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Entertainment: Music / Jazz

Oct 16, 2006

Noel Lorica's Wayward Jazz

"I think a great jazz artist should be able to convey a melody to a wide variety of audiences," says Noel Lorica. "To be able to play with that melody, simply and precisely."

Thus spoke Manila-born Noel Lorica, who once took to piano as a youngster, now a musical icon in his community with a growing presence in the industry as guitar jazzist. “My parents loved classical music and I grew up with it. But I knew I always loved the guitar and I bought my own when I was twelve, to the protest of my parents.”

Originality and versatility plays a key element in Lorica’s music. “I practiced all the time and showed them that this was not a passing fancy and they began to appreciate it too. From there I kept incorporating notes and styles I liked which keeps the music very fresh and enjoyable for me to play.”

A meticulous artist and composer, Lorica’s self-imposed discipline provides his fans what they want. “You have to give your best every time whether your playing for a person or thousands. I think the great artists do this.”

Through his junior years and early college life impressions were mostly rock, blues and folk music. Later in his teens he was exposed to the music of George Benson, Earl Klugh, Paul Desmond, Stanley Clark, George Duke, Lee Retinour and the modern jazz instrumentalists.

“I find Jazz is controlled freedom. It's the only genre that you can play with, around and away from the notes and your not expected to imitate a certain sound as with many other genres,” Lorica explained.

“Classical is too inflexible, Pop has a very cliche style range. Even traditional jazz is a little too uncontrolled. I like a sound that has a balance and variety to it and still give me room to cut-loose and play what I feel in that moment. My wife says I can never play the same song the same way, and she's right.”

A non-traditionalist, Lorica’s compositions are versatile and vibrant. “My style was influenced by a variety of artists including Wes Montgomery who I admire for his innovation, Segovia for his skill, George Benson for his skills and soul, David Benoit for his simplicity, Antonio Carlos Jobim for that latin rhythm and broken chords. I really love Latin percussion especially the timbales, I guess I like the zing.”
Statue of Liberty


The implementation of Lorica’s art is a complex blend of jazz forms. “My style is a combination of many forms of jazz -- from Asian to Latin, from Contemporary to Classical. I guess that's why I like the name Wayward Jazz. It's not true to any style and meanders around a little. I do like adding complimentary melodies to the lead melody, I think it adds sort of a second thought or more of a conversation between the melodies.”

Music could be a thorny bed of roses -- to flourish, work must be done. “I'm an Indie artist and have an Independent Label (NDC Publishers). It makes it hard at times because many radio stations and distributors only recognize the larger companies.”

For Lorica once music is cast, it will live on, but to grow and reach the souls longing for it lays on simple economics. “I am starting to make some inroads in the music industry including distribution where my album is sold locally in Barnes and Noble Stores in Wellington, City Place and Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, and other outlets.”

Lorica’s trait of versatility and resourcefulness comes to fore in marketing his albums. “I have a good online presence selling in many places including Tower Records, Amazon, Best Buy, Sony Connect, Apple Itunes, MSNMusic, and my website”

An artist’s work is never finished even after his album finds its way to the market. Key to an album’s success is promotion and this Lorica recognizes. “My debut album ‘First Dance’ was released in June and has done well. Many of the songs were picked up by online stations like Radio-TV Philippines Network ( and has gotten good reviews and placed high in many charts from Jazztrenzz, Broadjam, and MP3Tunes which have it in the Top 10 for Latin Jazz and the Top 20 for Smooth Jazz. I included my rendition of ‘Sarong Bangi’ in which I add a little swing style to it. Yep -- told you it was hard to classify in one genre”.

The recordings will continue to be as far as Lorica, the artist and composer, is concerned. “Right now I just released my Christmas album titled ‘Christmas Jazz-on the smooth and wayward path’. In it I have an original song ‘Scent of Cinnamon’ which is where I have used some of my mother' s foresight and included the piano. In this album, I also thought I'd add something from home, so I chose ‘Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit’, I added a Latin rhythm and some embellishments. I am already working on my next solo album called ‘Second Glance’ that will be out next summer and a group album with my Treebo jazz band members, in which I play bass and electric guitar. Beyond this, things are in the works for a tour with other Smooth Jazz Artists.”

The world of an Indie artist may be themed with challenges, but for Noel Lorica the music will continue to play -- its his life. (Basta Pinoy News)

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