What piece of art changed your life? How did it affect you?
Thelonious Monk’s Greatest Hits. I found it by chance in the $1.99 bin at F.W. Woolworth’s at the Alameda Shopping Center. I didn’t know who Thelonious Monk was. All I knew was I had just enough money to get it, and the cover showed this guy at the piano. So at the age of nine, I was listening to "Ruby, My Dear" and "Crepuscule With Nellie." I was like, "Okay." I was very intrigued by it. I didn’t have a regular record player, I had a Show ‘n Tell, and I put the record on the Show ‘n Tell and started listening. And I kept listening and listening.
I also went to the BSO in the fourth grade and heard Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. And the conductor looked just like me. I remember thinking, "Wow, that guy looks just like me, and he’s conducting all these people. Wow."
Baltimore's Cyrus Chestnut has been called "the greatest jazz pianist of his generation" by Time magazine.