Born in Israel, Oz started his professional career at the age of 13 playing jazz, blues, pop and rock music. By age 16, he was playing with top Israeli musicians and artists. By age 24, he was one of the most established studio guitar players in the country. Oz was also a member of the house band on Israel’s top-rated television show for more than two years.
Since his 1996 arrival in New York, Oz has made a huge impact on the local and international music scene. His unique and intoxicating style has broken all the rules of instrumental guitar music by focusing on the groove. All-stars such as Keith Carlock, Anton Fig, Vinnie Colaiuta, and Dave Weckl often contribute on drums, with bassists Will Lee, James Genus, and Reggie Washington.
For his accomplishments as a trend-setting guitarist, Oz won the highly acclaimed Guitar Player magazine readers poll for “Best guitar riff on a record” (2007), “Best new talent” (2008), and “Best out there guitar player” (2013).
Constantly seeking untapped musical terrain, New York-based guitarist and composer Oz Noy steps onto fertile ground with his new album, Snapdragon.
The spry rhythmic wallop that characterized his previous album, the backbeat-driven Booga Looga Loo, remains in full force — only now welded to an open, bop-inflected chromaticism fostering a more dynamic, searching improvisational energy. Intricately winding unison melody lines spiral out across fatback rhythmscapes, expertly realized by an impressive cast of soloists and supporting musicians. Among those stoking the fires of the rhythm section are Dennis Chambers, Will Lee, Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave Weckl, James Genus, and John Patitiucci, while Noy trades improvised solos and notated melodies with saxophonist Chris Potter, keyboardists David Kikoski and Jason Lindner, trumpeter John Sneider, guitarist Adam Rogers, and Jazz Trumpet Virtuoso Wallace Rooney, in what is likely his final recording before succumbing to complications of the Coronavirus this spring. Rooney’s trumpet subtly blues-tinged solo glides over the nimble rhythmic modulations of “Outer Look.”
Noy’s signature vision, as both a player and composer, is the beating heart of Snapdragon. The themes include six original compositions, alongside a surprising, evocative reading of the Zombies’ “She’s Not There” and two Thelonious Monk pieces. Throughout, Noy’s playing is alternately tender and treacherous, moving from open-hearted, nearly vocal melodic statements to the sort of ferociously off-kilter, explosive soloing that has made him a favorite amongst connoisseurs of guitarists and improvised music at large. In Noy’s universe, odd intervallic leaps, unresolved dissonances, and radiating slabs of electric distortion are heightened and enlivened by nimble funk. The resulting sound is simultaneously accessible and refreshing — an entirely modern refraction of the glorious tradition of greasy organ combos and gritty two-horn soul-jazz.