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May 4, 2011

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Cyrus Chestnut Trio Jazzes Up a Friday

by Madeline Gill, '13 (originally published in the MRH newspaper The CHIP)

Linda Oh gripped the neck of her bass and looked at her partners. The first notes from Charlie Parker's Confirmation sounded across the auditorium as John Faddis started to play his trumpet. She closed her eyes, waiting to feel the rhythm. Faddis picked up the tempo and Oh launched into the jazz whirlwind with gusto.

On Friday, April 8, the jazz group, Cyrus Chestnut Trio played for the elementary, middle, and some high schoolers. The members were Cyrus Chestnut, on the piano, Billy Williams, on the drums, guest Linda Oh, on the bass, and guest John Faddis on the trumpet. The group travels to various schools in Missouri and Illinois as part of Jazz St. Louis' educational outreach.

Cyrus Chestnut Trio

Unlike Charlie Parker's song that was upbeat and loud, their next song, Ceora, by Lee Morgan was slow and smooth. The group started to play fast again in the middle of the song, then slowed down a bit again. The melody and skills of the trio with Faddis relaxed the audience with the sound of his trumpet.

Oh began the third song, All Blues, by St. Louis artist Miles Davis, her eyes closed again, moving her fingers over her bass. Oh solos throughout the song till the end, when the others joined in making the song become upbeat. Linda finishes the song in a smooth rhythm for the audience.

For the balled Body and Soul, a jazz standard first recorded by Louis Armstrong and recorded by nearly every great jazz artist since, Chestnut did his own solo on the piano. Faddis called up high school English teacher Derek Rowling and middle school teacher Alex Pepin to dance along to the song. The audience all giggled and laughed as the two teachers awkwardly danced to the piano song.

Laughter continued to the next song, Poor Joe, by Dizzie Gillespie, which wasn't a jazz standard. Faddis sung a funny tune about a guy who was hit with a frying pan but had it coming. The audience clapped, laughed, and sung along to the tune.

The excitement slowed down for their last song in which Williams soloed on the drums. It was also a Miles Davis song called Seven Steps To Heaven. Williams launched into a solo for a while until the middle when the other three joined in to make the song more upbeat. They left the song, letting Williams have his moment. They later joined in and continued the slow tempo to the song's end.

As the last beat to the song echoed throughout the auditorium, Linda Oh, having poured her heart out on the bass, opened her eyes and smiled at the standing applause.

For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.