Home > Entertainment > Steady-gigging local jazz guitarist George Ogg — C.R.T. — takes the spotlight with Nothing Fancy

Steady-gigging local jazz guitarist George Ogg — C.R.T. — takes the spotlight with Nothing Fancy

By Jim Fester

Fort Wayne Reader


Guitarist George Ogg has been a fixture in Fort Wayne’s jazz community since the early 90s, after returning to the city from a decade’s stint in Los Angeles.

He signs his e-mails “C.R.G.” — Certified Restaurant Guitarist — and Ogg can be found most weekend nights playing solo or as part of jazz duos and trios in area restaurants and clubs. He’s lent his guitar talents to CDs by a few local artists, and on occasion even takes the stage as Jake Bel-Air of the Bel-Airs, Fort Wayne’s long-standing rockabilly band. He’s also been a guitar teacher (on and off) since he was 17.

So the question might be, what took Ogg so long to produce his own CD?

Ogg just says that the time seemed to be right. “I always knew I should do it,” he says. “It stems from Eric (Clancy) and I working together over the past couple years. It just finally all sort of came together over 2005.” He says the recording process was fragmented, but when Ogg and producer/musician Clancy eventually stepped back and took stock of what they had done over the course of a year, they discovered they were a few tweaks away from a full-fledged CD.

Recorded on Eric Clancy’s computer-based home studio, the CD is called Nothing Fancy, and indeed, Ogg keeps it simple on the CDs 14 tracks. The majority of the songs feature Ogg on his own, with Clancy adding keyboards and programming to a few of the tracks, and trading riffs with Ogg on “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.”

Nothing Fancy is a sampling of just some of the material Ogg plays at area restaurants and clubs as a C.R.G. A lot of the titles will be familiar — “Do You Know What It Means (to Miss New Orleans)”, “The Girl From Ipanema,” Don McLean’s “Vincent” — but the arrangements are all Ogg’s, and present the songs in a different context. The point of the CD, he says, was not necessarily to bowl over a listener with jazz pyrotechnics and guitar wizardry (though most people who have played with Ogg say he could do that easily), but merely recreate what he does when he plays out. For the most part he keeps things simple. “I didn’t want to go crazy with the improvisation on the CD,” Ogg explains. “I just wanted to keep the songs a reasonable length, because I didn’t want the listeners to get bored. Unless you’re in a real jazz frame-of-mind and you’re set to listen to improvisation, that can get a little tiring for people sometimes if they lose the melody.”

Ogg is primarily known around Fort Wayne as a jazz guitarist. He grew to love a lot of the American standards during his time in Los Angeles when he played with a jump blues band whose set included R&B and swing tunes from the 40s and 50s. “Take a song like ‘The Girl from Ipanema.’ It gets overdone, but it’s just one of those great American songs that people latch onto.”

When Ogg moved back to Fort Wayne, he started playing more jazz with local musicians in town. “They were all nice enough to let me get up to speed learning the standard repertoire,” he says.

Ogg says his jazz background informs the arrangements on Nothing Fancy. “I try to get the point of the song across,” he adds. “I look at it from a jazz standpoint. I’ll state the melody, and then maybe go through a round or two of improvisation, depending if the song lends itself to that. The Beatles’ songs, for instance (“Norwegian Wood” and “We Can Work It Out”) I play those pretty straightforward. But some of the other jazz-type numbers, you have more room for an improvisational chorus or two.”

The exception is the first track, “24 West,” a longer jazz-flavored tune Ogg wrote himself that leaves a little more space for improvisation. “That was Eric Clancy and me dabbling around with the smooth jazz kinda thing,” he says. “We wanted to see how we could do with that. With two guys with a keyboard, guitar and a computer, it came off pretty well.”

For more information on Nothing Fancy, email George Ogg at georgeandchristian@myvine.com

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