Guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg has been steadily building his name as one of the most compelling composer/performers in Jazz. Combining timeless melodicism with forward thinking lines and textures, His style and approach has created a strong following of fans around the world. He frequently tours worldwide and records with his own groups as well artists such as Dr. Lonnie Smith, who says of Kreisberg "He is a passionate musician with great vision, and he is constantly in fiery pursuit of innovation."
Born in New York City, guitarist and composer Jonathan Kreisberg has fond memories of a childhood steeped in music. “I was lucky to grow up in a household that had a great and wide-ranging record collection,” he recalls, “including Coltrane's My Favorite Things, John Williams playing the ‘Concierto de Aranjuez’ and Cream's Disraeli Gears.”
Jonathan started playing guitar at the age of ten after moving to Miami with his family. At 16 he was admitted to the New World School of the Arts, where his jazz studies took center stage. Intensely dedicated to the instrument, he was featured in Guitar Player and DownBeat while still in his teens. He won a scholarship to the University of Miami, where he held the guitar chair in the acclaimed Concert Jazz Band, touring Brazil and performing with Joe Henderson, Michael Brecker, and Red Rodney.
Upon graduation, Jonathan began playing straight ahead jazz gigs as well as a myriad of other projects. He performed 20th century works with the New World Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas. He also recorded a C.D. and performed extensively with the progressive rock group Third Wish. He also formed the first incarnation of the Jonathan Kreisberg Trio. Based in Miami, this electric based Trio released a C.D. and completed several U.S. East Coast tours, which included opening slots for George Benson and Steve Morse. He also began giving clinics at music schools and universities.
While still in his early 20's, he returned to his birthplace in NYC with his focus on cutting edge acoustic jazz. "My Miami Trio was about coming up with new textures and being communicative while still playing intense musically. When I moved to New York I entered a more introspective phase, really getting deeper into melodies and harmonies." This also coincided with a renewed interest in the jazz tradition. "I found that the deeper I got into the tradition the more possibilities I became aware of for the future."
Since returning to New York City, Jonathan has worked in the bands of many jazz greats including Dr. Lonnie Smith, Lee Konitz, Joe Locke, Stefano Dibatista, Ari Hoenig, Joel Frahm, Don Friedman, Greg Tardy, Donald Edwards, Jane Monheit, and Yosvany Terry. He has also led groups of various instrumentations featuring artists such as Bill Stewart, Larry Grenadier, and Scott Wendholt.
Jonathan has now recorded eight CDs as a leader, including ONE, his recent all solo guitar cd, and WAVE UPON WAVE, his latest JKQ offering. On the latter he brings along alto saxophone genius Will Vinson, the incredible pianist Kevin Hays, and the young rhythm section team of Rick Rosato and Colin Stranahan and creates modern jazz that combines a respect for the tradition with instrumental virtuosity, modern soundscapes and influences from every corner of the world (and beyond).
Although currently based in New York City, Jonathan can be seen on tour worldwide. Entering the major Jazz Festival circuit with their electrifying show at Jazz Baltica (the combined video footage is now at 300,000 YouTube hits and counting), JKQ has subsequently performed many of the major European and American festivals.
When not on tour Jonathan can be found at his steady Wednesday trio hits at Bar Next Door in NYC, as well as at the Jazz Standard and Smalls Jazz Club. He also teaches each semester in Europe at the Jazz Department of Prince Claus Conservatoire, part of Hanze University of Applied Sciences.
Photographer: CLAUDIA McDADE