Guitarist & producer Joe Olnick explores new directions in modern instrumental music. With over six albums of independently released original material, his work generally falls into two different genres: rock/funk/jazz with his band as well as solo ambient. His last two releases have each had a single hit the US college radio charts ("Funky Traffic" and "Downtown").
The Joe Olnick Band has a rocking vibe of “avant-jam” and fusion like Medeski, Martin & Wood, New Mastersounds, Phish, and John Scofield. The band's latest release, Iguana, tells the musical story of a misunderstood hero who overcomes challenges to eventually get what he is looking for. It is their most rock-oriented recording project so far.
Vents Magazine drew comparisons to Ian Dury, James Brown, and Steve Howe. Andy Goldfinger at 92.7 KOCF FM also noted “Joe’s album has that feel of cool. It crosses the boundaries of genre and lets the listener just feel the music.” Finally, Jeff Collins at The Rock Jukebox called Iguana "A really wonderful album. One of the best of the year."
His previous album Downtown received unique feedback from a range of journalists. MUSIC STREET JOURNAL called his music “classy.” THE MODERN BEAT heard “….a refreshingly original approach to the genre that’s never afraid to step outside of its confines. I could see anyone from fans of Coltrane to Clinton getting a rise out of this instrumental nuthouse.” MELODIC.NET heard the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ John Fruiscante in Joe’s guitar licks and “the famous Swedish guitar player Janne Schaffer” in Joe’s compositions. MUSIC YOU CAN USE felt Joe’s “trippy, wah-ed out guitar work” was a “glorious reminder of Jimi Hendrix, Tommy Bolin’s funkier jams, or the crazy German rock from the late ‘60s/early ‘70s.” BURNED OUT BORDERS proclaimed that “any fans of hard-hitting, rock-leaned instrumental music with a progressive, experimental backbone will completely fall in love with this group”
Live concerts, frequently in a multimedia context, rely on using exciting improvisational techniques that expand on themes from the recordings. Every show is a unique experience.
Joe Olnick’s lifetime in music includes playing sax, keyboards, drums, as well as guitar & bass, and working as a recording engineer. He’s played his 10,000 hours in various bands. In 2012, he released his first CD, and continued self-producing with albums from ambient to jazz/rock genres. Inspired by artists such as Miles Davis, Brian Eno, and Nels Cline, he also works primarily with his band but keeps creatively fresh over the years by mixing in some ambient projects.