Jonathan Kreisberg: Nine Stories Wide and Unearth


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Jonathan Kreisberg is an exciting young guitarist whose two latest releases will go a long way toward affirming his prominent place in the jazz landscape.

Jonathan Kreisberg
Nine Stories Wide
Criss Cross

Nine Stories Wide is a multi-layered program of old and new classics blended with originals. "Summertime" opens with a forbidding bass line by Larry Grenadier over Kreisberg's small intro over the theme. It's clear from this song that Kreisberg is a master of space: how to give it to his band mates and how to fill it effectively without wasting it. Drummer Bill Stewart lays down some fine licks and Grenadier adds a fine plucked solo. "Just In Time" is a burner that opens with a quicksilver statement, the trio plays the theme, then Kreisberg builds a challenging solo over Grenadier's power walking and Stewart's ride cymbal-driven comping. Kreisberg's original "Dana" is a bossa nova groove, with crisp single-note phrasing leading to spitfire harmonic runs. "My Ideal" is delivered with warmth and reverence.

The trio handles Wayne Shorter's "Juju" with gusto, with Stewart recalling Elvin Jones' thrashing on the drums and Kreisberg inventing clever chord play over the classic melody. The other classics the group plays, "Michelle" and "Relaxing At Camarillo," are both arranged to Kreisberg's specs, that is, with carefully planned spacing so that the melodies are recognizable but stretched suitably enough so that the trio can weave its magic without constraint.

Jonathan Kreisberg
Mel Bay

Kreisberg works out with a quintet on Unearth, a disc comprised completely of his originals. "Minor Leaps" bursts out of the box, with Kreisberg and trumpeter Scott Wendholt whipping up some tight on-point minor key riffing on John Coltrane's "Giant Steps." "Until the Sun Submits" is as soft and lovely as the Brazilian sunset it invokes, enhanced by Aaron Goldberg's electric piano. "New For Now" is a dynamic, atavistic hard bopper on which Kreisberg, Wendholt and Goldberg all play blistering solos. "Pacific" reinforces that hard bop is Kreisberg's primary language, a language in which he plays and writes fluently. He shows his proficiency in other riffs, too, as in the elegant, flamenco-flavored "Microcosm For Two" or the busted-before-payday blues feeling of "Hobroken." After listening to these discs, it's obvious that Kreisberg is well on his way to becoming a standard himself.

Nine Stories Wide

Tracks: Summertime; Just In Time; Dana; My Ideal; Juju; That Reminds Me; Fever Vision; Michelle; Relaxing At Camarillo.

Personnel: Jonathan Kriesberg: guitar; Larry Grenadier: bass; Bill Stewart: drums.


Tracks: Minor Leaps; Until the Sun Submits; New For Now; Pacific; Microcosm for Two; Hobroken; Peru; Unearth.

Personnel: Jonathan Kreisberg: guitars; Scott Wendholt: trumpet; Aaron Goldberg: piano, Fender Rhodes Electric Piano; Matt Penman: Bass; Anthony Pinciotti: drums.

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