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Rick Cutler: Journal

February 3, 2012

Transmitting From NYC...
Yet another nice review for "FIrst Melancholy..." on the press page from

January 26, 2012

Transmitting From NYC...
A nice new review of the "First Melancholy..." CD from Circles Of is now on the Press page.

January 6, 2012

Transmitting From NYC...
Just found out that my CD, "First Melancholy..." is #12 on DJ Scott Raymond's "Top 25 Albums of 2011" list! Scott broadcasts out of Poughkeepsie, NY on WVKR-FM & his show,"Secret Music", has been on the air for decades. Thanks Scott!

January 3, 2012

Transmitting From NYC...
Happy New Year!!
Here's a link to a nicely filmed Liza show from last fall in Basel, Switzerland with yours truly on drums.

December 20, 2011

Transmitting From NYC...
...and a very nice review that just came in for the Sanctuaries CD from World Beat Canada. Also now on the Press page.

December 15, 2011

Transmitting From NYC...
In case you're interested, a "better late than never" review just came in for the "First Melancholy..." CD from I posted it on the Press page.

December 11, 2011

Transmitting From NYC...
I had a blast today playing drums with Lee Musiker's jazz trio at Avery Fisher Hall where we augmented the NY Philharmonic Principal Brass Quintet. I was very proud to have my photo & bio in a NY Phil. program (& my own dressing room with my name on the door to make me feel like a big shot). I added some photos on the photo page from the event. Hope we get to do it again!

November 12, 2011

Transmitting From NYC....
Lo & behold....I've finally updated the calendar page with a couple of interesting things coming up next month!! I'll be starting December with Paul Metzke's trio at the Port 41 bar in midtown. If you're a fan of amazing, blazing jazz, blues & rock guitar, you must check Paul out. He's really an unsung hero. Then moving over to Lincoln Center for a holiday show with Lee Musiker's trio accompanied by the NY Philharmonic Brass Quintet. Lee is Tony Bennett's musical director & a simply incredible jazz pianist. Keep your fingers crossed that I continue to keep that calendar page current!

October 26, 2011

Transmitting From Toronto, Canada...
Made it!!! 18 1/2 hours door-to-door from Basel, Switzerland to Toronto by the skin of our teeth! Our flight from Zurich was delayed about an hour to the point of, when we arrived at Newark (having to clear US customs, pick up our bags, return them to a baggage conveyor belt for the Newark-Toronto flight, take a tram to a different terminal & going through security again!) we were running like mad men & just made the flight to Toronto with minutes to spare. So here we are, in a nice hotel in Toronto, pretty fried but alive. Tomorrow, thankfully, is a day off with the show on Fri. & then home on Sat.
The show in Basel went well. It was one of those crowds that are polite & appreciative throughout & then go kinda crazy at the end. It was part of a big yearly festival which, this year, included people like Paul Anka, Lizz Wright, Earth, Wind & Fire, Chic & Steve Earle. A pretty eclectic lineup.
In other news, I have a couple of radio interviews coming up. One this coming Sunday, Oct. 30 at around 12:25PM with Miyuke Williams from WPFW in Wash. DC, & one with Joe Zupan from WICN in Worcester MA that's supposed to air around 2 or 3PM next Monday, Oct. 31. So, if you're around those areas, please listen in. I imagine we'll be talking a bit about the Sanctuaries CD, especially with Joe who I spoke with earlier in the year about First Melancholy when it 1st came out.
And that about wraps it up from the road for now. As always, I'll write with anything new or interesting as it happens so, till then, enjoy your Autumn &, of course, the forthcoming holiday season.

October 24, 2011

Transmitting From Basel, Switzerland...
The year's final road trip takes us first to this beautiful little city right on the Rhine with European charm in abundance. Still waiting to taste the food which will be soon.
In typical European tour fashion, we left last night & arrived this morning (Swiss time). Our show is tomorrow & then a quick turn around back across the Atlantic for a show in Toronto on Friday before heading home on Sat....and that will be the last of the road for the year unless something unexpected comes up.
As for interesting things coming up back in NYC: On Dec. 11, I'll be with Lee Musiker's jazz trio at Avery Fisher Hall along with the NY Philharmonic Brass Quintet. I believe we'll be doing Lee's arrangements of some holiday music. Lee's a master (as well as Tony Bennett's musical director!) so it should be a great time.
And there you have it. I'll try to make one final entry this week from Toronto. Till then...

October 6, 2011

Transmitting From Las Vegas, NV...
The final stop of this tour of casinos, having arrived today. We're at the Hilton which brings back fond memories as I worked here many times with Gregory Hines, usually opening for amazing acts like Ray Charles, Bill Cosby or Gladys Knight. It's also nice as it's located off the strip, away from the top-tier of Vegas madness. We're doing 2 shows here, tomorrow & Sat. before heading home Sunday.
Following this trip, a special treat for me will be diving into a recording session the next day in NYC with my old buddy Lee Musiker (Tony Bennett's musical director). Lee is truly one of the great accompanists of our time, in my opinion. His knowledge of both jazz & classical combine into some breathtaking moments. Even though we've played together many times over the years (in fact, a trio CD we did from '98 is starting to garner some airplay), I always feel lucky to get the chance to create some music with him & he never fails to play something that takes my breath away. He's a really special musician.
Tonight is a night off so I'm off to try to create some dinner plans. There's a great Italian place named Piero's that we used to frequent during the Gregory days that's close by so that's an option. Also, on these casino gigs, we often get coupons that give us free access to the buffets & discounts at many of the hotel restaurants. We'll see how it all goes down soon. The last major trip of the year will be happening in a couple of weeks & I'm sure I'll have something to report so stay tuned!

October 4, 2011

Transmitting From Reno, NV...
Here we are at Phase 2 of the Casino Tour. It was a long day of flying. I've done many trips like these before but, for some reason, today just seemed to drag on & on. A nice room, though, although it took some time to figure out how to turn on some of the lights. When it's overcast outdoors, the light from the window isn't much help but I did manage to figure it out. There were 2 lights involved. One on the desk & the larger living room-type light. The desk lamps' on/off switch seemlessly blends into the rest of it's silvery design so, if you're not looking at the exact right spot, you're sure to miss it. I came close to calling the front desk for help but was able to finally figure it out. Even more interesting was the larger lamp who's on/off switch was on the floor, kind of like a dimmer. On a brighter day it wouldn't have presented as much of a problem but with the aforementioned limited outdoor light, there I was, on hands & knees until finally finding it. So, I'm glad to report that my room is now well lit!
Our show here is tomorrow & then we move on to the casino capital, Las Vegas, on Thurs. for 2 weekend shows. More soon...

September 29, 2011

Transmitting From Niagara Falls, NY...
Happy Autumn!! It's been awhile!!
The next 10 days or so could be labeled the 'Casino Tour', I suppose. One here tonight, then 3 next week in in Reno & 2 in Las Vegas. Casinos, not my favorite places, as I've mentioned here before. This one is nice so far, at least because the cacophony from the casino can't be heard that well from other areas such as the coffee shop, bar or lounge. Nice room too. So, I suppose, as far as casinos go, this one isn't so bad.
Onto other business: A big shout out to Michael Denault at on the web as well as to Trish Lewis at WUCX-FM's Eclectic Chair for being the 1st 2 DJs to give the Sanctuaries CD airplay. Thanks guys!! We're just starting the Sanctuaries push & there'll hopefully be a lot more stations getting on the bandwagon. Interestingly, I'm hearing that people are liking the Sanctuaries music more than what's on First Melancholy. It doesn't surprise me in a way. If I had to give my own opinion in that zone, I might say that the songs on Sanctuaries might be a bit stronger although, without a doubt, I feel as though my playing on First Melancholy might have a bit more depth to it. Listen to me, reviewing my own music! How pompous & boring. My apologies.
Anyway, that's about it from Niagara Falls (step by step, inch by inch....and if you know where that's from, send me an email & I'll send you a CD). More coming soon.

August 7, 2011

Transmitting From NYC...
Lo & behold, another new photo added from Monte Carlo courtesy of Richard Cummings, great keyboardist (formerly with Harry Belafonte) & great guy! And this one's of just me during one of the shows with a cool grainy vibe. Thanks Richard!

August 3, 2011

Transmitting From Monte Carlo, Monaco...
Finally added a new shot to the photo page! It's from our appearance at the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy last month. It's a nice one, I'd say.

August 1, 2011

Transmitting From Monte Carlo, Monaco...
Here I am, back in the playground of the wealthy after about a 4 year absence. It's actually my 3rd time here, each time at the same hotel. I was impressed when, upon checking in, the hotel all ready had all of my passport info stored on their computer from my last stay which sped up the process considerably. That was a 1st as far as having my passport info kept on file. Guess they must have a database of every single hotel guest which must be massive.
I like my room. It's a nice size & actually down one level from the lobby which, even though it's not underground, makes me think of it more like a cave. There's no view to speak of so I keep the curtains closed which adds to the cave-like ambiance.
The city is undeniably pretty, right on the Mediterranean, with many, many extremely expensive yachts parked in its harbor as well as tons of high-priced cars everywhere you look. Just not my cup of tea, though. Kind of like Palm Springs, CA & Las Vegas combined X 1,000. Oh well, I'm glad I have my little cave of a room as a respite.
We'll be doing 2 shows here, tomorrrow & Wed. before heading home Thurs. & that'll pretty much do it for summer touring. Between whatever other free-lance work happens to come in before our next travelling (most likely in the Fall), I'm planning on getting back to writing for the next CD which is going wonderfully well. New pieces are coming at a lively pace. Soon, I'll also be looking into the viability of re-releasing my 1st CD, Sanctuaries, utilizing a similar marketing campaign done for the most recent one. I don't think the Sanctuaries music really got a chance to get out there as I was a new & green indie artist. Now that I have a bit more experience on how to do things to better effect, I might give it another go around. Then, it'll be onto recording CD #3, probably in 2012.
And that's about all the latest news I can think of. Until next time...

July 19, 2011

Transmitting From Lucca, Italy...
Here's a little postscript/post-gig report on our final show:
Tonight was outdoors during a rain storm in the Lucca town square. Because of the weather, I'm sure many people stayed home so there were probably only about 300-400 people there, all under umbrellas. (We were covered on-stage, thankfully). Still, we did a complete show & the people loved it, (even though the applause was a little's hard to applaud while holding onto an umbrella!)....but, once again, standing ovations, Liza sang great & they wouldn't let her off the stage. Bravo Liza!!

July 18, 2011

Transmitting From Lucca, Italy...
Right in the heart of Tuscany with the hotel being almost like a private old estate nestled in the hills, we actually haven't seen the town of Lucca proper yet....that'll be tomorrow. But the hotel is really something to see. Very isolated & off the beaten path, it's more like an old mansion...very well maintained with odd passageways here & there leading to the rooms. Words really don't do it justice but I'll be walking the grounds tomorrow & taking some photos which I'll hopefully post here to give you a better idea. (I've been very remiss in keeping the photo & calendar page current but I will try to rectify that).
The show at the Vienna Opera went really, really well. The crowd, which looked to be sold-out, was enthusiastic in the extreme. Liza's performance was amazing, I must say. I give her so much credit for really delivering the goods on this tour, which has been fairly grueling, especially the last week or so. She's the consumate pro & has so much passion for her work. She's the real deal.
After tomorrow's show, we fly home on Wed. which will be sweet although I've heard the NYC weather has been brutally hot. (Out here it's surely summer, but mostly comfortable). It'll be a very long day of travel starting at 6AM with, what I'm told, is a 4 hr. drive to the Rome airport, followed by a 9-10 hr. flight...right into the NYC rush hour! I doubt I'll walk in my front door before early evening....but it'll be so nice to be home sweet home!

July 16, 2011

Transmitting From Vienna, Austria...
We arrived in Vienna earlier today but I haven't really been out to explore yet although it looks like your typical charming European city.
There was a dinner for us after the show last night in Montreux plus the fact that the entire show was broadcast on TV last night at midnite so I stayed up to watch which made me pretty tired today. The show was an especially good one, I thought, & the venue (Miles Davis Hall) was smaller than usual which I kind of enjoyed. The architcture kind of had an industrial vibe, although you'd never know by looking at the outside. Backstage after the show was the legendary Quincy Jones who I got to meet & chat with for a minute or 2. He was wearing a hat similar to the one I wear onstage (a fedora, requested by Liza, by the way) & said, "I saw you up there with your pimp lid!". Very nice guy.
I was also able to chat a bit with Claude Nobs, the founder of the festival which is now in its 45th year. I thanked him for all he's done for jazz. After all, year after year, the Montreux Jazz Festival just keeps rolling on & on & has had, & continues to have, some amazing music played on its stages. So here's to Claude!
Tomorrow will be our show here & then onto our last stop in Lucca, Italy. Guess that makes it the home stretch. Aptly named as I'm greatly looking forward to returning to NYC....home! More soon...

July 14, 2011

Transmitting From Montreux, Switzerland...
A gorgeous little town located on a huge lake surrounded by mountains small & large, this is the home of the Montreux Jazz Festival, an annual event I've known of for decades but never attended or played, until tomorrow that is. We'll be playing the Miles Davis Hall, one of the 2 bigger venues (the other named Auditorium Stravinski) so we'll have musical royalty looking down on us.
After checking into the hotel, I noticed much commotion down by the lakeside so I hurried down hoping to find some major cultural exhibition about jazz or at least a lot of little shops & stands with jazz-like themes. No such luck. It was simply your average NYC-style street fair with tons of misc. vendors selling tons of stuff of no interest to me. It was still a nice stroll around such a picturesque area & I'll probably head down tomorrow with my camera to grab a few shots (of the lake & mountains, not the vendors).
Travel today was long, around 8 hrs. door-to-door, but, for some reason, it didn't feel as long as the other day. After our show tomorrow, we'll head out Sat. to Vienna, another 1st for me. Especially significant as I'm 1/2 Austrian on my mother's side so I'll get a little taste of my roots.

July 13, 2011

Transmitting From Perugia, Italy...
An incredibly charming town nestled atop the countryside in the south of Italy. Tons of old stone buildings that speak of that special charm you can only find in Europe. We're playing tonight as part of the 9-day Umbria Jazz Festival in a huge outdoor arena. Just to show you what the word "jazz" can mean nowadays, on the same stage last night was Santana, tonight there'll be us & Friday will be Prince!
I caught a bit of Santana's set last night &, even though I'm not a huge fan, you can't deny that he always has a killin' band. Rhythm is his trademark & his rhythm sections are always on fire. It'll be quite a different vibe with our show tonight & it'll be interesting to see how the mood shifts to the music Liza brings. She's certainly a force to be reckoned with so, I have no doubt, she'll command the stage like only she can.
Because of the festival, the town is overflowing with people & many restaurants & bars will stay open until 3AM (even longer, I'm told, if you give them the right nudge). That's way past my bedtime (well, a little past my bedtime), so I won't be around to experience that.
As we enter the final week of this tour, tomorrow we head to Montreux, Switzerland to play at that very famous jazz festival on Friday. More from there...

July 10, 2011

Transmitting From Paris, France...
One of my favorite places on Earth! Such a beautiful city!!
We're in a nice hotel that we stayed at the last time we were here. About a 10 minute walk from the Champs Elysees. We had a bit of a hard time finding a restaurant in the neighborhood that looked decent & was open (it's Sunday, after all) so we decided to eat at the hotel. A little expensive but the food was good. (VERY expensive if you wanted to drink. Luckily, I stuck with water).
The train ride was an adventure but we made it. It was just the 6 of us in the band travelling & we had to switch trains once in Brussels. No road manager, just us. The hardest part was having to lift my 60 lb. suitcase (with some help) into the overhead luggage rack twice. Nice trains, though, especially the leg from Brussels to Paris where we were in 1st class. (Free food & drink & electric reclining seats).
Tomorrow we're at the Olympia which is kind of like the Carnegie Hall of Paris. Never played there before so I'm really looking forward to it. Then onto our 'travel-show-travel-show' schedule until heading home on the 20th. No more days off. It'll be a busy 10 days or so but we'll have some more fun stops along the way which I'll detail more over the next few days. More soon...

July 9, 2011

Transmitting From Oostende, Belgium...
In all fairness I felt I had to write a little postcript to ammend my putting down Oostende yesterday. It's now the weekend & the town has completely livened up. Evidently, everyone ventures here for their weekend beach getaways so now it's much more like Atlantic City in every way. Mind you, I'm still not a fan of this type of city but, to its credit, it creates the ambiance well. So for all beach & boardwalk loving Belgians, come to Oostende!

July 8, 2011

Transmitting From Oostende, Belgium...
Judging from the photos from the hotel website, Oostende looked to be an older, more run down version of Atlantic City & that's kind of how it appears. It's supposed to be a "resort" town because of it being located on the water but the beach is almost deserted so it's pretty depressing. When you walk out of the back entrance of the hotel you're confronted with a long boardwalk with the closest lifeforms looking like they're a mile away. My room is old & very bare bones. After I took a shower this morning it looked like there was a small flood on the floor. I'm waiting for the maintenence guy to come & investigate. All that & we have a day off here tomorrow!! I'm not a fan of Atlantic City or boardwalks & am not a "water" guy in general. Still, I'll be looking forward to the show tonight because I AM a big fan of playing music! We will survive!! The good news is, next stop...Paris!!!

July 5, 2011

Transmitting From Glasgow, Scotland...
We arrived today for a show tomorrow. The only real news to report is about the elevator banks in our hotel (which is very nice, I might add....that's 3 for 3). When you approach the elevator, instead of the usual up or down buttons, you're confronted with a keypad where you punch in the number of your floor. Then a display will light up with either an A, B or C to let you know which elevator bank will be arriving to take you there. This means that there's no keypad inside the elevator itself. Quite confusing & weird. Not something to give yourself an intellegence boost when 1st confronted with it. Anyway, with a bellman's help we were shown the ropes of this modern device & are now flying up & down like old pros. And now to sleep...
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