Cyrus Chestnut

By John Malin

In 2006, Time magazine described Cyrus Chestnut as the best jazz pianist of his generation. Chestnut was born in Baltimore in 1963, the son of a church pianist and a church choir director. He started learning piano at the age of seven, and by the age of nine, he was studying classical music at the Peabody Institute. In 1985, he earned a degree in jazz composition and arranging from Boston’s Berklee College of Music and was awarded the Eubie Blake Fellowship (1982), the Quincy Jones Scholarship (1983), and the Oscar Peterson Scholarship (1984).

From 1986 to 1993 Chestnut was a touring pianist for many iconic musicians including Wynton Marsalis and the Betty Carter Trio who Chestnut has said was the single biggest influence on his own approach to music.

In 1993 he began an incredible recording career, signing with Atlantic records and producing the highly acclaimed album Revelation. Since that time he has been the lead musician on some 34 albums culminating in his latest album Kaleidoscope with Eric Wheeler on bass and Chris Beck on drums released on HighNote records in April 2018.

Chestnut continually tours with his trio playing at musical events around the world . His leadership and prowess as a soloist has also led him to be a first call for the piano chair in many big bands including the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, the Dizzie Gillespie All-Star Big Band, and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra.

His style is incredibly esoteric from classic to gospel to blues to Jazz. His wonderfully creative treatise of Erik Satie’s Gymnopedie on the Kaleidoscope album is typical of his technical keyboard brilliance and his compositional genius. A great piano player of our times and one not to miss.

Categories: Jazz, Press Releases