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Album Review

Jonathan Kreisberg: Wave Upon Wave

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Jonathan Kreisberg: Wave Upon Wave
Wave upon wave of praise has followed the release of each one of guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg's leader dates—small group affairs that are typically built with equal parts energy and taste; Wave Upon Wave, balancing fire with heart, stealth movement with direct engagement, and power with grace, is likely to garner some more.

The fleet-fingered Kreisberg focuses on originals here, shifting between the mellow ("Being Human") and the charged ("Until You Know"). And through it all, regardless of style and syntax, his molten-and-focused tone shines through. There's a liquid glow behind his every gesture, whether he's flowing atop drummer Colin Stranahan's spry movements in five ("From The Ashes"), taking a more reflective path, or charging into the fray ("Until You Know"). He delivers his fair share of jaw-dropping, guitar hero-esque feats during his solo stands ("Wild Animals We've Seen" and "The Spin"), but nobody would mistake this for a shred-fest. Kreisberg probes and hits hard at times, but there's also lots of breathing room to be found on this date.

The band that's featured here—Kreisberg's working quartet augmented by pianist Kevin Hays on half the tracks—is quite an outfit. Saxophonist Will Vinson, once again, proves to be a simpatico front line partner for Kreisberg, able to dish it out all by his lonesome or blend in beautifully with the guitarist, depending on the circumstances at hand; bassist Rick Rosato—the most unassuming player on this album—is the backbone of this band; Hays comes in and out of the picture, enriching the sound without altering the group dynamic; and Stranhan proves to be the X factor, bringing a lot of horsepower and creativity to the animated material, furthering the state of repose when he picks up brushes, and putting a gentle, Vernel Fournier-worthy groove behind "Stella By Starlight," one of two classics on the program. Together, these men make for a formidable combination throughout Wave Upon Wave.

Track Listing

Wave Upon Wave; Until You Know; Stella By Starlight; Wild Animals We've Seen; Being Human; From The Ashes; The Spin; Peace.

Personnel

Jonathan Kreisberg: guitar; Will Vinson: saxophone, piano (3); Rick Rosato: bass; Colin Stranahan: drums; Kevin Hays: piano (1, 5, 6, 7).

Album information

Title: Wave Upon Wave | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: New for Now Music

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