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Wayne Krantz: Howie 61

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No doubt “Howie,” the detached boomer of this ironic album’s title track, drives the cool vintage Jaguar on its cover. The stylish song correlates to the arresting image. Style, too, informs many of the metaphors in the vocal numbers master guitarist Wayne Krantz sprinkles over his 10th album. Howie 61 also is homage to “Highway 61 Revisited,” a Bob Dylan tune from 1965 that remains startling (best version: Johnny Winter’s on Second Winter).

This is a fusion disc with more than its fair share of sparks, but it is less big bang than insinuation. While Krantz’s guitar is consistently compelling and his choice of sidemen is impeccable, tunes like “Can’t Stand to Rock” and “U Strip It” are problematic. These rock tracks cover territory more creatively mined by bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Critters Buggin’. But even they move, and David Binney’s sensual sax warms the latter.

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