Knuffke, Kirk

(photo by Peter Gannushkin)

(photo by Peter Gannushkin)

Primary Scene: Brooklyn/New York

Originally from Colorado, cornetist Kirk Knuffke has been based in New York City since 2005. In a genre of music increasingly taught in higher education, Knuffke is distinguished by being a largely self-taught musician, though he has studied for short periods of time with improvising legends such as Ornette Coleman, Art Lande and Ron Miles. He leads several of his own groups, including the Kirk Knuffke Trio (with bassist Lisle Ellis and drummer Kenny Wollesen) and Quartet (with trombonist Brian Drye, bassist Reuben Radding, and drummer Jeff Davis. He also led a sextet with the late Butch Morris conducting that included Christof Knoche (bass clarinet), Tony Barba (clarinet), Eivind Opsvik and Reuben Radding (bass), and Michael Attias (alto sax). Additionally, Knuffke has fostered a number of collaborative enterprises in duo formats with pianist Jesse Stacken, drummer Mike Pride, and Drye. Knuffke has also been very active as a sideman in the Matt Wilson Quartet and in the bands of Andrew D’angelo, Josh Roseman, Jeff Davis, Ideal Bread, Mark Helias, Kenny Wollesen, and Bill Goodwin. In 2011, Knuffke joined Matt Wilson and Mary Halvorson in the collaborative trio, Sifter.

In 2009, Knuffke received a Jerome Foundation Composers grant through Roulette in New York City. The commissioned works of which were performed by a  trio with Kenny Wollesen and Lisle Ellis, the recording, entitled “Chew Your Food”, is now available on No Busisness Records. His trio record, “Amnesia Brown,” received four stars in Downbeat Magazine, where it was reviewed by Peter Margasak stating, “Over the last couple years, New York trumpeter Kirk Knuffke has quietly emerged as one of the most exciting and flexible hornmen on the scene.”

Knuffke has studied privately with Ornette Coleman, Art Lande and Ron Miles. He recently recorded a duo with John Medeski in 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.”

Cisco BradleyKnuffke, Kirk