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David Chesky

The Great European Songbook

David Chesky's Trio Album - The Great European Songbook

Composer/Pianist David Chesky transforms these classical European standards into a modern jazz trio setting accompanied by two of the greatest jazz musicians today, bassist Peter Washington & drummer Billy Drummond. 

"David Chesky's new jazz trio recording is acoustically the best ever released under his name. It is probably the best-sounding jazz recording in the history of phonography."

Marek Dusza,

"The notes from David Chesky's piano, Peter Washington's double bass, and Billy Drummond's drums dance full of joie de vivre. Perfect natural surround sound goes without saying with Chesky, the leader in audiophile recordings."

Werner Stiefele, Audio Musik

"This is an exercise in rich keyboard exchanges with a classical foundation and a jazzy landscape. The results are an easy going, approachable session..."

Oscar Groomes, O's Jazz Place

 "When I listen to the mixes on my system, indeed the speaker mix has a very large "mega dimensional" soundstage with piano wide left, drum kit center, and bass wide right. I found that broad panorama to be an enjoyable experience that envelops the listener in the music."

Archimago's Musings, Audio Blog


"I started my career as a jazz musician. Then I spent many years composing symphonic works and incorporating jazz into many of them. Now it gives me great happiness to reverse it – to take pieces of classical music and use them as the basis for playing jazz. ."David Chesky

Chesky starts The Great European Songbook with the second prelude from J. S. Bach's Well Tempered Clavier (WTC). He then transforms this prelude into a new element with the addition of modern harmony. Next the trio swings hard on Bach's Fugue No. 2. The trio then takes Schiller’s “Ode to Joy” from Beethoven’s monumental Ninth Symphony and gives it a soulful “bluesy” spin. They turn the “Blue Danube” waltz of Johann Strauss into a samba from Rio. The Prelude No. 6 from Bach’s WTC has a nice 12/8 swing to it and the trio goes into a d minor blues in the middle for the improvisation part. 


The album then takes Chopin's well known Prelude No. 4 in e minor and transforms it into a harmonically sophisticated bossa nova followed by Bach's Prelude No. 1 where the trio goes back to its “bluesy” roots. Beethoven's “Fur Elise” gets the Brazilian treatment as well a complete harmonic workover. The trio ends the album with Bach famous chorale “Zion hört die wächter singen” from Bach’s Cantata 140 Wachet Auf (“Sleeper’s Awake”) that pays homage to the players of the west coast cool such as Marty Paich and Vince Guaraldi. As Chesky says, "It is amazing to me how well Bach's music sounds as jazz. Bach was the ultimate jazz player of his time, a master improviser, and his music swings.

Andrew Quint, The Absolute Sound

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