Jonathan studied classical piano and learned jazz by ear. After leaving school he worked in the film industry as a composer, being awarded the GOFTA (Guild of Film and Television Awards) for his original film music.
During the 1990s he lived and worked in New York playing and recording with Mambo Macoco, Groove Collective, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Bill Ware, Jay Rodriguez, Eddie Bobé and the Dave Binney group as well as performing his own music. His return to New Zealand in 2000 enabled him to tour and record with Trinity Roots, Cornerstone Roots and Brazilian singer Alda Rezende. Jonathan currently lives in Cadaques, Spain.
- Big Foot with Riki Gooch (Translations 2007)
- Madrugada (do Brazil música 2004)
- Jonathan Crayford plays Terry Crayford (Intone 2000)
- Where Light Meets Water (Intone, 2001)
- Jazz at the St. James and Where Light Meets Water (both Intone, 2001)
- Eddie Bobé/Eddie Bobé (Pirañha, 1999)
- Bill Ware's Y2K Jazz Quartet/Keeping up with the Jones' (Cathexis, 1999)
- Nicholas McBride with Mali drum master Madou Dembele (Tap, 1999)
- Groove Collective/Dance of the Drunken Master (Shanachie, 1998)
- Soul Bossa Trio (1998)
- Malcolm McNeil/Songdance & Shadowing You (EMI: 1986 and 1988)
- Pallet on the Floor
- Ruby and Rata - Orchestral
- Dangerous Orphans - Orchestral
- Mr Wrong – Orchestral (released in the U.S. as Dark of the Night)
- Young, R. G. (2000-04-01). The encyclopedia of fantastic film: Ali Baba to Zombies. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 134. ISBN 978-1-55783-269-6. Retrieved 9 April 2011.