Wayne Krantz (gtr), Nate Wood (bs) Keith Carlock (drs)
Known globally for his uncompromising musical vision, staggering virtuosity and deep reserves of soul, Wayne Krantz is one of very few modern guitarists to venture beyond the instrument's limitations and create an identifiably original style and sound. Good Piranha/Bad Piranha is his full-throttle double-take on four contemporary pop and hip-hop songs, from which he plunders the textural, rhythmic and harmonic intrigue that has come to define each of his unique projects.
Following 2012's critically acclaimed Howie 61—a record packed with cleverly arranged, hard-hitting original songs and a small army of masterful sidemen—Krantz has scaled back the setting and material for his tenth outing as a leader. Good Piranha/Bad Piranha finds his trio in the studio revisiting a selection of cover tunes they performed during legendary recent appearances at the 55 Bar in Greenwich Village.
Presenting two distinct versions each of Pendulum's "Comprachicos," M.C. Hammer's "U Can't Touch This," Ice Cube's "My Skin is My Sin" and Radiohead vocalist Thom Yorke's "Black Swan," Krantz extracts and serves up a surprising range of nuance by switching up musicians and applying his inimitable instrumental inventiveness. Each song's multiple takes allow the group(s) to reimagine the material from unexpected angles, making use of subtle rhythmic and melodic shifts to frame a dazzling display of the guitarist's revered melodic and chordal innovations; he intertwines his stark, elastic tones with the familiar tunes' snaky rhythmic skeletons and insistent basslines to create wholly new works.
Joining Krantz on Good Piranha/Bad Piranha are his longtime trio mates Keith Carlock (Steely Dan, Sting) on drums and Tim Lefebvre (Tedeschi Trucks Band) on bass. Recent cohort Nate Wood (Kneebody) reprises his chameleonic role in Krantz' touring band, appearing here on bass for the first versions of the four tunes and then on drums for the second. The material is delicately enhanced by occasional vocal interjections courtesy of Gabriela Anders.
Since the late '80s Wayne Krantz has been revered as one of the world's great guitarists, working alongside such rock legends as Steely Dan (both as a band member and later on solo projects by Donald Fagen), jazz saxophonists Michael Brecker, Chris Potter and David Binney, composer Carla Bley and drum icon Billy Cobham. In addition to his influential studio albums as a leader, Krantz has released several recordings of his celebrated live trio performances, which have become major concert draws worldwide for fans of powerfully adventurous improvised music.
New York: The boldly inventive improvisations of guitarist Wayne Krantz have long held a fascination for fans of dynamic, uncompromised music.
Ex-Sideman with Steely Dan, Donald Fagen, Michael Brecker , Chris Potter, Billy Cobham and many others, Krantz is about to embark on his first European tour in many years. With the launch of Krantz Carlock Lefebvre, his first album for Abstract Logix, Wayne has gathered critical acclaim from all over the world.
Moving to the East Coast from his hometown of Corvallis, Oregon, Krantz attended Boston's Berklee College of Music before heading to New York City. "With that move," he recalls, "I purged myself of everything and everyone that may have influenced me and started over. " Krantz arrived at a sound that was incisive and direct, refreshingly free of effects and affectations, more often than not just a Strat plugged directly into an amp. That purity of tone was matched with a formidable rhythmic intelligence and an unflinching willingness to take chances, and was a starting point for the significant sonic invention that has marked his music since then.
In 1996 he toured around the world with the revived Steely Dan, which he regards as an improvisational challenge that further sharpened his time-feel and sense of groove. "I loved it," he said of the experience, "but at the end of the day it's a sideman gig, and as great as it was, it still can't compare to what I have with my own band."
That thrill - the sound of three musicians both in synch and unafraid to challenge one another - is captured with gripping immediacy on Krantz Carlock Lefebvre, an album that handily defies categorization.
Following a very successful Asian tour that included stops in Japan, South Korea and India, and a series of spectacular performances in New York, Toronto and Montreal, Wayne Krantz brings his brand of uncompromising music to Europe on May 2 with stops at Ronnie Scotts in London, Berlin, Rotterdam, Vienna, Zurch and more.
John Fordham at The Guardian: "Joins the impact of a heavy rock power-trio to the harmonic sleight-of-hand and melodic slipperiness of a contemporary jazz band. Krantz is an unflinching adventurer who dislikes repeating himself or imitating others."
Cormac Larkin at Ireland's Tribune: "Wayne Krantz is about as hip as guitar playing gets. Though he's usually lumped in with other jazz guitarists, he is one of the most unique voices in music, straddling jazz, rock, funk and various more abstract genres."
Ian Patterson at All About Jazz: "Krantz is in top form, conjuring up imaginative lines at will, and gliding between grungy, hard-driving riffs and string-caressing melodism."
Henry Kaiser at Guitar Player: "Wayne Krantz is a true innovator in nearly every aspect of guitar playing, yet his rather deep music is immediately fun and accessible."
Jazz Magazine/France: "One of the top 10 best releases of 2009 in any genre."