Jazz Pianist Cyrus Chestnut Brings Elvis Interpretations to the Sheldon, 4/10
The Sheldon presents the Cyrus Chestnut Trio, "Cyrus Plays Elvis," Saturday, April 10, 2010 at 8 p.m. in the perfect acoustics of the Sheldon Concert Hall. KWMU host Dennis Owsley will present a pre-concert talk, "Jazz Piano Giants," at 7:10 p.m. Jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut and pop icon Elvis Presley aren't a likely pairing: Chestnut is one of the top pianists of a generation, born many years after songs like "Love Me Tender," "Hound Dog" and "Don't Be Cruel" made Presley the king of rock 'n' roll. But on Chestnut's new CD, Cyrus Plays Elvis, he offers a fresh outlook on Presley. "I started listening and what I found out is that there are some similarities," Chestnut says. "Elvis loved blues and gospel. I love blues and gospel, so hence a connection. It was not my intention to re-create Elvis, just give an interpretation."
His extensive experience as a sideman and leadership as a soloist has earned Chestnut "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. Chestnut continually tours with his trio, playing at jazz festivals around the world as well as clubs and concert halls. With his hectic schedule, Chestnut finds the time to educate, doing seminars worldwide and also, on occasion, educating students in jazz at Middlebury College in Vermont . Joined by bassist Dezron Douglass 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 their 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."
Don't miss the Cyrus Chestnut Trio, "Cyrus Plays Elvis," Saturday, April 10, 2010 at 8 p.m. at the Sheldon Concert Hall. Tickets are $40 orchestra / $35 balcony and are available through MetroTix at 314.534.1111 or at www.TheSheldon.org. For more information, call The Sheldon at 314.533.9900 during normal business hours, Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.