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Oz Noy Trio: Asian Twistz

Oz Noy Trio: Asian Twistz

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Oz Noy Trio, featuring Dave Weckl (Drums), Etienne Mbappe (Bass)

Acclaimed Israeli-born, New York-based guitarist and composer Oz Noy strains against boundaries, creating intuitive, fluid sonic art suspended somewhere between blues anguish, rock power, and the rich harmonic density of jazz. Available via Abstract Logix, the live Asian Twistz may just be the purest distillation of his vision yet. An unexpected dispatch from a trio of 2014 shows in Shanghai and Thailand, Asian Twistz was recorded on the fly with no intention of release, and features the all-star rhythm section of drummer Dave Weckl (Chick Corea, George Benson, Robert Plant) and bassist Etienne Mbappe (John McLaughlin’s 4th Dimension, Salif Keita).

“The surprising thing about this album,” Noy explains, “is that it was never meant to be an album at all.” Weckl captured the performances for his own reference onto a Mac Air laptop, with minimal outboard gear – with impressive depth and clarity given the informal circumstances. The uncluttered fidelity only heightens the intensity of the performances, which are largely based on material from Twisted Blues – Noy’s provocative, two-volume exploration and deconstruction of the blues’ vast expressive potential.

Freed from the sterile environs of the studio, Noy’s trio is explosively resourceful, interacting and improvising with a rare degree of muscle and sensitivity – whether tackling a classically styled shuffle like “Whole Tone Blues” or the terse, knotty funk of “Steroids.” Noy’s playing in particular reveals why he has been cited as a bold new voice on the instrument, welding a deep foundation in the blues to a tireless urge to innovate and discover new terrain – either via the use of effects (the extended drums/guitar intro on “Downside Up”) or deft use of space (“Slow Grease”).

Asian Twistz, with its stripped sonics and trio transparency, is a remarkable document. “It’s totally spontaneous,” Noy reflects. “These songs were recorded toward the end of the tour, so we are really going for it: taking chances we might not have earlier. While I never imagined it would be released like this, I’m really proud of this recording. It really shows the sound of this band, and how we improvise in real time. No fixes or overdubs – just some real music.”

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