12/29/2017 – Oz Noy isn’t a household name, but he deserves to be. I first remember hearing of this innovative guitarist among my jazz peers in 1997. Who was this Israeli musician? Rapidly making a name for himself among jazz and fusion New York music circles, Noy established himself as one the best new guitarists within the hyper competitive scene. That’s saying a lot when you think about the other titans that are still active; Pat Martino. George Benson. John McLaughlin. Mike Stern. Russel Malone…. just to name an elite few.
Noy has a new jazz-commercial music hybrid project on Abstract Logix, Ozone Squeeze. Alongside keyboardist and vocalist Rai Thistlethwayte and bassist, Darren Stanley, Noy continues to craft his unique blend of jazz tradition with strong melodies, clever rhythms and ear bending harmonies. Fearlessly executing musical ideas with conviction, Ozone Squeeze keeps the music spontaneous and fresh.
Two decades later I finally got the opportunity to speak with Mr. Noy. While on tour, Noy took a few moments on a busy Sunday morning to chat with Slickster Magazine. The results were insightful and oft humorous.
Slickster: Anything you’d like to clear up about you that people always get wrong? Is there any mis-information online that needs to be corrected?
Oz Noy: Uhhh… I think the perception that I like complicated music. Some people think that is what I am into, and I’m not.
Slickster: That’s it? So, some people think you like complicated music, but you do not. Anything else?
Oz: Well, actually!…. That I like complicated music and my music is complicated!
Slickster: You kicked off a new tour with the group Ozone Squeeze in support of the self titled debut record that is released next week. How’s the tour going so far?
Oz: So far, it’s great. We’ve been opening for Jimmy Herring, so it’s been a blast.
Slickster: How did Ozone Squeeze come together?
Slickster: Awesome. I noticed you did a very old jazz standard on the new album, Skylark, but it has some really different textures and feels, especially rhythmically. How many takes did it take for your solo on Skylark? Was it completely improvised or kind of planned out?
Slickster: So, your solo was just a live take. There were no overdubs?
Oz: Naw, there was no overdubs. On that record, we overdubbed some of the vocals because there was some (microphone) leakage, but everything we played live. You know, I’m just kind of playing live and the interaction with the band.
Slickster: Can you discuss the impact and influence Mike Stern has had on your playing.
Slickster: You often incorporate abstract sounds into your music to ‘paint with textures’, and I personally find this extremely musical in the way you craft dissonance. Can you talk about how you do this?
Questions from r/Jazzguitar Reddit
Slickster: We invited users from the r/jazzguitar sub-Reddit to submit questions for you. MdCarrol asks, How does you come ups with his rythymic ideas? You have a way of syncopating that can seem off but ends on the right beat. Love that.
Slickster: dsquidmusic, asks, “Can you provide some tips for surviving financially as a musician?“
Slickster: Anything goes. What message would you like to share to the world.
You can purchase Oz Noy and Ozone Squeeze’s first album here.
Special thanks to publicist David Monnich for setting up the interview… and being patient!