Kirk Knuffke

cornet player & band leader

Kirk Knuffke - trumpet/cornet - biography



Cornetist and Composer Kirk Knuffke is the winner of Downbeat Magazine's "Rising Star"critics poll for 2015.  A recipient of the Jerome Foundation composers grant, Kirk has released 15 recordings as a leader or co-leader. One of modern jazz’s most skilled navigators of the divide between inside and outside, freedom and swing, he has "full command of his most demanding instrument” – All About Jazz.  

Matt Wilson, Allison Miller, Butch Morris, Uri Caine, Michael Formanek and many more have hired him as a sideman for over 60 recordings, so he has been called "One of New York City's busiest musicians" - New York Times.

Knuffke has been based in NYC since 2005.  Shortly after his arrival Knuffke began playing with Butch Morris, this friendship resulted in 4 recordings and several European tours.  Kirk joined the celebrated Matt Wilson Quartet in 2009, recording "Gathering Call" (Palmetto) featuring John Medeski and touring each year. He also plays in "Sifter" with Mary Halvorson and Wilson, Ideal Bread, Allison Miller's "Boom Tic Boom", Todd Sickafoose's "Tiny Resistors" and groups led by Ray Anderson, Mark Helias, Bill Goodwin, Karl Berger and Ted Brown to name a few. "Arm and Hands" is his most recent release garnering praise from every major Jazz publication as 4 Stars in Downbeat magazine review and Sunday New York Times.

"Kirk Knuffke harbors a dual commitment to formal experimentation and bedrock tradition: There’s no either-or. It’s not often that you encounter the harmony of forces found in “Arms & Hands” (Royal Potato Family), Mr. Knuffke’s excellent new album” – New York Times

Knuffke has worked with a host of incredible musicians including Roswell Rudd, William Parker, Myra Melford, Steve Swell, Marshall Allen, Tootie Heath, and Billy Hart.

Expect Knuffke "perfectly balancing sly groove and meditative exploration.” - Time Out New York