David Chesky is a perfect example of a professional musician who spent much of his time helping to run a record company. The New York resident, who grew up in Miami, co-owns the independent Chesky Records with his younger brother Norman Chesky; and because the Manhattan-based company has taken up a lot of his time, David Chesky's own catalog isn't as large as it could be. Nonetheless, he's a talented pianist, keyboardist, producer, and composer who is capable of playing jazz as well as European classical and different types of Latin music (including Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, and tango). David Chesky has been in the music world since the late '70s; in 1978, he formed a fusion-oriented big band that included major players like saxman Michael Brecker, trumpeter Randy Brecker, and keyboardist Bob James. The improviser led that big band on his first album, Rush Hour, which Columbia/CBS (now Columbia/Sony) released in 1980.
The early to mid-'80s found Chesky doing a lot of classical composing; his pieces were performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and others. By 1987, David Chesky and his brother were running Chesky Records, an audiophile-friendly company that has concentrated on jazz, European classical, and Latin music. The list of artists that Chesky Records recorded since the late '80s is a long one; Phil Woods, Lee Konitz, Clark Terry, Paquito D'Rivera, McCoy Tyner, Tom Harrell, John Pizzarelli, Red Rodney, Fred Hersch, and Johnny Frigo are among the well-known jazz instrumentalists who David Chesky has worked with as a producer for Chesky Records. The label has dabbled in vocal jazz and traditional pop, putting out CDs by Peggy Lee, LaVerne Butler, Christy Baron, and Rebecca Pidgeon; and the company has recorded Brazilian artists like Ana Caram, Badi Assad, Leny Andrade, and the late Luiz Bonfá. The first album that David Chesky recorded for Chesky Records was 1989's Club de Sol, which was followed by 1990's The New York Chorinhos (an album of piano/guitar duets with Brazilian guitarist Romero Lumbambo). The pianist was reunited with Lumbambo in 1992, when they recorded The Tangos and Dances for Chesky Records. David Chesky's subsequent albums for that label included 1996's The Fantasies, 1997's 3 Psalms for String Orchestra, and 1998's Snowbears of Lake Louise. ~ Alex Henderson