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more... ArtistsGuitaristsJazzProgJanuary 2012Oz Noy

Oz Noy: Wizard of Weird

Oz Noy: Wizard of Weird

Oz Noy's Gear

Two Fender Custom Shop 1968 Relic
Stratocasters, Fender Custom Shop 1958
Telecaster, Gibson Les Paul
Vox wah-wah,Dunlop Jimi Hendrix
Octavia, Xotic AC Booster, Ibanez TS808
Tube Screamer, E.W.S. Fuzzy Drive, DLS
RotoSIM, Hugh & Kettner Rotosphere,
MXR Phase 90, Monster Effects Swamp-
Thang, Fulltone Mini DejáVibe, three Boss
DD-7 Digital Delays, Electro-Harmonix
Memory Man, Line 6 M9
1967 Fender Bandmaster driving a Bad
Cat 2x12 with Celestion Vintage 30s, 1973
50-watt Marshall head driving a Bad Cat
4x12 with Celestion Greenbacks
Strings and Picks
D’Addarios gauged .012, .014, .018, .028,
.038, .048 for standard tuning, D’Addario
.012 sets with a .049 on bottom (half-stepdown
tuning), Jim Dunlop 2 mm picks


Oz Noy is fortunate enough to get the support of players who are more likely to work with high-paying legends than up-and-comers on a budget. In addition to the A-list players on Twisted Blues, Vol. 1—including Eric Johnson, Chris Layton, Roscoe Beck, Reese Wynans, Vinnie Colaiuta, Anton Fig, Will Lee, John Medeski, and Allen Toussaint—his trio has included drummers Dave Weckl (Chick Corea) and Mike Clark (Herbie Hancock), and bassists Jimmie Johnson (James Taylor, Allan Holdsworth) and James Genus (Michael Brecker, Herbie Hancock). We asked some of the players who’ve shared the stage and studio with Noy to talk about what lures them into working with him.

Keith Carlock
Session drummer (Steely Dan, Sting, Wayne Krantz)
“Oz and I moved to New York City around the same time in the late ’90s and met on the downtown scene. We had similar influences, so we connected right away. He plays so effortlessly and makes it look so easy, but what is coming out is truly innovative. He always has a specific drum groove in mind, so he can be specific with what he wants, but then there are usually more open solo sections. Even when he covers a tune, it’s got that unusual Oz stamp on it. He’s super creative and one of the guitar players out there doing something truly unique.”

Eric Johnson
Played on “You Are the State,” loaned Noy his studio for the Austin sessions
“We had a day off on tour in New York, and I went down to the Bitter End to hear him. I had heard his record and I wanted to see this guy live. Then I saw him play in Austin. I sat in with him, he sat in with me, and we struck up a friendship. I think he has a fresh approach. His chord voicings are unique. He gets away with atonal stuff, but in a very musical way. He pushes the envelope, but it is intriguingly palatable. It is pleasing to listen to him play, because you get taken somewhere that is not typical. The way he uses pedals is a little bent—but what better way to use a pedal? I think that’s what they are for.”

Steve Lukather
Session whiz, Toto guitarist, played on Noy’s 2009 album, Schizophrenic

“I first saw Oz when my dear pal Will Lee invited me to a gig. I was blown away. He has such a unique approach, not only playing-wise, but sonically—his use of effects, etc. I found him to be an amazing player, but in a really cool, quirky way. We have become friends, and I am a fan. He asked me to play some ‘rock guitar’—which cracked me up—on his last CD, a sort of ‘Beat It’ riff like I played on the Michael Jackson original. It was a quick overdub. Oz knew what he wanted out of me and certainly did not need me. We had some laughs and I loved doing it. He is a monster player who deserves his success from hard work and a God-given talent.”

Will Lee
House bassist on Late Show with David Letterman, first-call session player and singer
“As a writer, Oz keeps evolving from album to album. I first heard him was when Chris Parker handed me a cassette, saying, ‘I’m doing gigs with this guy, and he’d love it if you would listen to him.’ Back then, it didn’t do it for me. But a year later, Anton Fig came to me with a newer tape and I was astounded at how Oz’s writing had progressed. At that point, I was interested and started doing gigs with him. We’ve been playing ever since. As a guitarist, he is as good at playing pop music as he is at jazz and blues. His writing is rooted in any and all of the above. I always have a blast playing with Oz!”

Roscoe Beck
Session bassist (Eric Johnson, Robben Ford)
“Oz is an original—a very distinctive guitarist. He combines just about every element I’ve ever heard. Apart from his obvious abilities as a soloist, his rhythmic feel is fantastic—[and it’s] all done with a sense of humor. He’s an absolute joy to play with.”

Youtube It
Witness Oz Noy’s slithering, funky rhythms, off-the-wall phrasing, and wacky effects use in action on YouTube.

Noy, Lee, and Weckl get into some serious grooves, and then at the 4:45 mark Noy whips up some wickedly warped loops with his Line 6 M9.

Armed with his sunburst Custom Shop Strat, Noy conjures hauntingly beautiful voicings punctuated with Lenny Breau-style harmonics.

At this 2009 date at the Saxon Pub in Austin, Texas, Noy is joined onstage by Eric Johnson, Anton Fig, and Roscoe Beck for a funk-jazz rendition of “Schizophrenic.”

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