AAJ: Getting back to your album a little bit, you featured guitarist Steve Lukather the record and I'm wondering what is it about Steve's playing that made you decide to include him on the new album?
ON: I was always a big fan of his playing and songwriting and a couple of years ago, Will Lee, my bassist, introduced me to him. After that I would go see him when I was in L.A. and we'd hang a bit. So, when I was doing the record I wasn't planning on having another guitarist on the album. I wrote the songs "120 Heartbeat" and "Schizophrenic" and thought, "man, if I could get someone like Lukather to play on these tracks it'd be great." His sound would be perfect for these songs. I called him and he did it, it worked out great. I didn't have him in mind when I wrote those tracks, but after I wrote them I thought it would be great to have another color on these tunes and he was the perfect guy for the job.
AAJ: You also have bassist Will Lee and drummer Dave Weckl on your album for a number of the tracks. What is it like playing with that rhythm section, it seems like that would be a dream rhythm section for a modern jazz guitar trio?
ON: I've been playing with Will for many years. We've been doing a weekly gig that's going on seven years now, so we know each others playing very well. Will is just a great bassist, there's nobody better, and he's an irreplaceable member of my band. I could get somebody that plays different but I'd never find anyone who plays better than Will.
A few years ago, I started going out to L.A. to play and I used to bring guys from New York out with me for the gigs, but it got too expensive to do that. I kept coming back to L.A. every few months to play and in doing so I hooked up with Dave Weckl. We started jamming together and it's been about two or three years now that we've been playing together. Once Weckl, Will and I began playing, it just doesn't get any better than that.
AAJ: The title of your latest album Schizophrenic can be interpreted in many ways by many people. What does the title mean to you and why did you choose if for your new album?
ON: I think, in general, when I was developing as a young guitarist I was playing bebop and than heavy metal, so I was always schizophrenic in a musical sense. I couldn't' decide between rock and jazz because I loved them both. For a long time, I couldn't really combine those influences, but now I'm able to take all my blues, rock and jazz influences and combine them in my playing. I've always had a schizophrenic journey with my music.
Enjoy Three Days on the Beach with Snarky Puppy, Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band, Lettuce, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Lila Downs, Michael McDonald Acoustic Quartet, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Flor de Toloache and more—February 14-16, 2020 at the North Beach Bandshell in Miami, FL.
The winner receives a 3-day pass for two. Excludes travel or lodging.
Acclaimed by the New York Times as one of the “Top 10 Definitive Moments of the Decade in Jazz Music,” GroundUP goes beyond the typical festival experience, breaking down the barriers between audience and artists...
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