Photo by Yossi Zwecker
Oz Noy has released his new 11th album “Snapdragon”. The album featured incredible rhythm section (Will Lee, John Patitucci and James Genus as bassists, Dave Weckl, Vinnie Colaiuta and Dennis Chambers as drummers ). Oz also also teamed up Wallace Roney who passed away from covid-19 on 31st March 2020 and John Sneider as trumpet players, Chris Potter did a soprano sax and Adam Rodgers played guitar. All elements from those great musicians simply worked well together in the original Oz world. We had a chat with Oz Noy himself about the new album “Snapdragon” which excites us with real live feeling and great performance from music experts.
Interview / Text Mamoru Moriyama
Translation Hiroshi Takakura
Photo by Cari Paige , studioberengere.com
Muse On Muse : You teamed up with many great musicians for the new album “SNAPDRAGON”. Their appearance is worth to check by itself but meantime you merged all elements together into the original Oz Noy world.
Oz Noy : I always like to have real strong combinations of players to create a good vibe and groove behind me, On this record I was aiming for a bit more of a jazzier sound but still have a good sense of backbeat groove.
MM : The beautiful flower and dragon artwork of the album is very impressive.
ON : That was my idea. Snapdragon is a name of a flower so I had this idea of having a guitar & dragon as a part of the flower. My friend and great artist Eva Hutter painted and designed it, she’s amazing!
MM : You composed 6 tracks of the album.
ON : Its takes me a while to write, I always collect ideas but I only write when I know that I have to make an album. The way I start is by having some kind of a concept of sound or style to the album, that way I have a writing direction. This album is vol. 2 of my last album Booga Looga Loo which is kind of a boogaloo/ 70’s electric jazz vibe that I like.
MM : The opening track of the album “Looni Tooni” features John Snider as a trumpeter. The combination of your guitar and John’s trumpet is so exciting.
ON : Yeah, I love the combination of the guitar tone & an a trumpet together! But it also depending on the writing, you have to write with the trumpet sound in mind to make it work real well.
MM : The emotional soprano sax highlights the song “Tired But Wired”.
ON : Thats a very interesting and important song for me! I wrote this slow 7/4 hooky chord changes when I moved to NYC over 20 years ago , over the years I tried to finish writing the song and playing different versions of it but it never really worked out, on this album somehow I took it out again and magically was able to find the right vibe and finished writing it, I’m very proud of this composition.
MM : We can not believe the fact Wallace Roney, who played a trumpet on “Outer Look”, passed away from covid-19 even though he was only 59 years old…
ON : This song is based of Inner Urge by Joe Henderson, I like to use existing forms an re write new songs over them so that’s what I did. I love Wallace, he was my favorite trumpet player alive, Im very sorry he passed away so young.
MM : Please tell us about the title track of the album “SNAPDRAGON”.
ON : Snapdragon is based on Black Narcissus by Joe Henderson (another one!) Its like a mix of Jim Hendrix manic depression groove mixed with the Allman Brothers sound over Jazz harmony. I really like playing this song.
MM : You and Adam Rogers, two of guitar maestros collaborated on “Groovin’ Grant” and both you spoke to each other by guitar in unique style.
ON : Im good friends with Adam and we have a little band together that we sometimes play in NYC, we played that song live before cause there are two guitar parts that works really good with two guitar players playing together, its just a bluesy / boogaloo groove tune, pretty simple but super fun to play. Its a tribute to Grant Green but it actually sounds more like a Wes Montgomery song:)
MM : You’ve covered “ BEMSHA SWING” by Thelonious Monk in the previous album “ Booga Looga Loo” and another version of the song is on this album. Please tell us why you put it on this album.
ON : Its a different band with Vinnie Caliauta , John Patitucci , Brian Charette and Jason Lindner, this was a total jam in the studio and it turned out so well that I had to use it on the album, its one of my favorite tracks I’ve ever recorded.
MM : Please tell us about your gears. What guitar, amps, pedals did you use for this album?
ON : I used a Two Rock TS1 & Classic Reverb Amps, a Marshall Plexi 50W & 100W.
Most of the album you hear the Two Rock TS1 tho.
Guitars are my Fender Custom shop 68 & 58, Tele John Cruz Masterbuid Esquire with a neck pickup & my Red Eye Custom shop Gibson Les Paul.
Pedal are my usual setup, my signature Xotic AC/RC/OZ pedal for most of my lead sound, for the bluesier tones I use an Ibanez TS808 moded by Analog Man, My Leslie pedal is Roto Sim by DSL , Boss DD7 delay and LINE6 HX effects for looper and weird delays and tremolos.
MM : You are doing private guitar lessons on Skype. What did yourself learn from teaching guitar to people? Also please give tips to people learn guitar.
ON : Yes, I do all the time. You learn something new everytime you teach someone, even if its the same thing you might find a new angle to look at while showing it to students.
Practice but also make sure to play with other musicians as much as possible and do live shows.
MM : Please leave a message to your fans.
ON : Do what you love, music is a great thing to have in your life so just do it cause you love and enjoy it, everything else will fall into place.
Oz Noy official site http://www.oznoy.com/
Oz Noy / Snapdragon
1. Looni Tooni
2. Tired but Wired
3. Outer Look
4. She’s Not There
5. Boom, Boo, Boom
8. Groovin’ Grant
9. Bemsha Swing (Alt take)