Album Remarks & Appraisals:
All About Jazz - John Kelman
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, Morph the Cat (Reprise, 2006), and saxophonists David Binney and Chris Potter called him up for Graylen Epicenter (Mythology, 2011) and Underground (Sunnyside, 2006), respectively. Krantz's instantly recognizable, head-cocking idiosyncracies, combined with his distinctive harmonic language and effortless ability to groove, even at his most oblique, continues to be a lightning rod, with drummer/keyboardist Gary Husband also recruiting him for a track on this year's Dirty & Beautiful Volume 2 (Abstract Logix).
So why hasn't Krantz achieved greater popular acclaim, to go along with the critical acclaim and affirmation in the musical community?
As exhilarating and downright visceral as he can be, Krantz's own skewed sensibilities may have been working against him. A run of recordings for Enja, starting with 1990's Signals and ending with 1998's Long to Be Loose were undeniably fine, but with much of his writing extending past the six and seven-minute range, perhaps it was just too quirky and presented in too indigestible chunks, for a broader audience. Since coming to Abstract Logix with 2009's stunning Krantz Carlock Lefebvre, which documented his working trio, Krantz has made two significant changes - changes that bear even greater fruit on the ultimately more impressive Howie 61. ... read more...