Cyrus Chestnut began his professional life working with such celebrated modern artists as Wynton Marsalis, but his Jelly Roll Morton influences can still be heard. That is to say that Cyrus has learned from the great jazz cats of every generation, and it really shines through in his music.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland on January 17, 1963, Cyrus Chestnut first received musical training at age 5 from his father, McDonald Chesnut. His first public performance was two years later at the Mt. Calvary Star Baptist Church in Baltimore. He received further musical training at the Peabody Preparatory Institute where he obtained a certificate in Piano and Music theory. Between 1981 and 1985, Chestnut attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, where he graduated with a degree in Jazz Composition and Arranging. While there, he received the Eubie Blake Fellowship in 1982, the Oscar Peterson Scholarship in 1983, and the Quincy Jones Scholarship in 1984. Cyrus began his professional career working with Jon Hendricks (1986-88), Terence Blanchard and Donald Harrison (1988-90), and Wynton Marsalis (1991). In September of 1991 he began a two-year tenure with jazz legend Betty Carter. Then, Chestnut actively launched his career as a leader with the album titled Revelation which was released by Atlantic Jazz in 1994.