||Signed Copy of Wayne Krantz's CD, Krantz Carlock Lefebvre
Every time he puts a guitar in his hands – on stage, in the studio, in informal musical situations and daily practice sessions – Wayne Krantz walks a on a musical high wire. Few musicians are capable of handling, or willing to face, the degree of risk Krantz throws himself into so intently. His dangerous, boldly creative music is almost entirely of the moment, and has won him an increasing amount of underground buzz as something of an anti-guitar hero.
Over the past two decades, Krantz has regularly mined a perilous, unguardedly pure strain of improvisation, set into the context of some of the heaviest, most individualized mind/body band grooves out there today. His music has reached an ever-expanding audience via his legendary (now concluded) residency at New York City’s 55 Bar, which spawned a series of live recordings sold directly by Krantz through his website. The clarity and integrity of his music is mirrored by his uncluttered business model and rigorous philosophical outlook. Now, with Krantz Carlock Lefebvre, his first album for Abstract Logix, he is returning to a recording studio to document his own music for the first time in over fifteen years.
Krantz Carlock Lefebvre features Krantz as one-third of a longstanding trio that also includes drummer Keith Carlock and bassist Tim Lefebvre, which was first convened in 1997. “Giving this band a voice in the context of a studio is a big deal for us,” Krantz says. “Everything we’ve ever released together has been some kind of live album. Now we have the clarity and concision of the studio along for the ride.” The result is Krantz’s most personal statement yet, more strongly rooted in composition while still rich with the improvisational nuances that make his live performances so riveting. “In the studio,” he says, “the audience dynamic from a concert setting is replaced with something else – a sort of hyper-concentration. Instead of pulling inspiration from the atmosphere of a show, you get it solely the other players and the acoustic space and the machines around you.”
“Some things that work great live don’t really work in the studio,” Krantz adds. “It’s more focused there, whereas the stage is a more subjective and visceral place. It’s hard to think of any disadvantages with the studio...it seems a place where anything imaginable could be realized. Eventually.” Given the heightened fidelity and detail of the studio environment, the line that divides composition and improvisation becomes even more seamless. “Sometimes I think of it as ‘injecting’ – with a syringe – composition into fields of improvisation,” Krantz explains, “and vice versa. Finding improv spaces between the phrases in composition to air it out, and islands of composed stuff within improvisation to re-launch from. It’s a balancing act, figuring out how much of the yin and yang is right and where it will go. We played a few of the songs live one night before the recording, but it didn’t solve much. It still felt pretty surprising in the studio.”
Cut live in the studio, and then augmented by two days of overdubbing, Krantz Carlock Lefebvre offered Krantz a rare opportunity to further develop his compositions. “I was able to add a few vocals, some acoustic guitar parts, and a few solo fills. It’s been a while since that dimension of overdubbing on top of live performances has been open to me – I would like to do it a lot more.” The overdubs – such as Krantz’s laconic vocal on “I Was Like” or the acoustic guitar on “Rushdie” – introduce elements of grace and wit that were always a part of Krantz’s music, but harder to convey in the headlong rush of live performances.