Lest anyone jump to a logical conclusion while playing Jonathan Kreisberg’s ingeniously arranged new solo CD, One, a listener’s note is included: “Although subtle (and not so subtle at times) guitar effects were utilized by Jonathan on some of the material for this recording, no additional tracks, overdubs or loops were used in the making of these purely solo performances.” Apparently Kreisberg possesses the usual allotment of fingers, too.
The heads up is something to keep in mind when Kreisberg’s handiwork is in full motion, hinting at some form of six-string prestidigitation and refreshing a collection of mostly pop and jazz standards with extraordinary melodic, harmonic and rhythmic finesse—to say nothing of the guitarist’s vast imagination.
Think you’ve heard enough recordings of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” to last a few lifetimes? Kreisberg may well change your mind with his highly original treatment. But most of the album’s pleasures are inspired by vintage tunes. Some are animated by bass-register motifs (“Caravan”) or adorned with elegant counterpoint (“Summertime”); others are hauntingly revived with brushed chords and light-fingered filigree (“Skylark”) or made all the more intriguing by curiously linear excursions and modal pulses (“E.S.P.”). Touches of bossa nova, flamenco and blues add color here and there, attaching familiar ballast to Kreisberg’s intricately devised and beautifully articulated arrangements.
The aforementioned “not so subtle” guitar effects are largely confined to a pair of original pieces: the fancifully baroque interlude “Without Shadow” and the rumbling, amped-up odyssey “Escape From Lower Formant Shift.”