Cyrus Chestnut: 'You Are My Sunshine'

Jazz Pianist's Major-Label Debut a Spiritual Journey

Cyrus Chestnut at NPR West in Los Angeles, Calif.

Cyrus Chestnut at NPR West in Los Angeles, Calif. Roy Hurst, NPR News hide caption

itoggle caption Roy Hurst, NPR News

Baltimore native Cyrus Chestnut began his professional jazz career on the fast track, working with such celebrated musicians as Wynton Marsalis, Jon Hendricks and Betty Carter. He's been lauded for his confident playing, his resonant lyricism and his swinging, bluesy swagger.

Chestnut is also a devout man. He says his latest CD You Are My Sunshine — his first release on a major label, Warner Bros. — is inspired by his faith in God and the profound joy he feels when he plays. "It is an attempt to dig deep into the spiritual force that drives music," he says.

Chestnut spoke with The Tavis Smiley Show correspondent Tony Cox about his music, his faith and the direction jazz is headed in the hands of a new generation of artists.

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You Are My Sunshine

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You Are My Sunshine
Cyrus Chestnut
Warner Bros.

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