Download of the Week: David Chesky
Never has a title been more apropos—The New York Rags. David Chesky composed this suite of 18 sumptuous rags performed on a Yamaha DCFX Mark IV Disklavier Pro concert grand piano and as he tells us in the liner notes, "You’re living in New York City … art reflects time and culture. So you take what’s around you and you write. And in the end, is it symphonic? Is it jazz? It’s a crossover. The way American music should be, like how Bernstein or Gershwin did it." The pace of Chesky's New York Rags is, for the most part, frenetic and mimics life in the big city with its many touches of spice and flavors from other times and places. I immediately heard traces of Conlon Nancarrow, Gershwin, Bernstein, and Joplin with the skeletal structure of the Second Viennese School barely containing the jaunt and roll. Nice.
The New York Rags is part of Chesky Records Binaural+ Series that uses the B & K 4100 Head and Torso simulator and technology developed in conjunction with Professor Edgar Choueiri of the 3D Audio and Applied Acoustics (3D3A) Lab of Princeton University to deliver Binaural sound to headphone and speaker listeners alike, "...these new Binaural+ Series albums capture even more spatial realism for the home audiophile market, bringing you one step closer to the actual event." While I wouldn't go as far as saying the sound is 3D, I would say The New York Rags has a lovely relaxed natural spatial quality and superb dynamics that add to the pleasure of listening.
I smiled soon after hearing the first notes of Rag No. 1 “The New Yorker” and continued doing so until jumping off after Rag No. 18 “The Coney Island Rag” and the trip that David Chesky takes us on in The New York Rags is one I recommend taking. The graphic design and New York photos by Jeff Wong in the included PDF are also a treat.
You can get David Checky's The New York Rags in 24/96 or 24/192 from HDtracks.