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Tim Chernikoff



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Jazz pianist and composer Tim Chernikoff has been making his mark in the New York jazz scene with a style that has stood out to musicians and listeners alike. His approach to music has been to find his own musical identity through dialogue with the jazz traditions of bebop and swing while exploring personal connections to the music, through a process of purposeful discovery on the piano and composition. Described by jazz performer Dan Haerle as “extremely inventive in his Composition and Improvisation”, his works expand upon the progressive pallet of jazz to express ideas and personal revelations, and their artistic sparks are further illuminated through his collaborative ventures.


   In his budding career, the up-and-coming artist has had experiences across the US performing with world class musicians— in the Bay Area California, Dallas Fort Worth Texas, and New York City.


Educated in the West Coast (Stanford Jazz Workshop), Southwest (North Texas) and East Coast (Manhattan School of Music) regions of the United States, Chernikoff has had a diversity of educational and professional experiences.  With sights set on honing the craft of group improvised music during his college studies, Chernikoff took his education into the academy and onto the streets, taking lessons from Stefan Karsson, Dan Haerle, Taylor Eigsti, Phil Markowitz and Gary Dial; while gigging and sitting in with many of the great musicians in each area, including Adonis Rose, Quamon Fowler, John Shifflett, Jason Lewis, Vince Lateano, Brad Leali, Shelley Carrol, Christian McBride, Dayna Stephens, Roy Hargrove, and many others.  Throughout these experiences he was always learning lessons in the moment and absorbing the music.


As a composer, Chernikoff draws influence from a range of  influences from Maurice Ravel and Thelonious Monk to Cecil Taylor and Frank Zappa, Chernikoff appeals to every attitude and emotion that crosses his field of view, with material ranging from wistful and elegant to angry, disillusioned and even crass.  The resulting work in his trio work presents an adventurous musical climate that promises to douse the listener in splashes of catharsis and rumination.  About his compositional style he says “if I didn’t appeal to the quiet serenity and bombastic crassness that I observed in my daily life, then I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.”


Chernikoff is set to release his debut album as a leader in September 2021.

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Press Release & Sales Sheet

Tim Chernikoff Releases Debut Trio Album

“Pieces of Sanity”


(September 24, 2021)


New York City-based pianist Tim Chernikoff presents his debut album of original music and arrangements for Jazz piano trio, in an exciting collaboration with brilliant NYC-residing musicians Kenneth Salters and Jakob Dreyer.  


In “Pieces of Sanity,” Chernikoff presents a culmination of compositional evolution spanning over 15 years and taking place on 3 distinct regions of the United States landmass.  With works taking inspiration from from the likes of Miles Davis, Tigran Hamasyan, Frank Zappa and Cecil Taylor among many others, Chernikoff has developed a compositional and improvisational palette that takes the listener through a deeply rhythmic and rhapsodic journey into the life of the mind, navigating emotions ranging from joy to sorrow, relief, trepidation, irritation, sarcastic irony, crassness and even comic relief.


About his mix of material, Chernikoff comments: “I wanted to span a wide gamut of emotions and attitudes, as well as find the things I held most true, both in the information of my experiences and from absorbing the works of my jazz heroes and the American Songbook.  This music came out of a struggle to keep myself sane throughout my musical upbringing and transition into adulthood, always thousands of miles from my home yet still in the same supposed country.”


Tim migrated across the United States from his hometown in the Bay Area, to North Texas in 2007 and later New York City in 2011, to pursue the development of his improvisational concept, after displaying significant promise as a young pianist in his high school and early college years in Palo Alto, California.  Throughout his 15-year journey towards a full length album recording, he formed an ability to fuse fire-and-brimstone musical training  at North Texas University, with the Redwood-rooted intellectual curiosity he found in the Stanford Bay Area Peninsula, meeting the sun-hot New York scene in full force with an arsenal of tools to be fully forged after ten years in the Big Apple. 


“Pieces of Sanity” is a pit stop in the studio at the end of a 15-year musical odyssey, a recipe for the edification of human beings living through the 21st century.  Every performance is a brand new iteration of that journey, edified by the contributions of his bandmates Salters and Dreyer.


The release date is scheduled for September 24, 2021, and will be followed by a release show and touring, as venues open up after the Coronavirus Pandemic subsides.  15% of proceeds from album sales will go directly towards pandemic assistance.  

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