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Cass' review of You Are My Sunshine by Cyrus Chestnut

Cass' review of
You Are My Sunshine

You Are My Sunshine(2003)
Running time: 70 minutes
Artist: Cyrus Chestnut
Genre: Jazz
Label: Warner Bros. Records
Artist site: http://www.cyruschestnut.com/
Cass' interview with Cyrus Chestnut

For your listening pleasure, I'd like to introduce you to jazz pianist, Cyrus Chestnut. His debut CD with Warner Bros. Records, You Are My Sunshine, immediately puts the listener's soul in harmony with life. Think of it like this – for the 70 or so minutes you're listening to You Are My Sunshine, it's as if Chestnut is weaving a force field of positive energy around you to protect you from any negativity entering into your space. During my interview with Cyrus, he said his "task was to make sure that every note that was played wasn't just a note just for the heck of it. Every note had to touch and inspire a soul." Well, I can second that, because every note on his 13-track CD will make you feel good all over.

Chestnut is a gifted musician who blends his classical, blues, jazz and gospel sensibility into an eclectic and entertaining joyful sound. Before you know it, you'll be tapping your feet, bopping your head or snapping your fingers to "Lighthearted Intelligence" or Chestnut's unique arrangements of Cole Porter's "It's All Right With Me" and Jimmie Davis' "You Are My Sunshine". And, before you know it, his hymn-like rendition of Richard Smallwood's "Total Praise," or Fanny J. Crosby/William H. Doane’s "Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior," will bring tears to your eyes. [I'm sure the brothers and sisters at Mount Calvary Star Baptist Church are proud to say that they knew him when.]

Of course, when you listen to You Are My Sunshine, the undertones of those great jazz musicians who have influenced Chestnut's musicianship can be heard. But, it's his years of training and pure joy of playing the piano that shines throughout this CD. Joining Chestnut on his musical journey are bassist, Michael Hawkins, and drummer, Neal Smith. This trio will not only entertain you, but they will make you want to stand up and shout, "Amen!" Oprah Winfrey said, "Let your light shine. Shine within you so that it can shine on someone else. Let your light shine." Well, Cyrus Chestnut does just that – shines his light so bright, anyone listening to his CD, You Are My Sunshine, can't help but feel good in his glow!

To find out more about Cyrus Chestnut, please visit his web site at http://www.cyruschestnut.com/. Again, THANKS to Arvella Kinkaid at Warner Bros. Records for scheduling this interview.


Here's to you NutMan! One day, aspiring jazz pianists will be imitating your style, and folks will say, "Hey, such and such, sounds just like the great Cyrus Chestnut." Don't forget, the next time you're in New Orleans, lunch is on me!

You Are My Sunshine: green


Copyright Cassandra Henry, 2004
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