Cyrus Chestnut – There’s A Sweet, Sweet Spirit (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 59:59 minutes | 1,15 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Digital Booklet | © HighNote
A decorated veteran of the Betty Carter Trio, pianist Cyrus Chestnut came out the experience relatively unscathed with a style and directive clearly his own. It’s one steeped in the gospel church traditions of his native Baltimore, but also enlivened by an open ear aimed at a multitude of other influences. He has enjoyed stints with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Vanessa Williams, Freddie Hubbard and Joe Lovano. He also speaks fondly of his valuable tenures with vocalists Jon Hendricks and Joe Williams. With the fleetness of Bud Powell and his own distinctive two-handed lushly impressionistic harmonies, Cyrus offers an imaginative setlist with his long-time friends Buster Williams and Lenny White and together they breathe new life into the vernerable jazz piano trio format.
Cyrus Chestnut’s 2016 effort, the superb Natural Essence, benefitted greatly from his pairing with the duo of bassist Buster Williams and drummer Lenny White. Thankfully, the pianist has followed up with another engaging set featuring the same veteran luminaries. An adept virtuoso talent, Chestnut soars alongside Williams and White on 2017’s There’s a Sweet Sweet Spirit. Elder jazz statesmen, Williams and White have decades of experience under their hats with credits for such legends as Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Art Blakey, Woody Shaw, and many others. Similarly, Chestnut has worked with such luminaries as Terence Blanchard, Betty Carter, Wynton Marsalis, and more. While all of his albums are worth checking out, there is something inspired and kinetic about his playing with Williams and White, as if they are all three pushing each other to discover new avenues of expression. Joining them this time on several tracks is yet another volcanic talent in vibraphonist Steve Nelson. Though he only appears on three cuts, his warm harmonic resonance contrasts beautifully with Chestnut’s as they dig into an expansive late-’60s jazz sound on two of vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson’s best-known compositions, “Little B’s Poem” and “The Littlest One of All.” Away from Nelson, Chestnut displays his genre-bending skills on “Chopin Prelude,” transfiguring the classical piece first with a cubist Thelonious Monk-style intro and later with a swinging Ellingtonian mid-section. Similarly compelling are the group’s muscular and exotic take on Miles Davis’ “Nardis” and a spritely reading of Williams’ “Christina.” Elsewhere, they deliver a languid and romantic take on the Stylistics’ 1973 classic “You Make Me Feel Brand New,” and dive headlong into the pianist’s own Latin-infused “CDC.” Ultimately, if there’s one overriding sentiment that drives all of There’s a Sweet Sweet Spirit, it’s Chestnut and his band’s spirit of soulful camaraderie.
01 – The Littlest One of All
02 – Chopin Prelude
03 – Nardis
04 – Little B’s Poem
05 – Christina
06 – CDC
07 – You Make Me Feel Brand New
08 – Easy Living
09 – Rhythm-A-Ning
10 – There’s a Sweet, Sweet Spirit
Produced by Cyrus Chestnut. Engineered by Mike Marciano.
Recorded on February 27, 2017 at Systems Two Recording Studios, Brooklyn, NY
Mixed and Mastered by Katsuhiko Naito.
Cyrus Chestnut – piano
Buster Williams – bass
Lenny White – drums
Steve Nelson – tracks “1,4,8”
Charlotte Small, Keesha Gumbs, Djore Nance – vocals on “7”