Acclaimed Jazz Pianist Cyrus Chestnut at GPAC on March 19
[Sarasota, FL: February 16, 2016] Soulful jazz pianist and recording artist, Cyrus Chestnut, performing with his trio, will be on The Glenridge Performing Arts Center stage (7333 Scotland Way, Sarasota) on Saturday, March 19 at 8 pm.
Performing at jazz festivals, clubs and concert halls around the world, Chestnut has earned a reputation for his skillful versatility, his ability for blending sounds and for unabashedly bringing gospel into his performances. Popular for his sense of playful showmanship, the New York Daily News once heralded Chestnut as the rightful heir to Bud Powell, Art Tatum and Erroll Garner. The New York Times has described Chestnut as a “highly intelligent improviser with one of the surest senses of swing in jazz.”
Tickets for this performance are $27.50 and can be purchased online at www.gpactix.com and by calling the GPAC Box Office at 941-552-5325. The event is co-produced by the South County Jazz Club.
What Cyrus Says
“I like to construct melodies that tell stories, based on what I’ve seen, what I feel and what I hear,” explains Cyrus Chestnut. “If I can connect to what I’m playing, then I’ll be able to share it. That’s why you may think that some of what I do seems simple, but when you get into it, it’s not as simple as you think.”
What the Press Says
“The pianist Cyrus Chestnut is one of jazz’s most convincing anachronisms. His brand of crisp articulation and blues-inflected harmony evokes another era, sometime before the ascent of Bill Evans and McCoy Tyner, to say nothing of Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett. But unlike the typical nostalgist, who pines for the past partly because of a queasy discomfort with the present, Mr. Chestnut appears comfortable with his placement in time. What makes his music fly is a complete security in his style, and that sense of untroubled self-assurance.” — New York Times
Cyrus Chestnut, Biography
After graduating from Berklee College of Music, Cyrus began further honing his craft as a sideman with some of the legendary and leading musicians in the business. Some of these great people include; Jon Hendricks, Michael Carvin, Donald Harrison, Terence Blanchard, , Branford Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard, Benny Golson, Curtis Fuller, Regina Cater, Chick Corea, Jimmy Heath, James Moody, Joe Williams, Isaac Hayes, Kathleen Battle, Betty Carter and, Dizzy Gillespie just to name a few. His association with Betty Carter, which began in 1991 significantly affected his outlook and approach to music, confirming his already iconoclastic instincts. Carter advised him to “take chances” and play things I’ve never heard,” Chestnut says.
His first recordings were three self-released albums in 1992 that received the prestigious Gold Disk award from Japan’s leading jazz publication, Swing Journal. He went on to release five more with Atlantic Records to further critical acclaim. In 2001, the album Soul Food was included in Down Beat’s list of the best records of 2001 and ascended to the “Top 10” on the Jazz charts. Is long discography has continued to grow with recordings released by Warner Jazz Label, Telarc, Koch Records, M and I, and JLP.
Cyrus has been featured on film playing a Count Basie inspired character in the Robert Altman film, Kansas City. 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 Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All Star Big Band, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra. He has recorded with the people before mentioned and including Bette Midler, Freddy Cole, and many others too numerous to name.
Chestnut continually tours with his trio, playing live at jazz festivals around the world as well as clubs and concert halls. With his hectic schedule, Cyrus has also found the time to get into jazz education, doing seminars worldwide and also on occasion, educating students in jazz at Middlebury College in Vermont.
Joined by bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Neal Smith, he continually uses the trio format to extend, elaborate, and refine the basic conception of the jazz rhythm section. In his own words, “This country and this art form are founded on the basic principles of freedom, whereby a person is able to think, say, or play what he or she chooses. Throughout the years as I look at history, all of my predecessors, regardless of what the environment was, shared freely their thoughts and feelings in a swinging, musical way on the bandstand. They swung hard and made the listeners feel better leaving than when they arrived. This is the tradition I intend to preserve.”