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Rick Cutler
Your Pitch

I've been a freelance musician in NYC my entire life. From 2005 onward I've released 5 CDs of mostly original compositions. The 6th, coming out March 24, is called The Unfolding. It combines influences of jazz, classical, folk, new age & world music. Mark Soskin, former pianist for Sonny Rollins & acclaimed drummer Billy Mintz appear on the aIbum. I think I'd be an interesting guest on your show as I can discuss how an indie musician can go from being a complete unknown to working with some of the world's greatest stars. I can also discuss the differences between working with them. 

I can also discuss how Buddhism, which I've practiced for 37 years, plays a part in my life & creative process & how a spiritual practice can help that process.

I can discuss what it was like to study with the late jazz great Chick Corea & how I got to know him. Also what it was like to work with Leonard Bernstein & many others listed in the bio.

Other points of interest could be talking about certain points of being an indie musician in this day & age & how it differs from what it was like in the 80s & 90s. 

Another topic would be what it's like to compose music for TV. As you can see in the bio, I co-composed the Emmy nominated theme for Dateline NBC as well all the music for The Gregory Hines Show, a sitcom that aired on CBS in the late '90s.

I could give a more in-depth view of the new album & my previous albums & the creative processes involved. 

I can also discuss what it's like to work in a Broadway show as I did many of them in the '70s & early '80s.

I can discuss what it means to really dedicate your life to music or any pursuit in the arts. 

I can discuss life on the road & what it entails. How it can be incredibly rewarding as well as very tiring. 

I can discuss my formative years, starting to play drums at the age of 5 1/2 & how I was inspired by seeing a band perform at half time in a football game & how the drums struck me as something I'd like to pursue as well as how my parents were very supportive in this. I can also talk about my 2 1/2 years at the Julliard school & how it was prohibitive at that time towards my musical development. (My main passion in music is jazz & , in those days, there wasn't a jazz dept.)

I can also discuss my favorite artists & composers rainging from Chopin, Beethoven, Mozart, Erik Satie & Stravinsky to jazz artists such as Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter & Herbie Hancock & how they've played a significant role in my own music.

Another topic could be how I'd like to do more collaborations with video artists. I have a few on YouTube but would like to dive deeper into that world. 

I can discuss my daily routine of practicing and/or composing every day with very few exceptions, my composing process & how to deal with "writers block." 

I can speak to younger people who are considering taking up an instrument or making a living in music & how they must be passionate about it & to have a "never give up" attitude towards it. I learned the "Never Give Up" attitude from my Buddhist practice. I can also discuss how, for true musicians, there's no retirement as the music is really in your heart & soul. 

Lastly, I can talk about how outside influences such as film can be a source of inspiration, an example being director David Lynch.


Rick has been playing drums since the age of 5 1/2 & keyboards since his teens. He studied both at the Julliard School as well as with jazz great Chick Corea.

He has performed in many Broadway shows including Hair, The Wiz, Candide, They're Playing Our Song, Woman of the Year & Seesaw.

He has written much music for TV, Film & Radio. Some of his work in this field include the Emmy-nominated theme for Dateline NBC, Later Today, on NBC, the theme for the New York Yankees on MSG Cable & the Outlaws & Lawmen mini-series on the Discovery channel.

For 18 years, he served as keyboardist & musical director for tap dance legend Gregory Hines. His composition, "Boom" was choreographed by Mr. Hines & performed at the nationally televised Gala For The President with President & Mrs. Clinton in attendance. He was also the composer of all of the original music for The Gregory Hines Show on CBS.

He was one of the original percussionists for Leonard Bernstein's "Mass" which was written & performed for the opening of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. He performs on the original recording of that piece with Mr. Bernstein conducting.

For 8 years he toured the world as 1st keyboardist & then drummer (&, on a few occasisons, conductor) for Liza Minnelli. He performed in her Tony-winning Broadway show, "Liza's At The Palace" as well as on the Grammy-nominated cast recording.

He has also played on countless TV & Radio commercials & themes.

Some of the artists he has performed & recorded with include Michael Franks, Noel Pointer, Stevie Van Zandt, Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Don Rickles, Billy Eckstine, Gloria Gaynor, Rodney Dangerfield, Regis Philbin, Donna Summer, Pete Seeger, Larry Coryell, Jon Lucien, Johnny Hartman, Savion Glover, Perry Farrell (of Jane's Addiction), Richie Stotts (of the Plasmatics), Charles Aznavour & the NY Philharmonic Brass Quintet.

His 1st CD release, Sanctuaries, received praise from musicians such as Mike Garson (former keyboardist for David Bowie) & Mark Soskin (pianist for Sonny Rollins). His sophmore effort, First Melancholy, Then The Night Stretch, was released in 2011 & his 3rd & 4th CDs (From The Silence & Daydreams (Probably) were released in 2013 & 2017 respectively & received airplay on over 115 radio stations worldwide as well as garnering many great reviews, in print & online.

He was interviewed by the Huffington Post in 2017 towards promoting the Daydreams (Probably) CD. His 5th CD, Women & Children, was released in 2020. In the fall of 2021 he released 2 digital singles, Parallel Universes, a guitar/drums duet with guitarist Vinnie Zummo & Yar, a solo piano piece. A video for Parallel Universes, directed by Spike Lee protege Lee Davis was also released.  

In the fall of 2022, he released The Black & Blue Sessions, Vol. 1 which is an electric album extensively using loops & samples. Coming soon is The Black & Blue Sessions, Vol. 2 in May 2023. Upcoming projects include an album of children's music accompanying poetry & the release of a documentary about the life of writer Elmore Leonard to which he co-wrote the score.

Rick Cutler-The Unfolding