(English follows Japanese)
★ My Favorite Album (373)
By Takaaki Kondo, Tokyo Jazz Review
今やマエストロの風格さえ漂わせるThe Master of Piano、Cyrus Chestnutさん。5年以上に及ぶレギュラー・トリオ（2009年には同メンバーで来日。「Hottest Live 2009 in Tokyo」という2枚組CDも残しています。）の成果をスタジオにてじっくりと録音した充実した作品です。Chestnutさんの両手からは、Passion, Relaxation, Thrill, Elegance、Sophistication・・・言葉で言い表せない様々な表現が繰り出されていきます。まさにピアノという楽器が「小さなオーケストラ」であることを改めて知らしめてくれます。Dezron Douglas(b), Neal Smith(ds)とは最早「阿吽の呼吸」の域。この鉄壁トリオによる快演がたっぷりと聴けます。ファンキーなフレージング、決して饒舌に弾きすぎることなく間の妙を活かしたその「渋旨」は秀逸の一言です
Cyrus Chestnut - Piano
Dezron Douglas - Bass
Neal Smith - Drums
1. Smitty's Joint
3. Eyes of an Angel
4. Little Jon
5. New Ligh
7. The Flowers on the Terrace
8. Yu's Blues
9. In the Still Hours
❑ Cyrus Chestnut - Website
❑ Buy CD
"The best pianist of his generation." -- TIME
"Chestnut is a musical agent of sweet and serious soul." -- NPR
"An orchestral command of the keyboard and a sophisticated sense of swing." -- People
* The greatest pianist of his generation demonstrates his extraordinary range and trademark warmth! * Documents the trio's five-year international working history.
“What makes Chestnut the best jazz pianist of his generation is a willingness to abandon notes and play space.”
By Josh Tyrangiel, Time Magazine
During a career spanning 20 years, Cyrus Chestnut has risen to be one of the most esteemed and productive of jazz pianists. Journeys makes 16 recordings under his name. He regularly performs with his trio and is the go-to guy on numerous recording dates and gigs. Having apprenticed with the incomparable vocalist Betty Carter, Chestnut's playing displays a style and technical virtuosity that has him compared to jazz legends from Jelly Roll Morton and Oscar Peterson to Tommy Flanagan. Not associated with a particular style, he displays a wide range with his roots in church music, planted by his father, a pastor. Journeys features his current touring partners—bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Neal Smith—turning out an estimable recording that amply shows off his compositional skills in nine originals. The recording starts with a blast on "Smitty's Joint," with Chestnut's fingers a blur on the keyboard. Douglas adds a spirited bass bit and Smith contributes vigorously. Chestnut then has fun with the disc's only standard, Rodgers and Hart's venerable "Lover," upping the tempo and bringing in boppish filigrees. Throughout, Chestnut embellishes songs in creative ways. On "Eyes of an Angel," he uses tremolo effects to decorate the simple melody, while "Little Jon" starts with a jive riff and proceeds to a stirring climax. With the title tune, Chestnut does evoke a journey; a majestic march to Smith's fluttering drums. "Yu's Blues" is a moody late-night blues, with the noirish Douglas' enhancing the feel．"Goliath" is the album's showpiece, its complex structure beginning quietly, but moving to a mesmerizing climax, amidst Chestnut's swirl of notes, layered over Douglas' steady bass line. This song represents what Chestnut shows throughout Voyage—an ability to surprise, with unexpected turns and provocative phrasing.
By LARRY TAYLOR, All About Jazz
Cyrus Chestnut's approach to piano is a mix of his gospel roots, effortless swing, lively bop, and lyrical ballad playing. His formative years included a stint with Jon Hendricks and the demanding Betty Carter, although here, accompanied by bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Neal Smith, his session focuses on his original works -- aside from a playful romp through the standard "Lover." His breezy bop vehicle "Smitty's Joint" showcases each member of the trio in turn and is destined to be a perfect set opener. Smith switches to brushes for Chestnut's delicate jazz waltz "Eyes of Angel," a spacious number that shimmers. "Journeys" deceptively opens in a subdued manner, building from a soft ballad setting into an intense climax without ever losing its lyricism. "Goliath" combines various influences from Chestnut's background, incorporating a familiar classical theme and his church pianist roots in a meditative yet gently swinging setting. Cyrus Chestnut's journeys have taken him to many musical destinations, yet he remains a distinctive original pianist whose work has continued to grow.
By Ken Dryden
For over 20 years, Baltimore native pianist Cyrus Chestnut has been delivering the goods—swinging, gospel/blues inflected, largely original compositions that “keep the faith” of tradition in a modern context. With over a dozen releases and hefty archive of accolades, Chestnut never rests on his laurels, and his latest trio release, Journeys, is arguably his best collection yet. With current touring partners, bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Neal Smith, Chestnut introduces 9 new compositions and a spirited reading of the Rodgers and Hart classic, “Lover.” Throughout the set, one hears an amalgam of Chestnut’s influences, from Jelly Roll Morton to Oscar Peterson to Tommy Flanagan to Bud Powell to Ahmad Jamal and (maybe most important in recent years), former mentor Betty Carter – Chestnut embodies the history of jazz at every turn. The set launches in high spirits with “Smitty’s Joint,” the fast-paced lines and bouncy chords ripe for toe-tapping and full –body swaying; young Dezron Douglas adds a punchy solo and Smith spatters and pops. The one standard, “Lover,” rather than sultry or sentimental, swings casually, Chestnut injecting little spaces that add playful tension and stretching lines with boppish twists and Petersonian flourishes. “Eyes of an Angel” and “New Light” take pages from the thick (and slightly Latinized) voicings of McCoy Tyner; the crystalline musings of “Little Jon” hint at the rhythmic sleight-of-hand of Ahmad Jamal; “Yu’s Blues” has traces of Jarrett, even Moran, with Douglas nearly stealing the show with his deep-throaty basslines; “In the Still Hours” recalls traditional spirituals as much as modern prayer. Perhaps most masterful of all, the closing “Goliath” begins as a gentle hymn, evolving into a boldly delicate incantation with rhythmic variations that sustain the track through its nearly nine minutes; Douglas sends his double-stop filled meditation skyward, with Chestnut unleashing a spate of aggressive lines before returning to a closing verse of solemn restraint. Journeys reaffirms Cyrus Chestnut as a major force in mainstream piano jazz, as performer, composer, and bandleader.
--- Jazz Police