Wayne Krantz was born in Corvallis, Oregon. He released his first album, Signals, in 1990, sporting an array of recognized jazz musicians such as Dennis Chambers, Don Alias, Anthony Jackson, and others.
In 1992, he formed a trio with bassist Lincoln Goines and drummer Zach Danziger, and recorded two albums with them, Long To Be Loose (1993) and 2 Drink Minimum (1995), a live album, and began playing periodically at the 55 Bar, a jazz club in New York City. In 1996, Krantz released an acoustic album with Leni Stern, dubbed Separate Cages. Krantz formed a new trio in 1997, Tim Lefebvre on bass and Keith Carlock on drums, playing a style of music that he later announced would no longer fit small clubs; on June 28, 2007, he played his final regular Thursday night gig at New York's 55 Bar.
Krantz's first three solo albums were released on the jazz label Enja Records. His next three albums, 1999's Greenwich Mean, 2003's Your Basic Live, and 2007's Your Basic Live '06 were all released from Wayne's private website. Like 2 Drink Minimum, these albums are excerpts of various sets at the 55 Bar. These albums also include more use of effects pedals, and are more unscripted and improvised than the previous three. He contributed to Donald Fagen's release Morph the Cat, and toured with Fagen's band in early 2006. He was featured on tenor saxophonist Chris Potter's 2006 release, Underground.
Krantz signed with record label Abstract Logix to release his first studio record in over fifteen years. Krantz Carlock Lefebvre (2009) features the core trio of Keith Carlock on drums, Tim Lefebvre on bass, and Wayne on guitar. In 2012, Krantz released Howie 61 (a reference to Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited), which includes performances by Keith Carlock, James Genus, John Patitucci, Charley Drayton, Tal Wilkenfeld, Vinnie Colaiuta, Anton Fig, Yasushi Miura, Jeremy Stacey, Paul Stacey, Pino Palladino, Gabriela Anders, Kenny Wollesen, Nate Wood, Henry Hey and Owen Biddle. In 2014, Krantz released "Good Piranha/Bad Piranha," a live-in-the-studio album featuring his two dominant trio combinations at the time: Nate Wood/Keith Carlock and Tim Lefebvre/Nate Wood. The bands each recorded the same four cover songs with radically different improvisational results.
Krantz is most identified with a Stratocaster-type electric guitar, his early favorite being a 1973 Fender Stratocaster he acquired in 1980, which he said is "not a particularly good guitar" though he liked the neck. He spent some years favoring a modded Tyler Studio Elite, but recently has played a Suhr Classic model manufactured by Suhr Guitars. Early in his career (including on Signals) he used a chorus effect but has since given that up, instead using analog pedals including fuzz, wah-wah, an octaver, a Moogerfooger ring modulator, and an Electro Harmonix Freeze pedal in addition to a Boss delay. For amplification, Krantz has used both Fender Deluxe and, more recently, Marshall amplifiers (a Marshall 2553), and for the Howie 61 sessions also used a Tyler JT46 amplifier.
Krantz is married to vocalist Gabriela Anders.
With Donald Fagen
With Chris Potter
With Tal Wilkenfeld
With David Binney
With John Escreet