bit off the beaten path. And speaking of the beaten path, where is the drummer? When was the last time you heard a jazz quartet without drums?
It's not that Kratzat has an aversion to drums or drummers. His 2008 debut CD, The Dentist, features them on more than half the tracks. Rather, this adventurous and thoughtful young player says he has long been interested in ensembles that are "missing one of their key components. This has in the past meant not including a chordal instrument, such as piano or guitar, which has given me the freedom to really play with the harmony. Acoustically, [Kerrytown Concert House] fits more sustained instruments like piano, and dropping the drums will make it easier to be more free rhythmically."
Kratzat's playing draws on the work of two of his primary influences, bassists Charlie Haden and Larry Grenadier, players who are not, as he puts it, "Bebop--chops-aholics, but instead lead with melodic intuition." Which is not to say that Kratzat's lacking in chops. Everything on his CD--whether with full band or on spare duets with violinist extraordinaire Jeremy Kittel, or on a unique vocals-and-bass duo treatment of Jimmy Rowles' famous instrumental "The Peacocks"--amply illustrates Kratzat's ability to lay down lush, out-of-the-ordinary harmonies as well as rhythmic underpinnings that are noteworthy for technical intricacy and compelling propulsion.