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.

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Artist: Rick Cutler
Human Rick Music, 2010