Cyrus Chestnut

Soul Food

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

One thing one can say about this popular swinging trad jazz pianist -- he's definitely not selfish when it comes to passing the musical soul food around. The punchy, heavy-swaying eight-minute title track begins with a sizzling brass section and then Marcus Printup's thoughtful, several-minute trumpet solo, while Chestnut takes a supporting harmony role. "Brother With the Mint Green Vine" opens with a moody, dark chord foundation (very reminiscent of Joe Sample), but is largely fashioned as a duet between Chestnut's plucky ivories and Stefon Harris' whimsical vibes. Harris gets more solo time than his host. "Fantasia" has a classic trio sound in the Vince Guaraldi vein and is most memorable for Christian McBride's inventive upright bass solo over the soft brushes of Lewis Nash; Chestnut, of course, is at his elegant best, as he is on the one solo showcase he allows himself, a mournful rendition of "Swing Low Sweet Chariot." He shows off his improv skills most effectively on the free-for-all trio piece "Minor Funk." Just in case listeners should grow complacent that this is just another multifaceted jazz project, Chestnut tosses in a little musical humor with the peppy, horn-driven, New Orleans-styled "Brother Hawky Hawk." It's Chestnut's first album of original tunes since 1998, and he's back stronger than ever.

blue highlight denotes track pick