Intro by Bob Bakert, Editor of Jazz Guitar Today:
If you like your guitar playing modern in tone and concept, as well as full of the traditional language of jazz, you already do or certainly will love Oz Noy.
You will then also enjoy this interview. Oz Noy is a great musician. He is candid with his music and a joy to listen to. His music has humor, as well as great depth, feel and… don’t forget groove… Oz has lots and lots of groove.
We spoke a few weeks ago after I got a chance to listen to an advance copy of his latest project “Booga Looga Loo”.
I was really into tracks like the original “Chocolate Soufflé, the Beatles’ Eight Days a Week (vocal by bassist Will Lee) and an all-time favorite of mine from Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, “God Only Knows”. At this level, it’s not if you can play, it’s what you play (and don’t play) that makes for great projects … This is his 10th solo project. The lineup of musicians is superb and they completely support his vision. If Oz was an author I would say to him, “I really like the books you write”.
Oz Noy: “Booga Looga Loo” Album, Tour and more…
Excerpts from Bob Bakert’s interview with Oz Noy – full audio interview below.
JGT: I just love what you’re doing. It’s like you say on your website, “It’s jazz…it just doesn’t sound like it”. That’s perfect. What can you tell me about this new project and the tour that you’re on right now?
Oz: Sure, the tour is to support the new album – which is coming out March 15. I tour a lot with Dave Weckl and Jimmy Haslip. It’s a great combination – great band. Whenever we have an opportunity to tour, we do it, especially with a new record out. We have a month in the US so far. Then Asia, Europe but not sure of the schedule yet.
As far as the record…when I make a record – I have to have some sort of concept in order to write, I don’t just write. For example, the concept for my blues record, I wanted to it make a blues record and mix jazz into it. So I took all those blues forms and mixed jazz harmony into it. When I recorded my last studio album, “Who Gives a Funk” That was basically R&B meets soul – so I tried to write really simple catching melodies, that kind of stuff – that was the concept.
The new album…as far as a concept, I like to play boogaloo – you know, like those boogaloo grooves. I do a lot of organ trios and I was playing a lot of that music – so I thought I would write some stuff in that style. That was the idea or concept behind it. It’s kind of like boogaloo meets Bitches Brew – like Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew…That’s what it is for me – because I like that era. So that’s the idea behind the record. Once I have that, it much easier to write.
JGT: You have both The Beatles and The Beach Boys tunes – it’s awesome. I love what you’re doing with that Beach Boys tune – what a great melody.
Oz: Yea, ‘God Only Knows’ – one of the greatest songs of all time.
JGT: And you just killing it using a lot of very clean tone in there. Is that the Tele or the Strat?
Oz: The Strat.
JGT: You have a lot of instrumentation on the new record – and you’re going out with the trio…. Are you going to do a lot of tunes from the new record?
Oz: Some – I kind of have to mix old ones with new ones. Yea, it’s a little tricky with the tunes with a lot of instrumentation – sometimes they work with the trio, sometimes they don’t.
JGT: When you are out on tour, what guitars are you playing?
Oz: If I can only bring one, it’s always a Strat. If I have two, a Strat and Tele. On the last album, as well as the previous one, there was a lot of Les Paul. So the order is Strat, Tele, and Les Paul.
JGT: What can you tell me about that particular Strat you have been using?
Oz: The guitars I have been using for a while are two ‘68 Custom Shop Strats that the Fender Custom Shop made for me – one is a rosewood and the other is a maple Those have been my main Strats for ten plus years now.
The Strat I have been using most recently is a guitar I found at a Sam Ash in NY. I always check out custom shop Strats when I go to those music stores – because you never know, you might find a really good one… and I found a really, really good one – it’s a ’58 relic custom shop. I have been using it for the past four months.
JGT: Can you tell me about what pedals you like to use?
Oz: I have a lot of pedals. People think you have to have a lot of pedals to get a variety of tones but the reality is my sound is pretty basic. It’s a clean guitar and I haven’t even used reverb until recently. So a little bit of reverb and a slap delay and a cranked amp with some sort of overdrive. That’s it – it’s not that much… I use the pedals to create texture, especially when I play live.
JGT: What kind of amps do you use?
Oz: Mainly Two Rocks and old Marshalls I have some older Fender amps, but the Two Rocks is my main amp.
JGT: You are really communicating to people on a very deep level from yourself to the audience. I think you could do a jazz album and bring something new to the party – thoughts?
Oz: I have been working on it – that’s the secret. I have been working on it for a long time. If you come to NY and come out to see me, you have seen it. I could do two jazz albums tomorrow. But I just haven’t had a chance yet to go and record it. I have a concept for it – it’s a very specific thing. Just haven’t had the chance yet – I will do it.
JGT: GREAT! Can’t wait.
For more information, visit online at oznoy.com