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Wayne Krantz: Art and Wizardry Collide

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In this exclusive video podcast, Jazz Guitar Today’s Bob Bakert speaks with guitarist Wayne Krantz. In the interview, Wayne provides some very honest and insightful responses.

Photos by Tracey Yarad


Wayne Krantz does not like to define his music. How can you blame him, who could? He plays a Suhr Strat into a Marshall with pedals and his hand often on the whammy bar. He plays loud, with no apologies or governor but with full on rock tone. His current band mates Keith Carlock and Tim Lefebvre would be right at home jamming with Jimi as would Wayne. To get Wayne you can just sit back and feel the deep groove or dig into what the hell is really going on. If pressed he will define his music is jazz because it’s improvisational. He does however eschew the traditional language and feels/rhythms not from a lack of knowledge or fluency (he has studied and taught extensively in the some of the most prestigious schools) but rather to find, explore and develop his own musical voice. He addresses this by defining his approach to his music as a “truth of the moment” not from a “vocabulary”. The result is his playing is very deep but also very accessible. It takes a “wizard” to pull off that trick!


JGT: What was your most profound musical experience?  i.e. person you played with, shows you played, musical epiphany, advice, etc.

WK: Man – I’m an improvisor. The upside of that relatively unpopular, under-appreciated, underpaid and misunderstood professional designation is that I get to have profound musical experiences on almost a daily basis. Instead of playing those same guitar parts/solos every night for the masses with this or that international pop star, I get to surf the endless creative wave of spontaneous creation with more modest but willing audiences in the States, Europe and Asia (still hoping for Africa). There have literally been countless moments, sets, nights of epiphany and validation, with all kinds of people. Impossible to isolate one as better than the rest.


JGT: Musically, if you had the budget, players, venue, studio etc… what would be the project you would like to undertake?

WK: I’d like to work in the studio at length with a producer who knows what he/she is doing, with a variety of sidepeople and orchestration, have it be released on a label grand enough to enable a lot of people to hear it, and then take it on the road with whatever band and production would be required to make it live and breathe as an unforgettable show. At this point I seriously doubt whether that will ever happen. That’s a sadness I must deal with, and I attempt to replicate my fantasy in whatever pared-down way that I can every time I tour. 


Visit Wayne Krantz’s Bandcamp for latest albums and projects


JGT: Was there a moment when you realized you had a unique musical voice?

WK: I always knew I had it, but it took a while to like it and respect it enough to feel good about sharing it. Initially, it was just weird and strange and wasn’t acceptable because it didn’t sound like the stuff I was listening to and liking. That changed with the creation of my “Music Room” project in 1985.


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