You Are a Creature

How do you stand out from the crowd in today's marketplace? Utilizing an eye-catching package is one way to garner attention. Couple that with an equally innovative product and you get something like this CD that features the Nick Sanders Trio—pianist Sanders with bassist Henry Fraser and drummer Connor Baker—in a program of 13 very original compositions. Beginning with its circus sideshow cover art, You Are a Creature draws you into its musical universe from the first track—“Let's Start”—which, with its delightfully quirky playing (with the tune turning back upon itself), almost seems like someone playing the piano for the first time. Sanders says of the acclaimed pianist Fred Hersch, who produced the album, that “when you know [he] is listening … you have a tendency to deliver at your utmost capabilities.” Indeed! The striking empathy between the trio's members is readily apparent on “Round You Go,” a peppy cat-and-mouse-like tune on which the trio chases after each other. The title track is an up-tempo romp that eventually subsides into a rumbling drum solo that reminds me of the end of a passing thunderstorm. Contrary to expectations, “Day Zombie” is a restful rumination that might equally well be titled “Day Vampire.” This is a well-wrought collection that repays with repeated listenings.