This article features 5 Jonathan Kreisberg licks arranged for jazz guitar.

One of my most requested lesson topics is modern jazz guitar so these Jonathan Kreisberg licks should help you get some modern flavour into your jazz guitar improvisation.

Each of these Jonathan Kreisberg licks demonstrates some of his signature sounds such as wide arpeggios, long low to high range lines, and creative chordal work.

Some of the lines are in 3 or 5, but they can easily be rhythmically amended to fit in 4.

Please note that the audio accompaniment for each lick is played with minimal interpretation.

The tempos for each lick are also slower than the recordings to make them easier to learn.

Jonathan Kreisberg plays with outstanding time and conviction and I strongly recommend listening to him to get the right feel for each of these licks.


jonathan kreisberg licks



Jonathan Kreisberg Licks Example 1


Modern jazz guitar players tend to focus on using triad based ideas. A tritone triadic idea is used here to bring a fresh sound to the classic tritone substitution technique in this minor ii V I lick.

F, is the flat 5 of B, and this lick demonstrates an F triad being used over a B7 to get a tritone substitution before resolving to B, the 5th, of E-7.

Check out this video lesson if you want to learn another triad based tritone sub lick.


Jonathan Kreisberg Licks 1Audio


Jonathan Kreisberg Licks Example 2


This next Jonathan Kreisberg licks example demonstrates the guitarists ability to play harmonically rich and saxophone-like lines that cover the range of the guitar.

The lick starts with a dominant tritone substitution on F#-7. A flat 5 above F#-7 is C, and the first half of the lick starts with a C7 arpeggio which is followed by a C Lydian Dominant arpeggio.

Over the B7 the same Lydian Dominant arpeggio is used. This Lydian Dominant 7th arpeggio comes from the Whole-Tone Scale.

I should mention that he plays these harmonically dense licks fast so the ‘out’ notes aren’t as bad as they look on the dots.


Jonathan Kreisberg Licks 2Audio



Jonathan Kreisberg Licks Example 3


Wide arpeggio leaps are often found in Jonathan Kreisberg licks and this next lick features an Andy Summers style 5ths pattern in 3 which reminds me of Jim Hall’s intro on “The Way You Look Tonight”.

This lick can be fingered in a way which makes it technically easier to play, but it doesn’t have the same sound.

Kreisberg often uses these ideas in different time signatures at fast tempos.

It is worth noting that you will need to add a few more notes for this lick to work in a 4/4 time signature.


Jonathan Kreisberg Licks 3Audio



Jonathan Kreisberg Licks Example 4


Jonathan Kreisberg has an advanced chordal approach so I couldn’t resist including two chordal ideas.

Here is a chordal introduction lick that demonstrates Kreisberg’s pianist approach to jazz guitar intros.

This intro lick can be heard on this inspiring trio arrangement of “Autumn in New York.”

This introduction is an interesting way to decorate a V-I because it uses a V chord pedal note and inverted quartal chords.


Jonathan Kreisberg Licks 4Audio



Jonathan Kreisberg Licks Example 5


To finish off this article here is another chord like that again uses inverted 4 note quartal chords.

The minor 7th voicings contain the guide tone notes for the chord, but the V chords are a bit more harmonically adventurous.

Although the V chords do not contain guide tone notes they work well here because they are constantly resolving to a I chord.

Jonthan Kreisberg Licks Example 5 was taken from a very fast solo which also helps the dissonant domiant chords work.

The last chord is a phygian chord. If this chord is a bit too out for your tastes you can move the entire shape back and get a more convential F chord.


Jonathan Kreisberg Licks 5 Audio


I hope that you have enjoyed playing and working through these Jonathan Kreisberg licks. If you enjoyed playing through each of these licks I would strongly recommend having a go at learning some of these yourself.

While some of them took me a while to work out, they contain some innovative ideas that I hadn’t heard in jazz guitarists before.

Who are some of your favorite modern jazz guitarists?


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