“One of modern jazz’s most skilled navigators of the divide between inside and outside, freedom and swing," Cornetist and Composer Kirk Knuffke has “full command of his most demanding instrument” (All About Jazz).
Accolades for Knuffke include NPR’s Best Jazz Album of the Year for 2017’s Cherryco (SteepleChase), winner of DownBeat Magazine’s “Rising Star” critics poll in 2015, and recipient of the Jerome Foundation Composers grant. In 2016, he placed 2nd in the European El Intruso Critics poll for trumpet.
Knuffke has released 18 recordings as leader or co-leader and is featured as a sideman on over 50 recordings with leaders Matt Wilson, Allison Miller, Butch Morris, Uri Caine, Pierre Dorge and Michael Formanek to name a few. It’s no wonder the New York Times tagged Knuffke as “one of New York City’s Busiest Musicians.”
Originally from Colorado, self-taught Knuffke began playing with Butch Morris after landing in NYC in 2005. This friendship resulted in 4 recordings and several European tours. Knuffke then joined the celebrated Matt Wilson Quartet in 2009, recording Gathering Call (Palmetto) featuring John Medeski. He also currently performs with Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom, Sifter with Mary Halvorson and Wilson,
and groups led by Charlie Hunter, Ben Allison, Ray Anderson, Mark Helias, Bill Goodwin, Karl Berger, Michael Bisio and Ted Brown.
Knuffke’s way of “perfectly balancing sly groove and meditative exploration" (Time Out New York) has been highlighted during collaborations with a host of incredible musicians including Roswell Rudd, William Parker, Myra Melford, Steve Swell, Marshall Allen, Tootie Health and Billie Hart. Knuffke has studied privately with Ornette Coleman, Art Lande and Ron Miles. He recently recorded a duo with John Medeski slated for 2018.
His 2015 release Arms and Hands (Royal Potato Family) garnered praise from every major jazz publication, 4 Stars in DownBeat Magazine and a write-up in TheSunday New York Times. Feature articles in DownBeat and JazzTimes have spotlighted Knuffke’s unique talent.
2017’s Cherryco captured Knuffke’s “nonchalant versatility and ebullient melodic gifts,” (DownBeat) and was deemed as “nothing short of spectacular” by Village Voice critic Francis Davis.
Knuffke recently contributed to April 2018 DownBeat’s Brass School Series, penning an article entitled “Time and Tone.”