Pianist Cyrus Chestnut performing for the Voice of America Credit: VOA (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/ File: Pianist_Cyrus_Chestnut_on_VOA.png), „Pianist Cyrus Chestnut on VOA“, marked as public domain

Since arriving on the jazz scene in 1992, the pianist and composer Cyrus Chestnut has become one of the most influential pianists of his generation, having recorded over 26 albums as a leader. On these recordings he has been joined by the likes of Buster Williams, Al Foster, Christian McBride, Kenny Garrett, and Dezron Douglas. As a sideman he’s been on the first call list for the ladies of jazz like Dee Dee Bridgewater, Betty Carter, and Carla Cook. They called for his soft touch and the way he allows space to be an active part of the song. 

October 6-9, Cyrus Chestnut will bring his own interpretive sound of the traditionalists with flair like Art Tatum and Erroll Garner to the stage of Smoke Jazz & Supper Club on Manhattan’s upper westside (2751 Broadway). The pianist and composer will be joined by trumpeter Freddie Hendrix, bassist Gerald Cannon and drummer Willie Jones III. These musicians like him are another generation of fiery musicians still making a name for themselves as they continue to soar to greater heights. Cannon is the elder of the group having worked with Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Carmen Lundy, Abbey LincolnGary Bartz,. Which includes a seven-year stint with Roy Hargrove and time with drummer Elvin Jones.   

Showtimes vary (three shows on weekends at 7 p.m., 9 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.); visit the website smokejazz.com/calendar or call 212-864-6662. 

Sista’s Place, the Brooklyn jazz club where music represents revolution and revolution represents life’s groove. The music is always blazing, whether summer or winter the soul sounds will keep you warm swinging on the edge of your chair. 

On Oct. 8, to celebrate composer, pianist, genius innovator Thelonious Monk’s birthday, the pianist Sharp Radway will perform in tribute with percussionist Chief Baba Neil Clarke, bassist Alex Blake, tenor saxophonist Reggie Woods and drummer Camille Gaynor Jones music. 

“Monk has been a huge influence on me as a musician and composer. He was influenced by Duke Ellington, who influenced my mentor Randy Weston,” said Radway. “Monk made such a great contribution to the music I am honored to perform this tribute to him. We must always remember, honor and respect him. Every time I sit behind the piano I represent him, Duke, Randy and all those who contributed so much to this music.” Monk was born on October 10, 1917.

The quintet will play a host of Monk compositions and maybe a few surprise original compositions from Radway.

Sistas’ Place is located at 456 Nostrand Ave. at Jefferson in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Call 718-398-1766 for more info. Two shows at 9 & 10:30 p.m., $25 with reservation.

Dizzy’s jazz club is probably the heart of traditional jazz, they very seldom turn off the jazz super highway but most recently they did take one of their rare turns with the one-night-only performance of the avant-garde quartet East Axis led by multi-instrumentalist Scott Robinson, pianist Matthew Shipp, drummer Gerald Cleaver and bassist Kevin Ray. 

The room was packed as it is when avant-garde artists take to Dizzy’s stage and why not Dizzy Gillespie for whom the club is named and who loved all kinds of music. He was very upset some years ago when his dates on college campuses were canceled because he was told students couldn’t dance to bebop. We know Dizzy would want multiple combinations of music performed at his spot on a regular basis.

Scott Robinson, best known for his work on multiple saxophones, kept it interesting on alto saxophone, alto clarinet and trumpet for the evening. He has appeared on more than 275 LP and CD releases, including 20 under his leadership; it’s difficult to call him an avant-garde cat since he’s performed with musicians such as Frank Wess, Ron Carter, Joe Lovano, and David Bowie. Shipp noted it was the first time the group played together but plans are in place for more projects and recordings. Honestly, I attended on advice from Shipp, who I met some years ago on the lower eastside’s avant-garde set where his reputation precedes him. He is a piano stylist, who isn’t bothered by categories—as he stated, “Jazz is just music.” 

As a unit East Axis played complicated simple riffs, bridges melodies rough tones in and out was it out yes was it moving with intensity and hip tonality and melodies that took swift dips yes all of that for which they received two standing ovations.

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