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Krantz Carlock Lefebvre at Highline Ballroom NYC

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Krantz Carlock Lefebvre
Highline Ballroom
New York, NY
April 24, 2010

In the music business, the term "crossover artist" usually refers to an artist who crosses over genres. For example, a rap artist whose album rockets to the top of the pop charts. However, since I couldn't readily identify what the heck was going on at the Krantz Carlock Lefebvre show at the Highline Ballroom, I'm going to refer to them as "crossover artists" as well. From jazz to blues to funk to avant-garde and everywhere in between, it was all covered...in the space of a single tune! I just gave up and simply enjoyed the music.

And make no mistake, this was KILLER music. It's almost better that I went in as a proverbial tabula rasa, without having heard much of guitarist Wayne Krantz's solo output and never having heard drummer Keith Carlock's or bassist Tim Lefebvre's work. I was blown away by just how different this music was, how such frenetic chaos on stage could coincide with such beautiful musical communication and connection. And through it all, Krantz especially was so relaxed, so subdued. These musical adventures almost seemed commonplace to him (and they are). Not to this convert, however. When small children somehow climbed onstage and started playing with Krantz's pedals, I half expected him to go with it and see what he could create.

Many of the tunes on this night were taken from the group's self-titled release (Abstract Logix, 2009). The group would play with the surprisingly catchy riffs for a while before launching into improvisation loosely based on those riffs. Then, suddenly, Carlock would completely shift gears, altering the pace, time signature, and feel of the tune. Krantz and Lefebvre would follow lockstep with Carlock, improvising all the while, until they would shift gears again. Some tunes had 3-4 of these gear shifts and were entrancing to witness. Just when the group seemed to be comfortable inside a groove, it would immediately be altered.

At times, the group interplay sounded much like a modern version of the Grateful Dead mid-"Other One." Lefebvre seemed to be dropping what Deadheads lovingly refer to as Phil-bombs, while Krantz's wah-wah pedal and Carlock's polyrhythmic drumming sounded much like Jerry Garcia and the Dead's drummers, respectively.

Krantz Carlock Lefebvre is a true collective. While Krantz took the lion's share of the solo space, Carlock's drumming truly propelled the band forward. And even while Krantz was soloing, at times it was Lefebvre who seemed to be in the lead, coming up with inventive ostinato lines that served to remind Krantz that there was a base for him to leap off of. And Lefebvre's bass served as a second guitar at times, soloing over Krantz's rhythm playing.

This was consistently inventive, adventurous music. There was never a dull moment during the 2-hour set, and there were several "that's music, man" moments where everything came together and this concert became a musical odyssey. While Krantz Carlock Lefebvre will be on hiatus for a while, when they do inevitably play together again, I will search them out. That's for sure.

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