Jonathan Kreisberg – Night Songs (2009)

Jonathan Kreisberg - Night Songs (2009)
Artist: Jonathan Kreisberg
Album: Night Songs
Genre: Contemporary Jazz, Post-Bop
Origin: USA
Released: 2009
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps

01. Laura [05:22]
02. Autumn In New York [08:51]
03. September Song [07:13]
04. Prelude To A Kiss [07:13]
05. Spring Is Here [07:54]
06. I’ll Be Seeing You [07:23]
07. Blue In Green [05:55]
08. Nefertiti [05:32]
09. Warm Valley [06:04]


Few artists dare to strictly play ballads on any full project, for it appeals to a specific audience only concerned with the soothing, relaxed quality of jazz. Guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg has chosen this route, performing the music effectively, calmly, and with the rationale of a poker player silently holding all the right cards until the proper moment to lay them out, as well as his or her calculated emotions. Gary Versace is the surprise element here, as he has put away his potent Hammond B-3 for a piano sound much more in tune with the introspective techniques employed by Bill Evans. Bassist Matt Penman (SF Jazz Collective, Kurt Rosenwinkel) and drummer Mark Ferber (Fred Hersch, Lee Konitz) utilize the difficult elements of tasteful restraint and loving patience in supporting the guitarist and pianist in ultimately subtle means and ways. The program is all standards, none of them at all challenging, many somber and wistful. “Laura” is the opener, a real beauty for starters as Kreisberg’s one-note lines accent Versace’s cascading piano chords. The program turns reflective on slow songs as the classic heartache evinced in “Autumn in New York,” the tango styled, even keeled “September Song,” and a midtempo melancholy refrain of “I’ll Be Seeing You.” Kreisberg plays much acoustic guitar very much in the style of Joe Pass or Kenny Burrell, and when he picks up an amplified model, it is toned down and kept completely in check, as in the slowly blossoming “Spring Is Here” or a laid-back version of the Miles Davis Kind of Blue icon “Blue in Green.” Wayne Shorter’s “Nefertiti” offers a slightly steelier tone and the churning piano of Versace in contrast. The final selection, Duke Ellington’s “Warm Valley,” is a bit different with an arrangement in 5/4 time led by the sullen tones of Penman, while the three main instruments trade mercurial melody lines spontaneously. This is Kreisberg’s seventh effort as a leader, and at this point in his career, he was compelled to make this muted statement to touch the hearts of those who favor cooler heads prevailing over feverish neo-bop or modern jazz music. It’s a credible effort, geared for people inclined to close off this troubled world and convene with one’s significant other over dinner, drinks, and sitting by the fireplace.
Review by Michael G. Nastos

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