A single wave on the shore is connected to the deepest parts of the ocean. People are connected to their ancestors who fought to survive, and many of whom traveled to other lands for a better life. Guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg combines these thoughts for Wave Upon Wave (New For Now Music, 2014).

His sidemen are Rick Rosato, bass; Colin Stranahan, drums; and Will Vinson, saxophone. Pianist Kevin Hays sits in on a few tracks.

The title song opens the set. Kreisberg plays layered tracks, one setting two pairs of step-down chords in a 3/4 rhythm, the other the lead. Guitar and sax blend on the melody of this calm, soothing piece. After the initial offering, the two instruments briefly share the step-down rhythm before Kreisberg takes off on an adventurous jaunt. The subliminal message is that of artists – singers, songwriters, musicians – moving to a new country by sea. They follow in the footsteps of those who preceded them, the waves representing each new generation of hope. Hays joins the quartet for this and three other tracks. His solo and some intense background work by Rosato and Stranahan complete the package.

The quartet adds a modern groove to the Victor Young classic, “Stella by Starlight.” Kreisberg emulates Wes Montgomery in his approach. Stranahan’s steady cymbal strikes on beats 2 and 4 will get the fingers snapping and toes tapping. He maintains this no matter what else is going on with the bass, snare or toms. One can visualize Rosato strutting in place while he plays his bass lines, and Vinson grinning full time on piano. Yes, this is one where you can tell the musicians are having fun, and their joy is infectious.

“From the Ashes” was written in 2003, two years after the September 11 terrorist attacks, commonly referred to as 9/11. Kreisberg wrote the piece as a tribute to New York City getting its groove back. The song is at times haunting and at times high spirited. The artist says it resembles the human spirit rising like the mythical phoenix.

Kreisberg has toured the world both as a supporting musician and as a leader. He has released several albums. He composed six of the eight songs on Wave Upon Wave.