By Brian Zimmerman | Published February 2015
With You Are A Creature, New Orleans-born pianist Nick Sanders delivers a savvy, captivating second album. Across 12 original compositions and one Ornette Coleman cover, Sanders demonstrates a musical intellect that is wise beyond his years. Entertaining enough to catch your ear, and intelligent enough to tickle your mind, this recording is the sound of a stellar young musician carving out a unique place for himself in today’s jazz scene. Lean, acrobatic and endlessly inventive, Sanders’ style abounds with unexpected phrases and surprising flourishes—the kind of playing that never sits still. On the hypnotic opener, “Let’s Start,” leaping, circular patterns dominate the sonic tableau. On the hymn-like “Keep On The Watch,” rumbling left-hand rhythms provide the spark. As a soloist, Sanders is a mad genius—hauntingly melodic and utterly unpredictable. Just when you think you’ve mapped his trajectory, he’s gone in a new direction, spinning off fresh, unconventional phrases. His bandmates prove equally imaginative. On drums, Connor Baker is thoughtful and judicious. He demonstrates a particularly deft touch on the stirring ballad “Room” and adds just the right amount of sizzle to the ambitious title track. Bassist Henry Fraser is an adroit and melodically minded player, offering up sweeping arco lines on “Zora The Cat” and vigorous pizzicato runs on “Repeater.” The three lock into a watertight swing groove on Coleman’s “The Blessing,” closing out the album on a note of convivial harmony. Expect big things from this young trio.