Cleveland, OH. neoclassical guitar virtuoso Neil Zaza has released his 12th studio album, the eclectic and charming Vermeer. The album, written and produced by Zaza himself, features several other musical powerhouses: Styx drummer Todd Sucherman, renowned bassist Bill "The Buddha" Dickens, George Sipl (Eric Carmen Band), producer/composer David Kempers and pianist Todd Rogers.
For this particular album, Zaza took a novel approach to creation, translating the classic shred-hard mentality of the traditional instrumental guitar album into something altogether more interesting and accessible.
"When people think of instrumental guitar, they think of like, these crazy feats of pyrotechnics and everything. And I love that stuff and do that stuff, but my goal behind Vermeer was actually to play the best song possible, the best melodies possible," explains Zaza.
"I wanted it to be a record that everyone can listen to, not just guitar players. Sometimes guitar instrumental records are just an exercise in, 'Hey, look at me! Look at me! Look at these fast riffs! Whoa!' and you go, 'Wow, that's impressive!" And you never want to listen to it again.
"The music that I grew up listening to, and the music that most people listen to, is about the song, about the feel and about how it translates. So, that's the kind of record I wanted to make with Vermeer.
"Mostly, it's a statement about songwriting, the song and how the guitar becomes the lead singer in it."
ABOUT NEIL ZAZA
Not only has guitarist Neil Zaza helped to define the genre of melodic instrumental guitar, he has become a worldwide ambassador for the instrument itself. His melodic compositions have changed the way musicians play, and what audiences worldwide demand out of their guitar heroes.
With fiery technical brilliance and breathtaking musical interpretation, Neil Zaza has defined himself as the instrumental guitarist with an unparalleled ability to combine solid, catchy songwriting with a keen melodic sense and technical fury.
From his virtuoso rock solos, to laying a funk groove, to demonstrating his classical prowess by performing Bach and Mozart compositions, Zaza’s extreme versatility has been showcased worldwide in concerts, clinics, festivals, as well as on his own solo instrumental albums.
Zaza has shared the bill with Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Dweezil Zappa, Steve & Mike Porcaro (Toto), Yngwie Malmsteen, Vinnie Moore, and Andy Summers among countless others. He has performed on albums by Dweezil Zappa, Eric Carmen, Michael Stanley and also supplied guitar tracks for a Stewart Copeland-produced movie soundtrack.
It all began… in Akron, Ohio, where Neil Zaza was born, and still resides. Zaza started playing guitar at the age of 10 and went on to study classical guitar at The University of Akron under renowned educator and performer Stephen Aron. Zaza began to teach guitar, and in 1987, he formed the rock band Zaza, which quickly became one of the hottest U.S. touring bands at that time. After a successful run and even a hit song “Maybe Tomorrow," Zaza disbanded and a brilliant solo career began.