Oz Noy – Booga Looga Loo (2019)

Oz Noy - Booga Looga Loo (2019)
Artist: Oz Noy
Album: Booga Looga Loo
Genre: Jazz Fusion
Origin: USA
Released: 2019
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps
Tracklist:
Boogaloo Fever 04:35
Chocolat Souffle 07:21
A Soul Thang 07:03
Bemsha Swing 07:33
Booga Looga Loo 05:54
I Got a Woman 05:36
God Only Knows 04:33
Eight Days a week 04:38

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Oz Noy is one of the more underappreciated guitar gods, because the name recognition isn’t up with Eric Johnson, Steve Vai or Joe Satriani but the talent surely is. He’s particularly adept at blurring the line between the lead and rhythm parts, having a keen sense of that pocket and leaps headlong into it. Ten years ago we saw those qualities — as well as a flair for writing irresistible tunes — with Schizophrenic, which is practically a 21st century Blow By Blow.

Noy has kept busy since then with different types of quality projects, and his latest Booga Looga Loo celebrates the boogaloo style of Latin rhythms applied to soul, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll during the ’60s. Noy even re-imagines popular ’60s tunes such as Ray Charles’ “I Got A Woman,” the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows,” and the Beatles’ “Eight Days A Week.” The other half of the tunes are Noy’s own, done up in the spirit of the boogaloo.

This album boasts a roster of session players that would make Steely Dan blush: Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave Weckl, Steve Ferrone, Will Lee, John Patitucci, James Genus, Jerry Z, Brian Charette, Kevin Hays, Seamus Blake, and Anne Drummond. Whew! Noy brings his usual right balance in deploying these valuable assets, neither under utilizing nor over utilizing them, putting their talents smartly in the service of the songs.

For a good part of this album, these are the sounds of circa 1966. Of course, nobody played quite like Oz Noy back in 1966, and though “Boogaloo Fever” perfectly captures the flavor of the times (Drummond’s flute adds the perfect Herbie Mann touch), Noy is still imbibing it with blues-rich licks with some sass tossed in for good measure. “Chocolate Soufflé” (video above) is a mint blues-jazz shuffle with a timeless feel and a superb guitar solo followed by a superb bass solo from Patitucci. “A Soul Thang” takes that soul thing very seriously: amid Noy’s shimmering octaves and stinging blues lines, there’s a Motown-styled string arrangement and a hardscrabble B3 organ. I’m half expecting Lee Morgan to bust into “Booga Looga Loo,” since the song starts out much like “The Sidewinder” and “Cornbread.” But then a background synth creeps into the space as the song downshifts, kicking off another tasty Oz Noy feature and the song is transformed into a pleasant, mid-tempo fusion excursion.

Much as Jeff Beck was able to apply an effective jazz-rock treatment to Charles Mingus’ “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat,” Oz Noy does the same for the Thelonious Monk classic “Bemsha Swing,” where he stretches out and hold little back on guitar…but also regales in that seminal melody. The Ray Charles tune is just as move inducing as the original while the Beach Boys’ song provides a nice showcase for Noy’s long, intricate leads. A hard shuffling rendition of “Eight Days” is sung with gusto by Lee, a perfect way to end another home run album by Oz Noy.
by S. Victor Aaron