Chris Cheek

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Chris Cheek
Cheek at Moers Festival 2009
Cheek at Moers Festival 2009
Background information
Birth nameChristopher Carson Cheek
Born (1968-09-16) September 16, 1968 (age 52)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
GenresJazz, blues
Occupation(s)Musician, bandleader
Years active1992–present
LabelsFresh Sound, Blue Music Group
Associated actsPaul Motian, Jeff Ballard, The Delphian Orchestra
Chris Cheek, 2013

Christopher Carson Cheek (born September 16, 1968) is an American jazz saxophonist.


Cheek was born in St. Louis, Missouri,[1] where his father was the director of a Junior high school band. Cheek began learning to play the alto saxophone at age eleven, and upon graduation from high school, he attended Webster University.[1] He studied at the Berklee College of Music under Joe Viola, Hal Crook, and Herb Pomeroy, and earned his bachelor's degree.[2] He moved to New York City in 1992, where he played with Paul Motian in the Electric Bebop Band, and co-founded Bloomdaddies with Seamus Blake.[1] He also played with Guillermo Klein, Mika Pohjola, Luciana Souza, and David Berkman.[1]

His debut release as a leader, I Wish I Knew, appeared in 1997 and featured Kurt Rosenwinkel,[3] and by 2010, three more solo albums with Cheek as bandleader on the Fresh Sound label followed; A Girl Named Joe (1997), Vine (1999), and Blues Cruise, in 2005. Two albums as co-leader – Lazy Afternoon and Guilty – were released by Blue Moon in 2002.[4] In 2016 another CD, Saturday Songs, was released by Sunnyside Records [5] and recorded at Supertone Records, Valencia. Criss Cross Jazz have also released two Cheek albums with co-leader Seamus Blake.[6] Cheek has appeared on more than one hundred albums as a session musician.


As leader/co-leader[edit]

Year recorded Title Label Personnel
1996–97 I Wish I Knew Fresh Sound Quartet, with Kurt Rosenwinkel (guitar), Chris Higgins (bass), Jorge Rossy (drums)
1997 A Girl Named Joe Fresh Sound With Mark Turner (tenor sax), Ben Monder (guitar), Marc Johnson (bass), Jorge Rossy and Dan Rieser (drums)
1999 Vine Fresh Sound Quintet, with Brad Mehldau (piano, Fender Rhodes), Kurt Rosenwinkel (guitar), Matt Penman (bass), Jorge Rossy (drums)
2000 Guilty Blue Moon Quartet, co-led with Ethan Iverson (piano), Ben Street (bass), Jorge Rossy (drums); in concert
2000 Lazy Afternoon Blue Moon Quartet, co-led with Ethan Iverson (piano), Ben Street (bass), Jorge Rossy (drums); in concert
2005 Blues Cruise Fresh Sound Quartet, with Brad Mehldau (piano), Larry Grenadier (bass), Jorge Rossy (drums)
2013 Reeds Ramble Criss Cross Jazz Co-led with Seamus Blake (tenor sax); quintet, with Ethan Iverson (piano), Matt Penman (bass), Jochen Rueckert (drums)
2015 Let's Call the Whole Thing Off Criss Cross Jazz Co-led with Seamus Blake (tenor sax); quintet, with Ethan Iverson (piano), Matt Penman (bass), Jochen Rueckert (drums)
2015 Saturday Songs Sunnyside Quintet, with Steve Cardenas (guitar), David Soler (pedal steel guitar), Jaume Llombard (bass), Jorge Rossy (drums, vibes, marimba)

As sideman[edit]

With Burak Bedikyan

  • Leap of Faith (SteepleChase)

With The Bloomdaddies

  • Seamus Blake - The Bloomdaddies (Criss Cross Jazz)
  • Racer X
  • Mosh For Lovers (Fresh Sound New Talent)

With Brooklyn Boogaloo Blowout

  • Live at Sunny's (Story Sound, 2017)

With Frank Carlberg

  • The Crazy Woman (Accurate, 1995)
  • Variations on a Summer Day (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2000)
  • In the Land of Art (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2005)
  • State of the Union (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2006)
  • Uncivilized Ruminations (Red Piano)

With Jen Chapin

  • Revisions - Songs of Stevie Wonder (Chesky, 2009)
  • Live at the Bitter End (Purple Chair Music, 1999)

With Alan Ferber

  • Jigsaw (Sunnyside)
  • March Sublime (Sunnyside)

With FOX

  • Pelican Blues' (Jazz&People, 2016)

With Stephane Furic

  • Kishinev (Soul Note, 1990)
  • The Twitter Machine (Soul Note, 1992)
  • Crossing Brooklyn Ferry (Soul Note, 1995)
  • Music for 3 (Soul Note, 1997)
  • Jugendstil (ESP-Disk)
  • Jugendstil II (ESP-Disk)

With Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra

With Stephane Huchard

  • Panamerican (Jazz Village)

With Guillermo Klein

  • Los Guachos II (Sunnyside, 1999)
  • Los Guachos III (Sunnyside, 2002)
  • Filtros (Sunnyside, 2008)
  • Carrera (Sunnyside, 2012)
  • Los Guachos V (Sunnyside, 2016)

With Chris Lightcap's Bigmouth

  • Epicenter (Clean Feed, 2015)
  • Deluxe (Clean Feed, 2010)

With Brad Mehldau

With Paul Motian and the Electric Bebop Band

With Wolfgang Muthspiel

  • Daily Mirror (Material)
  • In and Out (Amadeo)

With Pierre Perchaud

  • Waterfalls (Gemini)

With Mika Pohjola

  • The Secret of the Castle (Blue Music Group, 1997)
  • Announcement (Blue Music Group, 1997)

With Rudder

  • Matorning (19/8 Records, 2009)
  • Rudder (19/8 Records, 2007)

With Luciana Souza

  • The Poems of Elizabeth Bishop and Other Songs (Sunnyside)

With Steve Swallow

  • Into the Woodwork (XtraWATT/ECM, 2013)

With Miguel Zenon

  • Identities are Changeable (Miel Music)


  1. ^ a b c d Gary W. Kennedy, "Chris Cheek". The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. 2nd edition, ed. Barry Kernfeld.
  2. ^ Adler, David. "Chris Cheek: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  3. ^ Yanow, Scott. "I Wish I Knew: Review". Allmusic. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  4. ^ Corroto, Mark (September 12, 2002). "Cheek/Iverson/Street/Rossy: Lazy Afternoon/Guilty". AllAboutJazz.
  5. ^ Brady, Shaun (December 2016). "Together (and Apart) Again". DownBeat. p. 64.
  6. ^ Blanco, Edward (August 29, 2016). "Seamus Blake / Chris Cheek: Let's Call the Whole Thing Off". AllAboutJazz.

External links[edit]