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Jonathan Kreisberg: The Underdog

Guitarist maintains high standards and a low profile

Jonathan Kreisberg
Jonathan Kreisberg (guitar) and Dr. Lonnie Smith (organ) in 2010

In his fourth-floor apartment in Midwood, deep in the heart of Brooklyn, on a recent spring day, Jonathan Kreisberg offered a visitor a chair amid a chaos of unopened boxes, cleaning supplies and construction tools. It’s a time of new beginnings for the journeyman guitarist-a newly renovated two-bedroom that he will share with his Colombian bride, whom he’d married just a week earlier; and a recent album, Wave Upon Wave (New for Now), that represents a consolidation of his considerable gifts as composer and jazz guitarist.

Time will tell whether it’s a breakthrough year for Kreisberg, 42, who has slowly, steadily amassed an international following, especially in Europe, where he frequently plays packed clubs and jazz festivals. Although highly rated by his peers and critics-seven previous albums have earned rave reviews-Kreisberg has mostly flown under the radar. “I realized long ago that I was never going to be a ‘golden child,'” he says. “I’m quite comfortable with the ‘underdog’ moniker. I think I like it.”

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