I create in the vast territory between improvisation and composition. As a guitarist and director, I seek new acoustic sounds, explore repetition as humanism, and borrow ideas from unexpected, mundane sources. I tour internationally with chamber-jazz trio Sound Underground, and direct ECHOensemble, a nine-member collaborative of musicians and dancers creating spontaneous evolving architecture of movement and sound. We premiere our first evening-length work in January, 2019.
I grew up in Berkeley, California, steeped in folk musics from around the world. I found the guitar at age 9, before curiosity about improvisation and the roots of American music led me to study jazz. I moved to Miami to study at the Frost School of Music, where I lived until relocating to Brooklyn in 2017.
With Sound Underground, I have performed at The Kennedy Center, major international jazz festivals in Bulgaria, Serbia and Mexico, and on all sides of the U.S. My collaborations with movement artists have included commissions for a Merce Cunningham MinEvent, “The Roof” video series, and Triskelion Arts' Never Before, Never Again festival. I organize public participatory Deep Listening events with Make Music New York, and am studying towards a DL Certification.
I am also an educator, currently teaching mindfulness and yoga in NYC public schools with Little Flower Yoga, and developing an integrated music curriculum for students with special needs in District 75 with Symphony Space.
“Jonah has a rare fire-in-the-belly passion for music that is apparent every time he plays… [he] is wise beyond his years."
“A versatile guitarist… [and] a captivating soloist capable of grabbing a listener’s attention and holding it indefinitely."
photo by Gaya Feldheim-Schorr