199

Jonathan Kreisberg: Shadowless

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Jonathan Kreisberg: Shadowless In a landscape populated by forty-something guitarists like Kurt Rosenwinkel and thirty-something six-stringers like Lage Lund, Jonathan Kreisberg stands alone. Sure, he's got the chops and linguistic sophistication of a group of peers who are the clear next step beyond the innovations of Pat Metheny, John Scofield and Bill Frisell , but what separates Kreisberg is his interest in expanding the sonic potential of his instrument; one of smaller subset of guitarists who approach the inherent orchestral nature of their instrument as much from a timbral perspective as they do a harmonic one. If The South of Everywhere (Mel Bay, 2007) was a breakthrough for this progressive rocker-turned-jazzer, then the more eclectic (both stylistically and sonically) Shadowless moves Kreisberg's entire conception a step further.

British expat saxophonist Will Vinson—another up-and-comer whose delivery consistently transcends his promise—is back from South of Everywhere. Everyone is, in fact, with the exception of Gary Versace, who's replaced by pianist Henry Hey, meaning that this regularly working group hit the studio with an extant chemistry felt from the first note. But this time, Kreisberg's significantly expanded sonic palette includes the octave-split, overdriven grunge and, at times, synth guitar-like tone of the high velocity, high energy "Stir the Stars," where Vinson sets the bar high with an incendiary solo met—and raised—by Kreisberg. A combination of sitar-guitar and copious distortion drive "The Common Climb," another set highlight. .As with the rest of Shadowless, however, Kreisberg doesn't just dial up a specific sound for a song; instead, he kicks specific components in and out, creating a constantly shifting wealth of textural variety.

Despite his inherent compositional complexity, Kreisberg appeals to both the head and the heart. There's no denying the demands of his fiery opener, "Twenty One," but despite this irregularly metered song's "find the one" challenge, its lyricism and compelling energy render academic assessment irrelevant. That Kreisberg, sporting a clean and warm hollow-body tone, is clearly on top of its knotty changes, and one tumult of a pulse from bassist Matt Penman and drummer Mark Ferber, only speaks to the guitarist's inherent sophistication; that the melody is also inherently singable speaks to his ability to layer accessible hooks, making even the most difficult chart feel organically approachable.

Kreisberg's warm tone also defines the title track, a stunning duet with Hey where the context's intrinsic nakedness spotlights both players' ample skill at playing over, around and through a piece with energy not unlike Chick Corea and Gary Burton's longstanding duo; Hey and Kreisberg similarly challenged as tag-team partners, effortlessly shifting musical responsibilities between themselves. It may last only a couple seconds, but a brief run of chiming, Lenny Breau-like harmonics at the song's end reveals even more about Kreisberg's prodigious, encyclopedic talent.

The sole cover, George Gershwin's "Nice Work If You Can Get It," swings hard, but with a knotty arrangement that fits in perfectly with the rest of the set. Shadowless is a testament to Kreisberg's burgeoning talent—and a clearly successful goal to transfer the energy of the stage to the sterile conditions of the studio.


Track Listing: Twenty One; Sir the Stars; Shadowless; Zembékiko; Long, Like a Mercury Day; The Common Climb; Defying Gravity; Nice Work If You Can Get It.

Personnel: Jonathan Kreisberg: guitar; Will Vinson: saxophone, piano (6); Henry Hey: piano; Matt Penman: bass; Mark Ferber: drums; Rich Stein: tambourine (6).

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: New for Now Music | Style: Modern Jazz


Related Video

Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Catching Up With
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Pat Metheny Pat Metheny
guitar
Pat Martino Pat Martino
guitar
John Scofield John Scofield
guitar
Jim Hall Jim Hall
guitar
Adam Rogers Adam Rogers
guitar
Paul Motian Paul Motian
drums
Wayne Krantz Wayne Krantz
guitar
Gary Burton Gary Burton
vibraphone
Charlie Byrd Charlie Byrd
guitar
Joe Diorio Joe Diorio
guitar
Mike Moreno Mike Moreno
guitar

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Solo" CD/LP/Track Review Solo
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 27, 2016
Read "Röjer På Vinden" CD/LP/Track Review Röjer På Vinden
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 1, 2016
Read "Confidences" CD/LP/Track Review Confidences
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 3, 2017
Read "I Go Back Home: A Story About Hoping And Dreaming" CD/LP/Track Review I Go Back Home: A Story About Hoping And Dreaming
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 21, 2016
Read "Like a Bird or Spirit, not a Face" CD/LP/Track Review Like a Bird or Spirit, not a Face
by John Eyles
Published: March 4, 2016
Read "Waltz About Nothing" CD/LP/Track Review Waltz About Nothing
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 3, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!