Born in Israel and a New Yorker since 1996, guitarist Oz Noy's star is on the rise with this fifth solo album, amid numerous session gigs with notable jazz and jazz-fusion artists. Ultimately, Noy brings a signature voice to the forefront and his global approach to the electric guitar imprints a trademark of sorts. With his slinky phrasings, odd-tunings and seething single note licks, the guitarist uncannily melds off-center maneuvers with conventional jazz, rock and blues frameworks. His sinewy licks, gut-wrenching crunch chords, ballistic crescendos and strong compositions are bolstered by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Allen Toussaint, all-world drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, Texas guitar hero Eric Johnson and other VIPs, performing on select tracks.
Two Thelonious Monk compositions are interspersed throughout nine tracks, which include six Noy originals. However, the program closes with a crafty spin on Monk's "Trinkle Trinkle," featuring bassist Roscoe Black and drummer Chris Layton. Here, Noy blends a hyper-mode rendition of the primary theme with his distortion-laced Fender Stratocaster, but toggles the flows between boogie-rock, fractured interludes and brisk shifts in direction. It's an all-encompassing cover, as Noy plays with the melody and tears his axe to shreds during the bridge. The guitarist also tosses in a few nods to Stevie Ray Vaughan, but this may or may not be by design. Indeed, it's a stunning reformulation of the inherent song form, as Noy kicks out the jams and gives rock a college education. A top-shelf selection for 2011.
Oz Noy: Strat guitar; Chris Layton: drums; Roscoe Beck: bass.