Fact is, not many of them play guitar like Neil Zaza, a man compelled to broaden the range of the instrument’s expressive power and bring it to the masses. Whenever I find myself starting to get board with the ocean of guitar available in popular music, I throw one of Neil’s tracks on, and I hear a mission statement. He’s like a six-string missionary. Call it Telecastervangelism.
The mission statement, as I hear it through his music, goes something like, “Hey buddy, you thought guitars were boring? Think again, because I just figured out THIS.” And then my mind blows, and I fall in love with the guitar all over again, and then I press “repeat.” The heavy focus on melody and advanced technique, found here, may be enough for the average shredder. Neil’s secret weapon, however, is his genre melting-pot, which brews up such disparaging amalgams as classical and funk.
Makes sense, as the man has educated himself in all of the above. He studied classical guitar at the U of Akron before moving on to teaching, and in 1987 formed the eponymous band Zaza. Zaza’s Zaza toured until 1992, and Neil has been on a steady solo gig ever since, releasing five solo records amidst international touring. He’s also landed signature guitar deals with both Cort and Carvin. With his monster chops and ever-growing list of credentials, we were confident that Neil was the right man for the job when we tasked him with recording the guitar samples that are included in Notion and Progression.
It turns out his solo records are available on his Nimbit store, and if you take a close look at his store, there’s some unorthodox cool stuff going on over there. For one, you can get Zaza T-shirts in every color the rainbow forgot. Furthermore, Neil still teaches, and makes several of his coursework’s backing tracks available, as well as his Live DVD, “Live on Crooked River Groove.”
Not too shabby for a kid from Akron. Keep up with Neil Zaza on Nimbit, and ride his guitar into the future.
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