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From Heavy Metal to Bebop: How Oz Noy Found His Signature Sound

From Heavy Metal to Bebop: How Oz Noy Found His Signature Sound

New York-based jazz master Oz Noy joins Rhett for a discussion on how to get the most out of your gear and the importance of playing live.

This episode of Dipped In Tone features Rhett flying solo with veteran jazz guitarist Oz Noy. Born in Israel, Noy started gigging at age 13, and 37 years later, he’s still going strong as a celebrated live musician—including a 17-year run at New York City club The Bitter End.

Noy explains that he grew up with a foot in both jazz and rock music worlds. The former taught him intricate playing, while the latter schooled him on tone and sound. “I was playing heavy metal on one hand,” he says. “On the other, I had a hollowbody guitar and I was playing bebop.” When he moved to New York, he was “shellshocked” by how advanced and impressive the jazz music scene was. Noy played in a trio, so to fill out his sonic palette, he began leaning on effects as “almost another instrument.” Not all of it has been intentional—he found a signature sound thanks to a happy accident with a tremolo pedal while gigging in Japan.

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While he still loves old, loud Marshalls, Noy says Two-Rock amplifiers have radically changed his approach, and he even uses Fender combos on the road. But aside from running his amps into a Universal Audio OX, Noy explains why he’s still not impressed with digital amp solutions.

Noy’s most important advice for players? “You gotta go out of your house and play live,” he says, explaining why it doesn’t cut it to just home-record clips for Instagram or YouTube. And while he sings the praises of his favorite modern jazz players, he tells Rhett why he thinks that rock and blues guitar-playing haven’t evolved much since the ’70s: “There’s nobody that took it to the next level or invented something new.”