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Jonathan Kreisberg

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Guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg has transformed from art rocker to fusion hero to jazz traditionalist -- all in the span of a decade. The native New Yorker moved to South Florida as a child in 1975; he stayed long enough to graduate from the esteemed University of Miami music program (attending from 1990 to 1994), and created a large enough fan base there to fuel a career back in the Big Apple, where he returned in 1998. Initially influenced by rock guitarists like Jimi Hendrix and Steve Vai, Kreisberg created new musical avenues to explore by adding the influence of classical composer Claude Debussy, jazz pianist Keith Jarrett, and British fusion guitarist Allan Holdsworth. After graduating from college, the open-minded young musician recorded a 1995 CD with the group Wyscan, blending elements of the groups Yes, King Crimson, and U.K. Bassist Javier Carrion and drummer Vince Verderame also recorded on Kreisberg's self-titled 1996 jazz/fusion debut. Covers of the standards "Someday My Prince Will Come" and "We'll Be Together Again" hinted at the fledgling artist's future, and after several East Coast tours, Kreisberg moved to Manhattan and Verderame to Las Vegas while Carrion stayed in South Florida (eventually working with popular artists from K.C. & the Sunshine Band to guitarist Randy Bernsen). Eschewing his Fender Stratocasters in favor of Gibson hollow-bodied guitars, Kreisberg decided not to hurry his recording career while immersing himself into New York's traditional jazz scene. Gigs with high-profile artists like drummer Lenny White (Return to Forever), bassist Jeff Andrews (Vital Information), and saxophonists Greg Tardy and Joel Frahm helped, and the guitarist entered the 21st century in both a jazz standards trio (which Kreisberg calls his "interpretations group") and an original quartet (his "compositions group"). Kreisberg's early-2002 pursuits include his trio (with bassist Johannes Weidenmueller and drummer Ari Hoenig) releasing its Trioing CD, a tour of Japan with drummer Donald Edwards, and the launching of the guitarist's website ( The trio's material, including John Coltrane's "Countdown" and Herbie Hancock's "Sorcerer," show that this rising star's career isn't just heading north geographically. ~ Bill Meredith