Anthony Deutsch performed with band Father Sky at the second showing of the InDIGenous Jazz Series in Madison’s Wisconsin Union Friday night.
Deutsch, a pianist, vocalist and composer, played alongside John Christensen, who played on upright bass, and Devin Drobka who was on drums and cymbals.
The concert, sponsored by the Greater Madison Jazz Consortium and Madison Music Collective: For the Love of Jazz, focused on jazz music, but Deutsch said Father Sky plays a variety of music outside the genre. One of his songs intermingled with R&B influences.
The band began the concert by playing “10,000 Things.” Christensen and Drobka kicked off the upbeat song and soon Deutsch followed, singing lyrics like “Let the sun shine brightly,” and “The wind speaks softly.”
Even though Deutsch isn’t classically trained, he writes his music well and performs it in a way that captivates his audience.
In the next song, “Seeking,” Deutsch began by whistling, a talent he joked he didn’t always have. Just as with composing, practicing singing and playing the piano, Deutsch had to acquire the skill over time.
“My earliest musical memory is being in a basement and trying to learn how to whistle,” Deutsch said.
When Deutsch first began performing, he didn’t consider himself a singer. He said it wasn’t until he sang “Hey Jude” by The Beatles during a karaoke session that people first began to notice him. But once Deutsch landed multiple singing gigs, he decided to call himself a singer.
Deutsch said The Beatles are one of his biggest inspirations.
“I listened to [The Beatles] non-stop,” Deutsch said. “I listened to all their records. I got their anthology records.”
Deutsch said jazz pianist Brad Mehldau also inspires him.
Last year Deustch saw Mehldau perform in Madison. He said he felt “encapsulated” by the performance, and is now excited to follow in Mehldau’s footsteps.
“[Mehldau], he’s so eclectic,” Deustch said. “I really respect that.”
Deutsch originally listened mostly to The Beatles, but transitioned into the blues and later became enthralled by jazz.
Now, Deutsch listens to a variety of music, like Indian classical, African Pygmy and soul music, which is probably his favorite he said.
“I’m always trying to listen to more music that I haven’t heard,” Deutsch said.
Outside of playing jazz and solo gigs, Deutsch accompanies ballet and modern dance classes. In his own time, Deutsch loves to travel.
Deutsch believes music is inherently impactful, stemming from each song’s unique story.
“I feel like it’s really helpful music to listen to. It’s relaxing music and the message is good,” Deutsch said. “That’s not something you find in all music today.”
For Deutsch, he shamelessly promotes encouragement and kindness.
“Be kind to yourself and others,” Deutsch said as he wrapped up the show.