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.
In 1997 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 Lee Konitz, Joe Locke, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Joel Frahm, Greg Tardy, Lenny White, Roy Nathanson, Donald Edwards, Jane Monheit, Ari Hoenig, and Yosvany Terry. He has also led groups of various instrumentations featuring artists such as Bill Stewart, Larry Grenadier, and Scott Wendholt.
Jonathan has recorded five CDs as a leader, including The South of Everywhere, his latest project. The critically acclaimed recording features Gary Versace on piano, Will Vinson on alto saxophone, Matt Penman on bass, and Mark Ferber on drums. A dynamic album which combines Jonathans exciting quintet compositions and his trios unique takes on standards, The South of Everywhere spent 15 weeks on the JazzWeek Jazz Album Chart.
Although based in New York City, Jonathan can be seen on tour worldwide. In 2008 his quintet played an electrifying set on the main stage at Jazz Baltica, and he recently completed successful tours of Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Finland, Italy, and Japan. With return visits to these countries as well as Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Mexico, and Ecuador planned for the near future, Jonathan is quickly establishing himself as a major new voice on the international jazz scene.
When not on the road, Jonathans trio performs each Wednesday at La Lanterna in Greenwich Village, and his quintet can often be heard at NYC clubs such as Smalls, Iridium, the Kitano, and Cachaça.