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JC
Jonathan Crayford is an award winning pianist, multi-instrumentalist and film composer, from New Zealand. As a musician in New York he has worked with Kurt Rosenwinkel, David Binney, Mambo Macoco, Groove Collective, Barney McAll and in Europe with David Murray, Tony Allen, Questlove, Macy Gray, Bobby Carcasses (Cuba) and many others internationally. As a film composer he has written for directors/producers Geoff Murphy, Gaylene Preston, John Laing, Lynton Butler, Larry Parr, Don Reynolds, Juliet Dowling.

Jonathan began playing the piano at age 3 studying classical music with Sister Henry of Sacred Heart convent in Lower Hutt, NZ. He played in nightclubs at the age of 15 with his father Terry Crayford the celebrated pianist and arranger/composer. At 17 he left school and worked on Geoff Murphy’s ‘Utu’ in the art department securing the job of composing the music for Gaylene Preston’s documentary ‘Making Utu’. What followed was a career in scoring films and playing in bands whilst working on compositional commissions for Radio New Zealand for several years. 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 2 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. He retuned to New York in 2013 to record ‘Dark Light’ with Ben Street and Dan Weiss, which has won great critical acclaim.

He continues to work as film composer, concert pianist, multi-instrumentalist and jazz artist. His solo piano work involves improvisation and classical music.

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Radio interview, New Zealand Concert FM, June 2016

Reviews of Jonathan Crayford

‘He’s an artist embedded so deeply within his music that his persona reflects in those terms. It’s as if he were the embodiment of sonic shapes and forms.’
John Fenton

'This is the kind of piano I totally relate to: exploratory, thoughtful, soulful, focused. Those qualities are all sort of contradictory, or at least contrasting, which is why this kind of work is meaningful: because it is multi-dimensional.'
Thomas Conrad critic for Jazz Times

Reviews for Dark Light (2014 trio album w/Ben Street, Dan Weiss)
‘The title track of pianist Jonathan Crayford's latest album is a stunning meditation in color and tone. It establishes its bearings and then heads into the unknown - the piano probing and searching sometimes pensive at others strident and rambling. It's a towering composition on an album that clocks in at a perfect 45 minutes and leaves you gasping at its beauty, richness and assuredness. Crayford has always threatened to record something special to match his obvious talents as a composer. Dark Light is it and is as good an album you're likely to hear this year. ’
Mike Alexander


Feature Film Scores:
• Spooked (Theme) – dir by Geoff Murphy
• Ruby & Rata – dir by Gaylene Preston
• Mr Wrong – dir by Gaylene Preston
• Dangerous Orphans – dir by John Laing
• Pallet On The Floor – dir by Lynton Butler

Short Film Scroes:
• Instincts - dir by Pat Robins
• Making Utu - dir by Gaylene Preston)
• Finding A Sky – prod by Juliet Dowling
• John A Lee Documentary – dir by Murray Milne

TV Commercials:
• Telecom series – Saatchi & Saatchi
• About 25 for Ogilvy & Mather and other companies
Awards:
• Nomination for Best Original Score (Mr Wrong) 1991
• Award for Best Original Score (Ruby & Rata) 1993
• Chapman Tripp Award for Best Original Music (Adagio) 2008

Albums: (appearing on)
• Songlines (Malcom Macneil)
• Two Armed Men (Wayne Mason)
• Central Park Rhumba - Eddie Bobé
• Mambo Macoco - w/ Jay Collins, Donald Nicks, Eddie Bobé, Jose Deleon, Gene Golden, Chris Albert
• Bill Ware Y2K Quartet - Bill Ware, Brad Jones, Victor Jones
• Dance of the Drunken Master - Groove Collective
• Soul Bossa Trio - w/ Groove Collective
• Madrugada - Alda Rezende
• Traveler - Alda Rezende
• Trinity Roots - True
• Cornerstone Roots - various
• Recloose - various
• Olmecha Supreme – various
• Reggie Washington ‘Rainbow Shadow’ Tribute To Jef Lee Johnson

Albums: (as leader/composer)
• Dark Light - Trio w/ Ben Street, Dan Weiss
• Rita's Blue River Stone- Improvised solo concert, Spain
• Concierto en la Iglesia - Improvised solo concert, Spain
• Duel Pianos - co led with Terry Crayford - piano duets
• Jonathan Crayford plays Monk! - solo piano
• Decision - trio w/ Patrick Bleakley, Chris O'connore
• Jonathan Crayford plays Terry Crayford - trio w/ Pat O'Leary, Clifford Barboro
• Jazz at the St James - 4tet w/ Bruno Lawrence, Bernie McGann, Larry Gales
• Donde la Luz y el Agua se Juntan - 4tet live, w/ Dave Binney, Max Stowers, Chris O'connore
• BigFoot - multi-instrumental w/ Riki Gooch, Ema Paki, Lisa Tomlins, strings

Website:
www.jonathancrayford.com
music.jocray.com

Current projects
• Dark Light Trio (with Ben Street and Dan Weiss)
• Biggish Band (Patience Higgins, Jay Rodriguez, David Binney, Fima Ephron, Marvin Sewell, Derek Bronston, Ari Hoenig, Clark Gayton, Kenny Wollesen and others)
• Solo piano
• Piano duo with Terry Crayford
• Piano/Sax duo with David Binney
• ‘Meteor’ with Brian Ruawai, Chris O’Connor, Marika Hodgson, Bridget Kelly
• El Diablo De Cadaqués – film/opera in development

 

Jonathan Crayford