Jonathan Crayford is perhaps New Zealand’s most exciting export to the world of music. This prolific composer, performer and pianist spent 10 years honing his craft in New York and several years in Europe writing a film/opera and recording albums of solo piano music, before returning to NZ in the naughties to rock the music scene.
Acclaimed as a highly original compositional talent, pianist Jonathan Crayford has been responsible for many film soundtracks, albums, and bands. Having spent years performing around the world, Jonathan worked with a wide range of musicians. In New York he played with Kurt Rosenwinkel, David Binney, Mambo Macoco and Groove Collective, in Europe with David Murray, Tony Allen, Questlove and Macy Gray, in Cuba – with Bobby Carcasses and in Brazil with Alda Rezende, Caito Mercones, Kristoff Silva and José Miguel Wisnik.
His work spans many different genres of jazz, funk, and classical disciplines, as well as Latin jazz in regional styles, including, but not limited to Cuban, Brazilian and Spanish dialects. He is considered one of New Zealand’s foremost pianists who is certainly not afraid to venture into different genres.
Crayford's 2014 trio Album, ‘Dark Light’ was nominated for the Best New Zealand Jazz Album and the 2016 follow up, ‘East West Moon’ took out the award in that category. His other achievements include nominations and awards for several feature films and theatre productions.
Though primarily known for his work as a pianist, Jonathan is a talented multi-instrumentalist. On his 2006 release ‘Big Foot’ you can hear him playing a range of other instruments including electric bass.
‘A huge talent, Jonathan is a true original who explores creative musical
opportunities, when or wherever they might arise. I consider him to be
one of the very finest creative musical talents to have ever come from Aotearoa.’
Mike Nock, ONZM., Mmus.
"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
"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, jazzlocal32.com