Wayne Krantz/ Keith Carlock / Tim Lefebvre: Krantz Carlock Lefebvre (2009)
Although notable for being guitarist Wayne Krantz's first studio recording in fifteen years this is, as the title plainly suggests, very much a trio outing. Previously, Krantz, bassist Tim Lefebvre and drummer Keith Carlock have released live recordings through Krantz's website which whilst lacking to a degree in audio quality, nevertheless capture the power and excitement of one of the great electric trios.
The challenges and freedoms engendered by recording with a serious outfit like Abstract Logix, for whom the music comes first, has helped fully reveal a music full of subtleties and imagination. Add to that the raw energy and bags of improvisational swagger that these three possess and what's left is a wonderful document of a trio whose life began in 1997.
As with two of the greatest electric trios, Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experiencewhose studio recordings highlighted songwriting depths and musical nuances rarely displayed in a live settingKrantz Carlock Lefebvre boasts a range of styles and textures; deep funk grooves sit alongside whimsical pop passages, even within the same song, as on the catchy "It's no fun no to like pop."
Krantz is in top form, conjuring up imaginative lines at will, and gliding between grungy, hard-driving riffs and string-caressing melodism. His solos are short, well placed and searing. As such, Krantz bears comparison to Jeff Beck, to whom he plays tribute in the eponymously titled track. Krantz also sings on a few tracks, most notably on the lovely "Wine is the Thread."
Carlock and Lefebvre are no mere pillion passengers, and their respective playing is just as arresting as that of Krantz's. The best moments are those when the trio is in full flight, as on "Jeff Beck," the indie-rock flavored "I was like" or the short but driving "Holy Joe," which slings mud in the eye of religious evangelism.
It's easy to see why Carlock was Modern Drummer's 2009 Readers' Poll Winner; in addition to his phenomenal propulsion, his playing is rhythmically fascinating. He produces Indian-sounding beats from his kit on "It's no fun not to like pop" and drum 'n' bass grooves on the industrial "Left it on the Playground," a roaring steam train of a song. Lefebvre is the perfect rhythm partner, his rich sound and keen sense of melody and harmony underpinning and carrying everything.
Krantz's gig recordings are posted on his website for a month or two before being removed, in keeping with his philosophy that the music is of the moment. He has little interest in looking back; once it's gone it's gone. This recording is a little different. The improvisational highs are matched by songwriting of some strength, and the polish that a fine production team brings to the music has resulted in a powerful recording which will surely stand the test of time.
Track Listing: It's no fun not to like pop; War-torn Johnny; Rushdie; Wine is the thread; The Earth from above; Left it on the playground; Jeff Beck; I was like; Mosley; Holy Joe; Rugged Individual.
Personnel: Wayne Krantz: guitars; Keith Carlock: drums; Tim Lefebvre: drums.