Blessed Quietness: A Collection of Hymns, Spirituals and Carols
If Cyrus Chesnut's latest album accomplishes anything, it reminds us that spirituals are meant to swing. Though the album is uneven, occasionally bordering on the saccharine, Chestnut succeeds in evoking the raw spirit of this time-tested musical tradition. At his best, on such tracks as “Jesus Loves Me,” “Walk With Me Jesus” and the title song, “Blessed Quietness,” Chestnut builds a buoyant, swinging tension that displays his two-handed alacrity and musical tack. On other tracks, however, such as “We Three Kings,” he drifts from jazz to New Age. If one takes the bad with the good, however, this album proves rewarding on many levels.
— J. Drew Todd