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Pianist Cyrus Chestnut & Friends

Cyrus Chestnut. Credit: Roy Hurst, NPR News

JazzSet is at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, Jazz @ Lincoln Center in New York, for music by Cyrus Chestnut and Friends from Dec. 30, 2004. On the night before New Year's Eve, pianist Chestnut played an entirely different set than he chose for the broadcast on the Dec. 31 Toast of the Nation. The result is too good not to hear!

At Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, the room itself is a thing of beauty -- a sophisticated new space for music, food and drinks. The backdrop to the stage is floor-to-ceiling glass, overlooking Central Park South. On the walls: curved blond bamboo paneling, that also sweetens the acoustics. At the tables and bar, it's festive because it's the night before New Year's Eve, the first holiday season ever at the new J@LC.

In pianist Cyrus Chestnut's words, "It's a great honor to be part of the inaugural run... when the history book is written, we'll be in it."

The band is Cyrus Chestnut and Friends: Mike Hawkins and Neil Smith on drums, and later, Frank Morgan on alto, Marcus Printup on trumpet. Pianist Chestnut moves people with his gospel sound, learned as a child in Baltimore. That's indeed not all, as you will hear. Cyrus has "chops," speed, power and personality. "Miss Thing" is full and fast. His arrangement of "Body and Soul" is smooth and quiet. As the set closes he tags it with, "We're going to play one more, think about what we've done, and never do it again."

"Miss Thing" by Cyrus Chestnut
"God Has Smiled on Me" by Cyrus Chestnut
"Jitterbug Waltz" by Fats Waller
"Night in Tunisia" by Dizzy Gillespie
"Footprints" by Wayne Shorter
"Body and Soul" by Heyman/Green

Cyrus Chestnut, piano
Michael Hawkins, bass
Neil Smith, drums
Frank Morgan, alto saxohpone
Marcus Printup, trumpet


  • Cyrus Chestnut's Site

  • Jazz at Lincoln Center

    Our recording is by Jim Anderson, with the team of Brian McCabe, Jim Donahue and Yujin Cha. Thanks to NPR's Kerry Thompson.

    Thanks to Derek Gordon, André Kimo Stone Guess, Todd Barkan and the excellent staff at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, J@LC. Also, Bank of America, the presenting sponsor, and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

    JazzSet is produced by Claude Carrière, host of Le Jazz Hot on Radio France; recording engineer is Pascal Camille, Média Mix Production in Paris. And also: the JazzSet Technical Director in New York is Duke Markos. Producer: Becca Pulliam; Executive Producer: Thurston Briscoe III, at WBGO Jazz 88 in Newark, N.J.

    Copyright 2007 NPR