Wayne Krantz, “U Can’t Touch This” from Good Piranha, Bad Piranha (2014): One Track Mind

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For a few decades now, Wayne Krantz has been one of those ‘guitarist’s guitarist’ types, the guy called on when only the best will do. His angular vocabulary and stinging tone have gone alongside recordings of jazz luminaries like Michael Brecker, Carla Bley, David Binney and Billy Cobham. He’s also toured with Steely Dan in the 90s and appeared quite admirably on Donald Fagen’s Morph The Cat.

He’s also made some darn good records on his own, and last month came forth the latest, a trio project called Good Piranha, Bad Piranha. Here, he took four songs from the pop and hip hop realm, interpreted them, and interpreted the same songs again a different way. Helping him out were Tim Lefebvre on bass, fellow Dan alum Keith Carlock on drums and utility sideman Nate Wood (of Kneebody) substituting for Lefebvre on the first versions of the songs and filling in for Carlock on the alternate versions. Gabriela Anders contributes some occasional vocal fills.

The best known of those covers on this album is MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This,” and since these songs are essentially instrumentals, what’s really being covered here is Rick James’ “Superfreak.” No matter; for this ‘first’ version streamed above Krantz constructed a whole, sophisticated fusion number around Rick James’ bass riff, inserting stinging asides around it, drifting astray from the main melodic idea to create his own alternate riff and then in an instant, slow it down to a comfortable groove. The Wood/Carlock rhythm section stays closely with him every step of the way, and Wood is also offering nifty counterpoints.

By the way, Krantz just announced some Wayne Krantz Trio 2015 tour dates for the U.S. and Asia, with Anthony Jackson on bass and Carlock on drums. Here are the days and the places:

USA TOUR: FEB 11-Feb 21
Wayne Krantz Trio w/Anthony Jackson (Bass), Keith Carlock (Drums) Itinerary
Feb 11 The City Winery Nashville, TN
Feb 12 Smiths Olde Bar Atlanta, GA
Feb 13 Smokey Joes Cafe Charlotte, NC
Feb 15 Miraverse-Manifold Pittsboro, NC
Feb 18 Sellersville Theater Sellersville, PA
Feb 19 The Iridium Jazz Club New York, NY
Feb 20 The Iridium Jazz Club New York, NY
Feb 21 Jammin Java Vienna, VA

ASIA TOUR: Feb 27-March 21
Wayne Krantz Trio w/James Genus (Bass), Cliff Almond (Drums) Itinerary
Mar 24 Jazz Alley Seattle, WA
Mar 25 Jazz Alley Seattle, WA
Mar 26 Yoshis Oakland, CA
Mar 28 Ramona Mainstage Ramona, CA
Mar 31 Catalinas Jazz Club Los Angeles, CA
Apr 01 Catalinas Jazz Club Los Angeles, CA
Apr 02 The City Winery Chicago, IL
Apr 03 Dakota Jazz Club Minneapolis, MN
Apr 04 The Jazz Kitchen Indianapolis, IN

Check out all dates and ticket information right here.

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