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Contributor


Jonathan Crayford

Composer, Performer

Biography

Born in 1964, New Zealand pianist Jonathan Crayford began playing piano at the age of 3, studying with Sister Henry of Sacred Heart convent in Lower Hutt, NZ. At 18 he was composing music for films, the first of which was Gaylene Preston’s documentary Making Utu. In 2017 Jonathan composed the original music for the feature film Pork Pie and in 2018 he was commissioned by the NZ International Festival of the Arts to produce, compose and arrange a programme of classical works featuring improvisation as an essential element. For this Crayford reinterpreted Mahler, Albinoni, Barber, Ravel and Satie.

His work spans many different genres, disciplines and regional styles, including, but not limited to, Cuban, Brazilian and Spanish dialects. He is considered one of New Zealand’s foremost Jazz pianists though is certainly not afraid to venture into other genres.

At the age of 26 he moved to New York to immerse himself in the jazz scene and following a short while studying at the Julliard School of Music began playing with notable musicians on the scene including Kurt Rosenwinkel, David Binney, Groove Collective, Mambo Macoco, Jay Rodriguez, Bill Ware and many others in the genres of jazz, latin jazz, funk and in some cases classical.

In 2009 he moved to Paris to work on his own two-year project concerning the life of Evariste Galois – the genius French mathematician for which he received the Edwin Carr Scholarship. Whilst there he assisted David Murray and Valerie Malot (director of French world music concert promotion company ‘3D Family’) in the creation of several projects involving the Afrobeat music of Fela Kuti with Tony Allen, Questlove, Macy Gray, Amp Fiddler, Mamani Keita (Mali) and other world music artists.

Across many years spent performing in both the United States and Europe, Jonathan has worked with a wide range of musicians. In New York he worked with Kurt Rosenwinkel, David Binney, Mambo Macoco, Groove Collective, Barney McAll and in Europe with David Murray, Tony Allen, Questlove, Macy Gray and Bobby Carcasses.

His 2014 album, Dark Light was nominated for the Best New Zealand Jazz Album with his 2016 follow up, East West Moon taking out the Tui in that category. He can also be heard playing electric bass on that album. Though primarily known for his work as a pianist, Jonathan is a talented multi instrumentalist.

Photo credit: John Fenton


Composed (14)

Bikes in Space

for jazz trio


Dark Light

for jazz trio


Disturbance

for jazz trio


East West

for jazz trio


Galois' Candle

for jazz trio


Impetus

for jazz trio


Kurt in Berlin

for jazz trio


Light of the Earth

for jazz trio


Moon

for jazz trio


Panties

for jazz trio


Rita Finds the Light

for jazz trio


Skyscraper Scaffold

for jazz trio


Subito

for jazz trio