All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

200

Jonathan Kreisberg: Shadowless

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
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; Stir 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; Henry Hey: piano; Matt Penman: bass; Mark Ferber: drums.

Title: Shadowless | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: New for Now Music

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Canto de Ossanha

Canto de Ossanha

Jonathan Kreisberg
ONE

Twenty One

Twenty One

Jonathan Kreisberg
Shadowless

Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Catching Up With
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Wave Upon Wave

Wave Upon Wave

New for Now Music
2014

buy
ONE

ONE

New for Now Music
2013

buy
 

One

Not On Label (Jonathan Dane Self-released)
2012

buy
Shadowless

Shadowless

New for Now Music
2011

buy
The South Of Everywhere

The South Of...

Mel Bay Records
2007

buy
Unearth

Unearth

Mel Bay Records
2006

buy

Related Articles

Read Postcard Collection CD/LP/Track Review
Postcard Collection
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 21, 2018
Read Der Dichter Spricht CD/LP/Track Review
Der Dichter Spricht
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: June 21, 2018
Read Dodecahedron CD/LP/Track Review
Dodecahedron
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 21, 2018
Read The Chopin Project CD/LP/Track Review
The Chopin Project
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 21, 2018
Read Walk The Walk CD/LP/Track Review
Walk The Walk
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: June 21, 2018
Read Grime Scene CD/LP/Track Review
Grime Scene
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 20, 2018
Read "Oscar Peterson Plays" CD/LP/Track Review Oscar Peterson Plays
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 23, 2018
Read "Unnatural  Events" CD/LP/Track Review Unnatural Events
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Celebrating William Parker at 65" CD/LP/Track Review Celebrating William Parker at 65
by John Sharpe
Published: April 1, 2018
Read "50" CD/LP/Track Review 50
by Doug Collette
Published: July 22, 2017
Read "Humanities" CD/LP/Track Review Humanities
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 30, 2018
Read "25th Anniversary Project" CD/LP/Track Review 25th Anniversary Project
by Geannine Reid
Published: February 22, 2018