Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Cyrus Chestnut first studied piano with his father at the age of five, with official lessons beginning two years later. By the age of nine, he was enrolled in the prep program at the Peabody Institute. He graduated from Berklee with a degree in jazz composition and arranging. Chestnut took his time, working with a number of top-notch musicians (Jon Hendricks, Betty Carter, Terence Blanchard, and Donald Harrison) before finally recording his first solo CD at the age of 30. Chestnut enjoys mixing styles and resists being typecast in any one niche, though his gospel sound is apparent on a number of his recordings. His initial dates as a leader were recorded for the Japanese label Alfa (reissued on Evidence), and he became an Atlantic artist in 1994. A self-titled LP followed in 1998 with Tribute to Duke Ellington following a year later. In subsequent years, Chestnut remained busy, releasing Charlie Brown Christmas in 2000, the all-original Soul Food in 2001, You Are My Sunshine in 2003, Genuine Chestnut in 2006, and Cyrus Plays Elvis in 2007. The following year, he released Black Nile on Japan's M&I label.