Middlebury

September 8, 2000

Cyrus Chestnut Trio to Perform at
Middlebury College Sept. 23

 

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.―Acclaimed jazz pianist
Cyrus Chestnut and his trio will open the 2000-2001 Middlebury
College Concert Series with a performance at 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept.
23, in the Concert Hall at the Center for the Arts on Route
30.

Chestnut is expected to feature selections from
his latest recording, "A Charlie Brown Christmas," due out this
month. Chestnut assembled an all-star ensemble of musicians and
vocalists to remake Vince Guaraldi’s 1965 classic that sold an
estimated five million copies in the U.S. alone, according to
Atlantic Records. Prior to his death, Peanuts creator Charles Schultz
endorsed the work that features Chestnut’s collaborations with
artists including Brian McKnight, the Manhattan Transfer, and Vanessa
Williams with the Boys Choir of Harlem.

The Christmas recording is just the latest in
Chestnut’s still-young career—he’s 37—that has
brought him accolades as a fresh and innovative yet masterful player
and composer of classic jazz. Trained at Baltimore’s Peabody
Conservatory of Music and the Berklee School of Music in Boston,
Chestnut began public performances at age seven at the Calvary Star
Baptist Church in his hometown of Baltimore. He worked with mentors
including Jon Hendricks and Wynton Marsalis and spent two years
playing with jazz legend Betty Carter. In 1994 he topped several jazz
charts with his debut recording "Revelation" on Atlantic Records and
has followed since with recordings of standards, originals,
spirituals, and hymns.

With his music firmly rooted in gospel and
blues, Chestnut is noted for his wit, humor, and energy. The New York
Times calls him "a highly intelligent improviser with one of the
surest senses of swing in jazz."

The player-composer works a variety of
venues—performing solo, in one-on-one collaborations with other
artists, with his trio, or alongside symphonies. He’s dabbled in
movie soundtrack projects, and a concert tour last year with opera
singer Kathleen Battle gave him a chance to experiment with classical
influences. In 1998, Chestnut joined an all-star cast with Wynton
Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra for a PBS salute to
Duke Ellington that blues fans may remember. He’s fresh from a
well-received tour of Japan.

Reserved seating tickets for the performance
are $10 general admission and $8 for senior citizens. Reservations
are required for a pre-performance dinner at 6:30 p.m. at Rehearsals
Cafe. To order tickets or make dinner reservations, call the College
Box Office 802-443-6433.

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