Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Music
cover art

Cyrus Chestnut

Cyrus Plays Elvis

(Koch; US: 9 Oct 2007; UK: Available as import)

Pianist Cyrus Chestnut works his magical fingers throughout this album, which features a slew of Elvis Presley classics. While harsh critics would say these are little more than lounge-y renditions, Chestnut brings a jazzy sophistication to much of the material beginning with “Hound Dog” and a sultry, stylish “Don’t Be Cruel”, which conjures up Oscar Peterson or Herbie Hancock. However, not everything here is gold, as a pedestrian paced stab at “Can’t Help Falling In Love” is little more than arty elevator music. Fortunately, Chestnut comes back with a far better and textured version of “Love Me Tender” (featuring great solo work) then follows that up with a smoky, gentle, and terribly tender “Don’t”. Perhaps the biggest surprise is how strong both “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Suspicious Minds” come off, the latter containing a slightly different arrangement, mixing jazz and Latin.

Rating:

Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


Tagged as: cyrus chestnut
Related Articles
30 Nov 2009
Cyrus Chestnut goes solo with a gorgeous performance inspired by his childhood in the church where his parents served as the music directors.
4 May 2006
The Telarc label has been collecting pianists -- Brubeck, Peterson! -- and the sometime Wynton Marsalis alumnus Cyrus Chestnut is another good one.
Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.