Erik Deutsch

Hush Money

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Keyboardist Erik Deutsch adds some unexpected elements (most notably the bassoon) to a small jazz ensemble on this involving, moody album. The opening title track seems strongly influenced by the solo work of Steely Dan co-leader Donald Fagen; its chords and rhythm recall his most recent release, 2006's Morph the Cat. "Black Flies" is a showcase for guitarist Jonathan Goldberger; his solo is a dirty blues explosion that falls somewhere between Lonnie Mack and Marc Ribot. "Dirty Osso Bucco" gives a three-piece horn section (trumpet, tenor sax, and baritone sax) a workout atop a heavy New Orleans groove. There are modern sounds amid the retro mood pieces, too. "Get Out While You Can" is a slowly building ballad that changes radically when Deutsch switches to analog synths in its second half, and other tracks feature programmed rhythms and hip-hop beats, but nothing ever devolves into mere hipness. This is an intriguing disc that implies a certain artistic mindset (Deutsch seems strongly influenced by the '70s work of both Keith Jarrett and Herbie Hancock), then subverts it in a half-dozen entertaining and inspired ways.

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