Oz Noy: Fuzzy (2007)
As a sixteen-year old guitarist, Oz Noy made a noticeable splash in his native Israel. Since immigrating to New York, he's risen to first-call session status for a consortium of highly-visible pop, rock and jazz acts. But it's his solo recordings that have created the big buzz within progressive-rock circles. With his follow-up to Ha! (Magnatude, 2005), the artist once again aligns himself with the creme de la creme of jazz and rock artistes. Enviable chops aside, Noy helps redefine an oft-missing element of taste, amidst an accessible, groove-drenched realm of music that is engineered upon memorable compositions and enticing arrangements.
Noy's craft features soaring hard-rock lines, jazz riffs, and jazz-fusion like phrasings, but also incorporates loops, and delay techniques into the grand scheme. Yet he employs effects with the intentions of a magician who conveys a sleight-of-hand. Amid the accelerating and decelerating rhythmic frameworks, the guitarist renders subtle shadings, largely used as a textural component.
Noy is a shrewd improviser, while steering his crack band through variable shifts in strategy. On "Cosmic Background," he leads a slow-drag funk-rock pulse via chunka-chunka type chord progressions, contrasted by upper-register tweaks and harmonics. Noy instills a continual sense of motion throughout the entire session.
Drummer Keith Carlock pounds out a polyrhythmic solo during the turbo-charged title track. Although Noy tempers the overall flow with his memorably melodic ballad, "Three Wishes," it's nicely counterbalanced by his stinging solo.
Other highlights include the guitarist's quirky fusion of dissonant voicings and wah-wah based lines above an odd-metered punch groove on Thelonious Monk's "Evidence." Noy is rapidly establishing a singular identity within these music circles. It's not all about ceaseless soloing and tossing caution to the wind. He shines as a skilled artisan who is apt to prod one's psyche, while communicating an upbeat scope of attack that yields numerous rewards.
Track Listing: Which Was Is Up?; Cosmic Background; Fuzzy; Three Wished; Epistrofunk; Intensity; Sometimes It Snows In April; Yeah, Yeah, Yeah; In A Simple Way; Evidence.
Personnel: Vinnie Colaiuta: drums; Will Lee: bass guitar; Jimmy Johnson: bass guitar; Anton Fig: drums; James Genus: bass guitar; Jim Beard: Fender Rhodes piano; Keith Carlock: drums; George Whitty: organ; Oz Noy: guitars; Shai Bahar: synthesizer.