When I first moved back to New York from San Francisco at the turn of the Millennium, I would often go see Wayne Krantz at the 55 Bar. His trio with Keith Carlock and Tim Lefebvre was the emblematic of the city’s energy: daring, cool, creative, in your face. A recent show in Nashville revealed that the guitarist is pushing the sonic and rhythmic elements of improvisation further than ever before. Eventually, my interview for Guitar Player will come out, but until then here is the man himself talking about his music and music in general in a way that is rarely heard. Now excuse me, I have to go buy his book.
Three guitarists displaying their chops can be a recipe for a wank-fest. But Jimmy Herrington, Wayne Krantz, and Michael Landau, performing as The Ringers, are not only three of the most technically proficient players in the world, they are three of the most musical. As happy to not play as to play, they solo and accompany here, each inhabiting a distinct musical space. Add bassist Etienne Mbappe from the Zawinul Syndicate and drummer extraordinaire Keith Carlock (Sting, Steely Dan) and you have instead a recipe for a gourmet guitar feast. Perhaps not avant-garde, but definitely modern.