Jazz/Rock/Blues guitar virtuoso touring in support of new album, Twisted Blues Volume 2 (Available May 20, 2014)
Sunday, June 1
Blues is the root, the foundation – the undercurrent churning beneath nearly all strains of popular music. “It’s a vocabulary you have to have in order to play really anything,” explains guitarist and composer Oz Noy. “If you don’t understand the blues, I just don’t think that what you’re playing will sound as good.” By tapping into that elusive blues feeling and exploring its potential to inform and enrich a variety of musical settings, Noy has emerged as a compelling new voice in a crowded field. The resulting music is simultaneously refreshingly inventive and grounded in a deep, soulful tradition.
“I’m a jazz player,” says Noy, “but with a blues, rock, and R&B background. To me, blues and bebop are the glue to good music.” Noy’s latest album, Twisted Blues Volume 2 (Abstract Logix), continues to mine the blues-tinted vain first tapped in the widely acclaimed first volume, which was released in 2011. While some of the same players from volume one are back on board, these entirely new sessions also introduce an array of special guests, some off-kilter yet undeniably funky rhythmic concepts, and the sort of fiercely unguarded, daring improvisational maneuvers that Noy’s growing following have come to expect.
To realize his expansive vision of a blues-based music that still embodies the power of rock and the exploratory zeal of jazz, Noy has called upon an impressive roster of supporting musicians and fellow soloists. Featured rhythm section players include hard-grooving bassist Will Lee (of Late Show with David Letterman fame), drummer Chris Layton (of Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble), master contemporary jazz drummers Dave Weckl and Keith Carlock, and veteran blues-rock bassist Roscoe Beck. Reese Wynans, another Double Trouble alum, shares organ duties with jazz maverick John Medeski and New York-based funk musician Jerry Z.
In addition to these players, Noy cedes the spotlight to several legendary artists, each of whom thrive in Noy’s signature hybrid style. The unmistakeable touch and tone of Texas guitar icon Eric Johnson elevates the elegant, horn-flecked 5/4 swagger of “EJ’s Blues.” Allen Toussaint, one of the architects of classic New Orleans soul, contributes his trademark rippling piano to the aptly named “Slow Grease,” while Warren Haynes (of Gov’t Mule and the Allman Brothers) goes toe to toe with Noy on the surging shuffle of “Blue Ball Blues.” “Rhumba Tumba” is based on a languid Caribbean-via-Crescent City groove, and features a performance by Chick Corea on Rhodes that is as notable for its surprising rhythmic background figures as for its exquisite solo statement.
Available May 20, 2014, Twisted Blues Volume 2 is Noy’s sixth album and his second for the Abstract Logix imprint. It’s sterling testament to his continued growth as a musician and composer, while affirming his ongoing commitment to clarity, groove, and grit of the blues. “I don’t like complicated music,” he concludes with a smile. “People mistakingly think my music is more difficult then it really is because there are some twists and turns in my writing. But in reality, the improvisation is always on straight R&B or blues grooves. The challenge is to get your own voice into it.”