Friday, October 27, 2017

Wayne Krantz - 1990 "Signals"

Signals is the first solo album by Wayne Krantz released in 1990.

Guitarist Wayne Krantz's hardness and intensity serve him well on Signals -- a respectable fusion date uniting him with drummer Dennis Chambers, keyboardist Jim Beard and bassist Hiram Bullock, among others. When Krantz lets loose and digs into such complex yet accessible jazz-rock as "Faith in the Process," "Don't Tell Me" and "Alliance," the listener can focus on the depth of his playing. Guitarist Leni Stern joins Krantz on the reflective "As Is."

This album is a breath of fresh air for a jazz enthusiast like myself. For me it's a new album even if it's been recorded in 1990. Anyway Wayne's guitar playing sounds really fresh and new even fifteen years after the recording of this album. His music is a sort of electric jazz very melodical but at the same time complex especially rithmically. The album is composed of combo tunes and of tunes where Wayne plays by himself. I can say that his approach to guitar playing is very deep harmonically, but he excels really in the rhytmic stuff. Not talking about comping stuff, I'm saying that he is great rhytmically in both phrasing and comping and evething in between the two ways of playing. Something you can't say of a lot of guitar players which usually are not so forward in terms of subdivisions. Even when Wayne plays by himself he is fantastic rhythmically ,,, you really have to hear him for yourself. And even when he plays with the band he gives and take a lot of rhytmic inputs. His style is very rich and dense. The album is very entertaining and melodical. A must have for the jazz (and jazz guitar) enthusiast. He plays his own music caught between his friend Mike Stern'stuff (less hendrixesque) and Pat Metheny (but without Pat's chromatic idiosyncrasies). He is a really new voice in Jazz guitar, probably the best I have heard recently. Catch him if you can.

This is without a doubt one of the best guitar albums ever. Krantz is a complete package with a unique and totally integrated harmonic and melodic signature on the guitar. He has a blazing, complex technique, but it always serves the music. And his tone...incredible. Considering that this was recorded in the mid-Eighties, it has absolutely NO smooth jazz influence or schmaltz and, in fact, was recorded to be the antithesis of that genre, while still merging the rock and jazz idioms in an approachable, commercial way. A complete artistic success, but unfortunately not a commercial one. If you have even the slightest interest in the electric guitar, this album is essential.

Just a few notes and one can readily recognize the fantastic and unique style of Wayne Krantz. There are so many favorites I have on this album -- I don't ever tire of listening to it. Highly recommended.

This is an exciting original work by a very creative artist and performer. The flow of the music is hypnotic and full of energy. The sound expresses both breadth and depth of character and range. It is a "must" for jazz enthusiasts. Mr. Krantz's work is technically precise and musically unmatched.

Track listing:

All songs written by Wayne Krantz, except where noted

01 "Alliance" – 3:37
02 "Faith In Process" – 3:52
03 "One of Two" – 4:16
04 "Don't Tell Me" – 5:29
05 "As Is" – 3:30 (Leni Stern)
06 "Signals" – 5:35
07 "Sossity, You're a Woman" – 3:32 (Ian Anderson)
08 "Music Room" – 4:50
09 "Two of Two" – 3:17
10 "For Susan" – 3:40

Personnel:

Wayne Krantz - Electric Guitar
Dennis Chambers - Drums
Don Alias - Percussion
Anthony Jackson - Bass, Contrabass guitar
Leni Stern - Guitar
Jim Beard - Keyboards

2 comments:

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