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
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.