 24 second mysterious intro that consists of cymbals. The soft and beautifully played piano in “Overalls” is soothing, but also quite brief. The unique combination of percussion and keys make “The Tall Road” an amazing song to listen to. “Black Orchid” is romantic and would be perfect for date night. “When I Found You Again” treats us to an amazing piano performance by Cutler. This song is just as relaxing as the previous tracks. “Amuse Bouche 3” brings us a faster paced drum solo. “Daydreams (Probably)” has a sweet and peaceful melody. “Walking Meditation” is the perfect song to help you relax. “Amuse Bouche 4” has a drum beat that fluctuates between a soft and slow beat to a slightly rapid rhythm. “Tomorrow Is a Long Time” is sung by Cutler’s daughter, Charlotte Durkee and is beautifully upbeat. The piano and the soft tapping of the cymbals give “Opposites Distract” a whimsical sound. “Amuse Bouche 5” is completely identical to “Amuse Bouche”. “Sanctuary” sounds like the special effects you’d hear in sci-fi films mixed in with smooth jazz. “We Apologize for The Apology” is an upbeat track with energetic cymbals and piano. The slow and deep sound sounds of the piano in “Back & Forth Forever” give this track a somber sound. We hear a drum and cymbal duet in “Amuse Bouche 2” and “Amuse Bouche 6”, as opposed to the drum solo on earlier tracks. The piano and percussion duet makes “A.D., Betty & Joe” an exciting song to listen to. “The Glue in The Cell” has a mysterious melody to it. “Hymn #3” reminds me of hymns one might sing in church and “Purple People” is energetic and will make you want to dance.