Oz Noy: Schizophrenic (2009)
splitand, on the "Beat It"-like groove of "120 Heart Beats," greasy "Elephant Walk," and funky title track, sharedrum duties, but this time the guitarist also brings in Dave Weckl for a first encounter on four of the album's nine Noy originals. Weckl drives "Twice in a While" which, with its easygoing groove and sophisticated harmonies, sounds like something from the Steely Dan repertoire, while playing it more softly on the aptly titled "Seven," a lyrical, 7/4 ballad.
Noy is also a loyal band leader who's been working with most of the players here since Ha!. Once again, Anton Fig and Keith Carlock
, a Saturday Night Live band alum, still-current member of Paul Schaffer's Late Show with David Letterman group and sideman on hundreds of rock, pop, and jazz recording sessions, ranging from The Brecker Brothers and Steve Khan to Dr. John and Robben Ford. Here this unshakable groove-meister goes it alone for the first time, playing on all nine tracks and pushing the pulse on the upbeat "Ice Pick" and down-and-dirty "Jelly Blue," where he also trades off empathically with the heavily processed Noy.
In addition to Fig and Carlock, Noy's other constant companion from the start has been bassist Will Lee
who, with his Live at Ronnie Scott's CD (Eagle Rock, 2008) and DVD (Eagle Rock, 2009) and live performance, has been on something of a comeback trail. But while Noy demonstrates the same kind of taste in tone and execution, he's not averse to the occasional shred, delivering some frighteningly fast runs on the high velocity closer, "Bug Out." He also possesses a richer vernacular, his more complex voicings lending the ultimate blues of "Jelly Blue" greater jazz-centricity. But it's always in service of the music and, while Schizophrenic has more than its share of head-scratching, "how does he do it" moments, it also highlights Noy's unique sense of economy as he delivers a tender, chordal melody on the soft "Underwater Romance."
If Noy has a specific reference point, it would be Jeff Beck
Noy's growth from Ha! to Schizophrenic is palpable; here's a guitarist who's as good as any of the larger fusion names out there and is, in many cases, a more accomplished writer. Why he's not as well-known is a mystery, but if Schizophrenic is a first-encounter, it's bound to bring the guitarist some new fans, while delivering plenty to keep his existing ones beyond happy.
Track Listing: Ice Pick; 120 Heart Beats; Seven; Schizophrenic; Elephant Walk; Twice in a While; Jelly Blue; Underwater Romance; Bug Out.
Personnel: Oz Noy: guitar, loops (3, 8, 9), claps (2, 6); Keith Carlock: drums (1, 2, 4, 5, 8); Will Lee: bass, tambourine (4); Ricky Peterson: organ (1, 2, 4, 5); Chris Palmaro: Wurlitzer (1, 5), Rhodes (2, 3, 6-9), clavinet (2); Shai Bachar: synth (1, 5); Anton Fig: drums (2, 4, 5, 8); Steve Lukather: rock guitar (2, 4), outro solo (2); Sheri Miller: claps (2, 6); Dave Weckl: drums (3, 6, 7, 9).
Record Label: Magnatude Records