Chris Cheek

Main Subject Teacher Jazz Saxophone

In December 2021, Chris Cheek was appointed Main Subject Teacher Jazz Saxophone. Cheek is one of the most sought after saxophonists in the Jazz world of today and has long been considered one of the best players internationally. Chris Cheek holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Jazz Performance from the Berklee College of Music in Boston and a Master’s Degree in Jazz Arranging and Composition from the Queens College in New York City.

Cheek has been a teacher at the New School since 2007 and has a wide experience as a clinician at Higher Music Education institutions around the world. Cheek played in the groups of legends such as Paul Motian, Charlie Haden, Steve Swallow, Carla Bley and Bill Frisell.

As a leader, he has performed with the likes of Jorge Rossy, Brad Mehldau, Steve Cardenas and Kurt Rosenwinkel. His recordings “Saturday Songs" (on Sunnyside Records) and "I Wish I Knew", "A Girl Named Joe", "Vine", and "Blues Cruise" (all on Fresh Sound Records) received rave reviews and have become favourites among players and listeners alike. Cheek also co-led the bands "Rudder" (19/8 records), "The Bloomdaddies" (Fresh Sound) and "Reeds Ramble" (Criss Cross records).

Cheek's music encompasses a wide vista, firmly rooted in the Jazz tradition with a foot towards the unknown. As Steve Swallow and Carla Bley put it: "On the one hand, he's the very embodiment of gentle, graceful lyricism. But he's unable to resist the urge to subvert. He's a master of the sucker punch; just when he's convinced you that things couldn't be sweeter, he'll play something that jolts you right back to real life, something as direct and succinct as an uppercut. Do not trust this man! Listen at your peril."

His colleague Guillermo Klein says of Cheek: “An amazingly gifted musician in constant communion with sound. […] He makes a place a happening place.”

Cheek’s flexible, dynamic sound on all the saxophones, along with his adaptability and inventiveness makes him a valuable contribution to every band he plays with.

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