Chesky Top Ten

10. The Raven - Rebecca Pidgeon

RavenReflective yet contemporary, Rebecca's lovely voice rings with honest, unpretentious confidence and vivid tenderness. While her Celtic melodies set the mood, her lyrics tell stories, full, rich, textured, and open hearted. This amazing talent makes her U.S. debut with The Raven, Chesky Record's most striking, powerful and fully realized vocal record to date.

09. reVisions - Jen Chapin

revisionsProducers: David Chesky

Jen Chapin's music is a story in song that searches for community and shared meaning, powered by the jazz, rhythm and blues, and improvisation of the city.

Critics have hailed her work as "worth savoring" and "soulfully poetic" and regarded her as "one of the freshest voices singing today." In Jen Chapin's newest release, reVisions, the musician-activist applies her formidable artistic insight to the repertoire of iconic keyboardist, singer, and songwriter, Stevie Wonder. She is joined by acclaimed bassist, leader of the Rosetta Trio, and husband, Stephen Crump as well as formidable saxophonist Chris Cheek who has made contributions to her music in the past.

"While it may seem an odd choice to perform this rich, multilayered music as a sparse trio without chords, it made sense to me on several levels. First of all, Chris Cheek and Stephan Crump are two of my favorite musicians in the world. Then there is the trio ensemble, a three-legged stool where each leg has to hold strong to keep things standing. I like the trio's intimacy and the fact that it leaves nowhere to hide and everywhere to lead. And of course, these are times in which each of us in all our flaws must stand up to help each other, learn to rely on each other, maintain strength of purpose, and move forward."

08. Rough & Tough - John Hammond

hammondJohn Hammond's blues career has spanned the better part of the last five decades. From coffeehouses to concert halls, to festivals and beyond, Hammond emerged the ever-consummate blues man out of the great blues renaissance of the 60's. And while the 60's renaissance was largely an electric affair, Hammond has managed to keep vital the embodiment of the quintessential acoustic blues troubadour with brilliant acoustic guitar and rack harmonica playing and an impassioned voice.

A Grammy Award winner and four time nominee, Hammond is also a multiple W.C. Handy award winner and has shared the stage and/or recorded with many of the masters, including Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, John Lee Hooker and Howlin' Wolf.

07. The Good Life - Monty Alexander

monty"The Good Life" is the beautiful result of Monty Alexander's original take on classic pieces from Tony Bennett's extensive catalogue. It's Monty's infectious, rhythmic style containing a formidable technique that serves him unerringly without drawing undue attention away from the joyous, soulful, reverent and songful improvisations that spring from head and heart-informed fingers. This super audio CD was recorded in multi-channel surround sound using Chesky's state of the art minimalist miking techniques and the world's finest custom-made electronics to assure the purest, most natural sounding recording available.

06. Invitation - Beat Kaestli

beatBeat Kaestli's debut on Chesky Records is a tribute to the American Songbook and features the songwriting of Rube Bloom and John H. Mercer, Johnny Burke and Jimmy van Heusen, Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers, Hoagy Carmichael and Ned Washington and Cole Porter among others.

05. Urban Concertos - David Chesky

cheskyDavid Chesky's upcoming work-which includes the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra; the Concerto for Orchestra; along with the Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra-heralds a new form of American urban music from the streets of New York. It marries jazz, funk, Latin and other popular styles with orchestral forms popularized by Stravinsky, Bartok and others. "Many people ask me, 'Why do you use jazz in your orchestral music?' The real question is, 'Why shouldn't any American composer use jazz in their music?'" Chesky writes in the liner notes. "After all, we are a jazz nation. Jazz is our indigenous art form." Latin and jazz rhythms have always been a constant in Chesky's canon and his forthcoming work will be no exception. "I like to transform the orchestra into a great big rhythm machine," he writes. "The orchestra itself becomes an extended percussion ensemble. There are always spaces in the orchestrations for the funk, jazz and Latin lines to sound through. It is a sort of urban pointillism-many note vectors coming at you at different times fitting together like a puzzle." The work was recorded June 12-17, 2006, with the Symphony Orchestra of the Norrlands Opera in Umea, Sweden. Celebrated young Bulgarian conductor Rossen Gergov handles baton duties, while featured soloists include Swedish pianist Love Derwinger and Estonian virtuoso bassoon player Martin Kuuskmann. "The key to performing this music is that the orchestra sections must be in lock step with each other so that the rhythmic texture will be palpable," Chesky adds. "The music is like a finely tuned sports car that turns on a dime; it needs the orchestra players to synchronize precisely with each other. Rhythm is the key."Porter among others.

04. Jazz In The Key Of Blue - Jimmy Cobb Quartet

cobbA superb, mostly self-taught musician, Jimmy Cobb is the elder statesman of all the incredible Miles Davis bands. Cobb's inspirational work with Miles, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderly and Co. spanned 1957 until 1963 and included the masterpiece Kind of Blue, the most popular jazz recording in history.

On this new Chesky Records recording, Jazz In the Key of Blue, Jimmy Cobb pairs up once again with 36-year old, Grammy Award winning trumpeter, Roy Hargrove, who has firmly established himself as among the premier players in jazz and beyond.

The tried and true pair are joined, this time around, by guitarist Russell Malone and bassist John Webber. Malone, an Albany, Georgia native, built his chops in his twenties as sideman to none other than jazz organ icon Jimmy Smith. And Webber, from the American Midwest, is more than an able torchbearer for past alumni of the region, among them Jimmy Blanton and Ron Carter.

Jazz In the Key of Blue continues to prove Jimmy Cobb's mettle as a bandleader, his imperturbable, rock-steady swing, paving the way for the rhythms and sounds of yet another generation of jazzmen.

03. Last Alaska Moon - Livingston Taylor

cobbLivingston Taylor picked up his first guitar at the age of thirteen, beginning a forty-year career in performance, songwriting and teaching. Born in Boston and raised in North Carolina, Livingston is the fourth child in a very musical family. Livingston recorded his first record at 18 and has continued to create well-crafted, introspective and original songs that have earned him listeners worldwide. Last Alaska Moon is the latest addition to Livingston's catalog featuring musicians whom Taylor calls "the best on the planet," among them, Steve Gadd, Leland Sklar,and Vince Gill.

02. Cantos De Agua Dulce - Marta Gomez

cobbMarta Gomez has one of the most beautiful and light voices we have ever recorded. Listen to her voice suspended in space in front of you. This recording is amazingly natural. The sound of the guitar and the sparse Colombian drums. Listen to when she sings with her background singer. I use this CD when I want to her a natural folkloric band. Cantos is not a pop mix or electric album. Since we know what a guitar, vocals, and drums sound like, this makes a good reference CD for natural tonality.

01. West of 5th - Jimmy Cobb, Hank Jones, Christian McBride

cobbThe fifth installment in our New York Sessions series offers another generation-spanning collection where veteran musicians meet the future heroes of tomorrow. "Sparks fly when you get musicians of this caliber in a room together; West of 5th unreservedly captures the magic." - Steve Guttenberg of Home Theater Magazine