Originally from Colorado, trumpeter/cornetist Kirk Knuffke has been based in New York City since 2005. Kirk has studied improvisation with great jazz artists Ornette Coleman, Art Lande and Ron Miles. He currently leads his own groups, including the Kirk Knuffke Quartet and trio, with 3 recordings now available as a leader for the Cleanfeed and No Business labels. He and pianist Jesse Stacken have also recorded 2 CDs for Denmark’s renowned Steeplechase label.
Knuffke stays very busy as a member of the celebrated Matt Wilson Quartet, touring the US, performing and teaching. Recent trips with Mr. Wilson brought Kirk to play at Jazz at the Lincoln Centers Rose Hall with guest saxophonist Marshall Allen, and the 2010 New Port Jazz festival. Kirk is also a long time veteran of Butch Morris' groups, the Andrew D’angelo Big Band, Josh Roseman’s Extended Constellations, The Jeff Davis Band, Ideal Bread, Lilse Ellis, and Kenny Wollesen's Wollesonic,
Kirk has also played and or recorded in groups featuring, among others, Graham Haynes, Mark Helias, Jim Black, Tim Berne, Eddie Henderson, Daniel Carter, John Zorn, Tony Malaby, Dave Douglas, Briggan Krauss, Bill McHenry, Trevor Dunn, Mark Helias, Angelica Sanchez, Joe Bonner, Chris Lightcap, Ted Nash, and Steven Bernstein, and the Mary Halvorson quintet
“Big Wig” was Knuffke's debut recording as a leader, released in May of 2008 on Clean Feed Records it was greeted with strong international reviews including the New York Times. His 2nd Clean Feed CD entitled “Amnesia Brown” featured a new trio with Kenny Wollesen and Doug Wieselman. After it’s release in February 2010 it received 4 stars in Downbeat Magazine, in that review Peter Margasak stated “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.”
In 2009 Kirk received a Jerome Foundation Composers grant though Roulette in New York City; the commissioned works of which were performed by a new trio with Kenny Wollesen and Lisle Ellis. The recording of that concert entitled “Chew you food” is now available on No Busisness records. Knuffke has also made appearances in venues outside the traditional New York jazz scene, including work with pop artist Josh Ritter on Sony Records. Internationally, he has played with ensembles at jazz festivals in Saalfeldan Austria, Willisau Switzerland, The North Sea Jazz festival in Holland as well as festival dates in Italy and France.