Jonah Udall

Guitarist · Composer · Director


About me


I am a composer and guitarist living in Brooklyn, New York. I tour internationally with the chamber-jazz trio Sound Underground, in addition to leading diverse projects of my own. My variable ensemble SHIFT performs spontaneous process music, New Eyes Quartet adapts artistic techniques from painting, and duo project Madame Z creates gypsy-folk-cabaret madness in many forms. As an acoustic and electric guitarist, I perform and collaborate with songwriters, modern and contemporary dancers, classical composers, and jazz ensembles from Dixieland to free improvisation.

With my music I seek wonder in the ordinary, turning it inside out and looking closely. I explore the acoustic possibilities of the guitar, employ unconventional chamber instrumentations, and borrow ideas and material from daily life. My music has roots in American folk and jazz, and takes influence from sounds of all kinds.


I grew up with the sounds of Bulgarian horo, Brazilian birimbau and Appalacian folk in the world music communities around Berkeley, California. I found the guitar at age 9, before curiosity about improvisation and the roots of American music led me to fall in love with jazz. I moved to Miami to complete a B.M. at the Frost School of Music, where I lived until relocating to New York City in 2017. I am an alumnus of Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead and the Banff Centre.

I am also a passionate educator, with years of experience teaching privately and in groups. I have worked with students of all ages and skill levels, in styles as diverse as the musics I perform. I strive to unlock students’ natural intuition and ability to learn.

“Jonah has a rare fire-in-the-belly passion for music that is apparent every time he plays… [he] is wise beyond his years."

-Mimi Fox

“A versatile guitarist… Udall navigates many roles with aplomb… [he is] a captivating soloist capable of grabbing a listener’s attention and holding it indefinitely."

photo courtesy of