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 Jonathan’s exciting quintet compositions and his trio’s unique takes on standards.
What do you remenber about your first guitar?
It was a "vantage", a very cool guitar. Beautiful blonde wood, with two inlayed stripes down the center.
Why do you need from music?
I want to continue expanding the concepts I've explored in my compoisitons, I could spend a lifetime doing that. There are always such great lessons to be learned playing in situations with different parameters than the ones I've personally created as a composer or band leader.
So, why do you pick up play the guitar?
after 38 years of playing, it feels like breathing. If I don't pick it up I begin to feel weak and as if I am missing something. I need it and love it…
Which work of your own are you most surprised by?
ONE, my solo guitar album, because of the intimate feeling in the music...and WAVE UPON WAVE, because it's the latest (out in october 2014), and I was happy to hear many new concepts that I had been practicing come out naturally on the tracks.
What do you dream, musically speaking, about?
effortless flowing of ideas…I'm constantly practicing to try and attain that dream someday…or at least get as close as possible.
What was the first solo you learned from a record — and can you still play it?
eric clapton's solo on "crossroads." I think if I had a few minutes, it would come back to me.
Where are your roots? What are your influences?
I have one leg planted in NYC where I was born, and the other in Miami where I was grew up. My influences are wide ranging, but two major ones are Keith Jarrett ("Fort Yawuh") and John Coltrane. I like everything to "feel" good in a way that feels right to me based on my background. So my background in Jazz, Rock and Funk is always under everything. I love and listen to Flamenco and Classical indian music. I'm coming from a more africa into american tradition of polyrhtyhm, and I'm constanly looking for new approaches and variations to that.
How would you define the present time in musical terms?
Well, I guess I try to define the present time in Music alone… Hopefully the next cd will do that!
Define the sound you're still looking for.
The sweetly flowing energy and vicious beauty of the universe being heard by an infant in the arms of the most beautiful woman ever seen…and then played back in half time over John Bonham's drum intro to "when the levee breaks".
Dr. Lonnie Smith: organ, keyboards, electronic drum, Jonathan Kreisberg: guitar, Jamire Williams: drums
mainly my gibson 175 for the past 20 years or so, my acoustic is a Collings and the amp is a blackface Fender Princeton….
What artist, living or dead, would you like to have collaborated with?
I know it's probably a common choice, but for sure Salvador Dali. He had a jazz mind.
A valuable advice that someone has gifted to you in the past?
don't eat the yellow snow...
What are you currently working on?
I'm mixing JKQ's new cd WAVE UPON WAVE…very excited about sharing it with you!!!
|THE SOUTH OF EVERYWHERE
|NEW FOR NOW
|NINE STORIES WIDE
|JONATHAN KREISBERG TRIO