Telarc International, a leader in jazz recording since the 1980s, adds another stellar name to its impressive roster by bringing pianist Cyrus Chestnut into the fold. Chestnut has recently finished an album with the help of producer Elaine Martone (McCoy Tyner, Tierney Sutton, Ray Brown). Genuine Chestnut, a mix of original material with a few covers, is scheduled for release in February 2006.
“There’s a good team at Telarc, and an excellent reputation in jazz that spans almost two decades,” says Chestnut. “I’m very honored to be a part of the legacy of great artists who have recorded with them.”
Born in January 1963, Chestnut first sat down at the piano with his father at age five, and began his formal training at seven. Years later, armed with a Berklee degree in jazz composition and arranging, he spent several years as a sideman for high-profile artists like Jon Hendricks, Betty Carter, Terence Blanchard and Donald Harrison.
Prior to joining Telarc, Chestnut recorded a string of records on Atlantic between 1993 and 2001, including the highly regarded Earth Stories (1995) and Cyrus Chestnut (1998). His variety of influences has made for an eclectic style over the years, although gospel has been a recurring thread in many of his recordings.
Chestnut says the new record on Telarc is intended as, among other things, a message to those who have suggested in recent years that he may have lost some of his earlier steam in the jazz scene. “A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into this record,” he says. “Maybe getting to the next level in life requires pushing just a little bit harder and giving just a little bit more. The compositions on this record are much different than on any of my other records. To me, this music is a lot more organic than it’s ever been before.”
Telarc’s Martone agrees. “Cyrus is a special guy - a quiet, soulful man,” she says. “We’re very pleased to have him with us, given the substantial body of work he’s already established and the reputation that comes along with it. He waited to get to Telarc to make his most personal recording to date. Genuine Chestnut is just what the title suggests “an album straight from Cyrus Chestnut’s heart and soul.”