Oz Noy is a very unique voice in guitar who brings great writing, infectious sensibilities and mind-bending chops rarely heard in a mix together. A New Yorker now for over two decades, Oz won Guitar Player Magazine Readers Poll for “Best guitar riff on a record” (2007), “Best new talent” (2008), and “Best out there guitar player” (2013). With several acclaimed records under his belt, Oz Noy is already considered one of the most accomplished plectorists in the world today, playing with some of the best in music- Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave Weckl, John Patitucci and others to name a few. His new album “Booga Looga Loo” is a testimony to his brilliant musicality and vision. Read what Oz has to say about his new project as he prepares for the world tour to support his latest.
Abstract Logix: You have been based out of New York for a quite a while now to call you a New Yorker, How has your journey evolved from the first day you picked up the guitar to being recognized as one of the finest players of today ?
ON: I grew up in Israel and started to play guitar at the age of 10, by the age of 15 my friend started to tell me that I need to go to NYC and play there, I never really though i would actually do it but when I turned 24 I got the courage and went there, I still pinch myself sometime going like “ waoo , I live in NYC and play with a lot of my heroes!” even after all this years , its still exciting!
AL:“Booga Looga Loo” sound exciting and fun?
ON: Its the funnest record I have done.
AL: Take your fans through your journey of the music you wrote and recorded for the album?
ON: I have to have a concept in order to write an album, once I know what the concept is its much easier for me to start writing and collecting songs that will fit the album. when I did “Twisted Blues vol 1”& 2″ I have this concept of taking the blues and mixing it with jazz, when I did “Who Gives A Funk” I had an idea of making a soul , funk R&B album. on this latest album I wanted to make a Boogaloo record but mix it with some electric jazz so its like Boogaloo Meets Miles Davis “Bitches Brew”… that was kind of my idea.
AL: You seem to have some of the finest musicians on the record?
ON: Yes, I am a very lucky guy to have excess to all this guys!
AL: How do you “feel” the guys on the songs you recorded ?
ON: A lot of the time when I write I will already think of who can play on that track, its mostly starts with drummers, that inspire the direction of the song & groove sometimes, once I know who the best drummer for that song or songs I will try to call a bass player that works really well with that drummer. Will Lee & Steve Ferrone have a long history together and I played with them a bunch!, Vinnie Colaiuta & John Patitucci done a lot of stuff together and Vinnie was actually in John’s band for a while so I know that would be a great combination, and I also played with both of them separately a bunch so… I did a few tours with James Genus & Dave Weckl and we have a great hook up together so that was a no-brainer for me.
AL: You recorded a lot of the music at Sweetwater ?
ON: Yes, its an amazing facility and this guys are the absolute best!
AL: Was it recorded live and did you overdub a lot ?
ON: yes, we record live like we are doing a jazz record! I live the live interaction and organic sound of a band playing together in the same room, that where the magic happens for me! I am really not interested in making music any other way.
AL: Great to see that you are going to be touring in a few weeks with Dave Weckl and Jimmy Haslip, Considering that you have been playing with those two for a while, what’s going through your head as you get ready to go on the road ?
ON: I want to choose a song list that will be inspiring for us to play and that will also be different them the last thing we did and will include some new material and also some old stuff.
AL: Oz, its clear that you love all kinds of music especially Funk, who are some of your favorite Funk guitar players ?
ON: I like every kind of music , jazz, Blues, Pop, R&B Funk, Flamenco, Classical etc.… so I like all the masters of this kinds of music!
AL: You seem to love the Strat, at least mostly I have seen you playing it ?
ON: Start is my main instrument BUT I have been also using a Telecaster for last few years(since “Twisted Blues”), and on the last two albums I have been also playing a Les Paul so… but if I have to choose only one guitar it will be a Strat.
AL: What you are listening to nowadays ?
ON: Everything i can get my hands on::) from radio pop to old jazz stuff and everything in the middle.
AL: Lastly how did a guy from Israel play blues better than most guys out of Texas ?
ON: I don’t think I play better than the Texas guys, I am not a real blues player but I do try to lean the language as well as I can and mix it with what I do which is really jazz & funk… I think the reason the Texas guy like playing with me (Chris Layton, Roscoe Beck, Reese Wynans, Eric Johnson etc.…) is cause I don’t try to copy SRV or any of those guys, I take what I can from them and mix it with my own style so I think they find it refreshing to not have another SRV clown try to do it.