Wayne Krantz: Inspired Transition
AAJ: Another very atmospheric track is "beLls," with just you, ring modulator and drummer Anton Fig. When did you first become aware of the ring modulator and how much do you use it in live gigs these days?
WK: They've existed for many years. People were using them in the '70s. [Keyboardist] Jan Hammer was using them on some of the stuff he did but I never really put it together with guitar, but when I did it had power because it had a very organic sound. It doesn't sound digital to me. It sounds like a funky old wah pedal or something but it takes the guitar to a non-guitar place that I need to go to because it was just a trio and I wanted as much variety sonically as I could get without carting around big refrigerator racks filled with gear.
It also really lent itself to the rhythmic aspect of my playing, so it turned into a kind of a percussion instrument almost. But with that, it also has tonality in it but not in any kind of regular, predictable way. It has this very spontaneous thing of generating tonality that you have to find while you're playing it at that time because certain kinds of notes will have certain tonalities that they won't have tomorrow when you try to do the same thing, so it lends itself towards spontaneous creation and I like that a lot.
I really got into it for a while, but I'm not quite that taken by it anymore. I still use it, and it adds variety to a trio. It's been a good pedal for me.
AAJ: How has your relationship with your guitar changed over the years?
WK: I'm actually going through a pretty inspiring transition right now, as it so happens. It's a huge question and it's probably one that can't be answered accurately or comprehensively with a brief answer. But I will say that the progression has been just a deeper connection to the music itself through the instrument as the years have gone by. I'm more able to connect to the music in a profound way. In a sense the guitar has become more transparent. For a while it was using me, but now I'm using it more and it feels great.
It's one of the gifts you get for devoting yourself to an instrument for a lifetime. Along with the sacrifices that are involvedwhich are numerousthe gift is that you get to go on this journey, which is really a personal journey. It really has nothing to do with the guitar. The guitar is really a facilitator. It creates the arena for this transformation to take place and it's really very, very satisfying. I can honestly say that I've never enjoyed playing the guitar as much as I do today. It's a great thing to have a continually opening flower. It's something that is organically opening up all the time and that's a great thing.
AAJ: What's the nature of the transition you're going through now?
WK: That has to do with a certain melodic voice. You know, I focused on my rhythmic voice for a long time and within the last year or so I became aware of a melodic voice that I wasn't really accessing on my guitar. I started trying to access it and I've been able to do that to some degree. It's just another connection to myself that I wasn't really aware of before so I'm excited about it.
AAJ: At the Abstract Logix site there's a download of a series of gigs you did recently at the Iridium; what can people expect from these downloads?
WK: I did this series of gigs at the Iridium with three different bands. One was a duo with drums; then I did a quartet with [saxophonist] Chris Potter and then I did two nights with Krantz, Carlock, Lefebvre. So, there were three bands playing the same music, and it was the music from the Krantz, Carlock, Lefebvre era, as I hadn't started playing the Howie 61 music then. It was us blowing our brains out on that music. It was really fun to do and some of the music sounded great.
WK: What's coming up later this year?
WK: There'll be some touring associated with this record starting in August. I'll be going to Europe and we're also doing some gigs in the States and probably Asia again. We'll probably go back to Japan, Korea and perhaps India. I'm happy because the record-making process basically took me out of the playing arena for a long timealmost a yearso I'm really looking forward to playing.
Wayne Krantz, Howie 61 (Abstract Logix, 2012)
David Binney, Graylen Epicenter (Mythology Records, 2011)
Wayne Krantz/Keith Carlock/Tim Lefebvre, Krantz, Carlock, Lefebvre (Abstract Logix, 2009)
Wayne Krantz, Your Basic Live '06(Independent, 2007)
Chris Potter, Underground (Universal Music, 2006)
Wayne Krantz, Your Basic Live (Independent, 2003)
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