Electric guitarist Wayne Krantz was born and raised in a small town in the US Pacific Northwest, Corvallis, Oregon. This is unlikely to be the first place which comes to mind when you think “birthplace of jazz”, but, well, everybody has to start somewhere! Wayne remembers being interested in music from a young age. He decided to take up the guitar seriously after he heard the funky, rock-soul songs of the San Francisco Bay-area group The Sons Of Champlin (think early Chicago, or Tower Of Power), and their guitarist Terry Haggerty. Being on the geographical fringes probably allowed him the freedom to explore a wide range of music as he was shedding on his own and first building his technique.
When he arrived at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, Wayne found himself much closer to the center of the music universe. “It was a big shock. I went from being one of the best guitar players in the area to being one of the worst, all in about 6 ½ hours. I’m not sure I ever really got over that!” He threw himself into his studies, and clearly made up for the missing early experience, learning from master jazz teachers such as Charlie Banacos and getting heavily into post-bop guitar and all that entails. Sax legend George Garzone (who just recently impressed the crowds with his trio at the 2015 Thailand International Jazz Conference) has said “Wayne Krantz is the only guitar player who can hang with me on the chromatic shit”!
After graduating from Berklee, Wayne decamped to New York to continue his growth as a musician. In fact, he was ready to make his next big artistic step: “I had begun to notice that all my favorite musicians had their own thing. So, when I moved, I purged myself of everything and everyone that may have influenced me, and STARTED OVER.” From these ashes a guitar phoenix emerged.
“Guitarist Wayne Krantz is one of the great non-conformists. An improviser who avoids stylistic limitations and cliché like the plague, his music draws from diverse elements and welds them sonically to create something quite personal.” – Ian Patterson, All About Jazz
“He’s long been a musician’s musician and a guitarist’s guitarist – there’s a reason Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen recruited him for his last solo disc, and saxophonist Chris Potter called him up for Underground. Krantz’s instantly recognizable, head-cocking idiosyncracies, combined with his distinctive harmonic language and effortless ability to groove continues to be a lightning rod.” – John Kelman, All About Jazz
In the early 90’s Wayne started attracting a certain notoriety. He released his first recordings as a band leader, and launched what has been described as the “legendary” Thursday night residency at the 55 Bar in Greenwich Village. For 12 years his group drew in fans from around the world, all desperate to see the sparks fly. Wayne says “To me jazz isn’t a language, a vocabulary, a sound, a groove, or even a history. It’s an approach to playing, a commitment to creating spontaneously. We happen to do it in the context of a deadly groove, but in terms of improvisation, that’s no different than doing it in the context of swing. Sure, not every note we play ends up being new or without precedent, but our orientation is always on EXPLODING THE MOMENT – blowing it up – right in people’s faces, cutting to the quick of creative action and getting to the freshest stuff. I always felt that’s what jazz was supposed to do.”
His recordings with the trio and with larger groups, and those made from his rare work as a sideman, have garnered some great reviews through the years. And he’s still pushing the envelope today, with the release of 2014’s Good Piranha Bad Piranha.
“Krantz explores new territories and takes chances when he’s playing. He is one of the few fusion-style players to emerge during the 90’s who can improvise for long periods of time and make it interesting for the duration.” – Robert Taylor, All Music Guide, about Long To Be Loose (1993)
“Krantz’s guitar playing is raw and heavily rock-influenced, yet his touch is extraordinarily precise and his compositions are derivative of no one. Essential listening for fans of gritty, non-commercial fusion music.” – David Adler, All Music Guide, about 2 Drink Minimum (1995)
“Krantz’s chord fills and short runs during Chris Potter’s solo (on the title track) are choice and keep him tight to the blues. On his own break, however, he plays all around the theme and never through it. He fires his lines tight and hot into the middle and lets Craig Taborn fill the holes while never missing rhythmically… Underground is a fine Potter outing and studio documentation of a fine band that has actually kept the jazz in fusion, and vice versa.” – Thom Jurek, All Music Guide, about Chris Potter’s Underground (2006)
“It is a stirring, powerful statement full of groove, grinding rock, melodism and imagination, and it’s a fitting testament to one of the great electric trios of our times.” – Ian Patterson, All About Jazz, about Krantz Carlock Lefebvre (2009)
“Krantz’s trio display a relish for ferociously loose covers of leftfield pop. It’s all uncompromisingly raw, and maybe something of a guitar buff’s set, but it never stops rocking.” – John Fordham, The Guardian, about Good Piranha Bad Piranha (2014)
On this Asian tour, Wayne will be joined by the remarkable Anthony Jackson on bass (who was last seen in Bangkok with Mike Stern Band in 2013), and Cliff Almond on drums. Please come to M Theatre, on Monday, March 9, 2015. Doors open at 7pm and the show will start at 8pm. All of this is brought to you by the fine folks at Prart Music Group! For more information visit their website or Facebook page, or call them on +66-2-2030423. And for tickets, stop by one of the many branches of ThaiTicketMajor or visit their website. See you there!