Alex Skolnick Trio
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Alex Skolnick Trio

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"Downbeat March '03"

**** 1/2
Skolnick's revved-up trio stunningly reconfigures tunes by rock icons into jazz-based, guitar trio fare. Besides the musicians technical prowess, they execute these rock tunes with a slant that might imply an antithesis to what was originally conceived. - Glen Astarita


"Billboard April '02"

While the source material may originate from far outside the jazz world, the Skolnick trio's work falls squarely within the jazz tradition. They have taken the songs that their generation grew up with and reinterpreted them utilizing the language of jazz. With it's creavive arrangements and energetic improvisations 'Goodbye To Romance is a solid first outing for the trio's leader, who makes a definitive statement by telling the listener who he is, where he came from, and where he is going. - Steven Graybow


"Jazziz April '03"

On this unusual and impressive trio release, the former heavy metal guitarist delivers straightahead jazz renditions of headbanger hits. The collaboration is closer to the Pat Metheny Trio than to Testament. Still, listeners familiar with the original versions should easily recognize the tunes.
The trio's presentation is rhythmically charged yet, elegantly textured, and Skolnick's fluid lines evoke the best in these melodies. Yes, here a former metalhead is reborn as a heady jazz guitarist in the Metheny-Scofield mold. - Ed Kopp


Discography

Goodbye To Romance: Standards For A New Generation (Skol Productions 2002) Debut LP

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Straight ahead jazz mixed with heavy metal? Welcome to the world of the Alex Skolnick trio. When they first began in 2000, the idea was admittedly a bit far out: an improvisational trio doing creative arrangements of tunes by groups such as Black Sabbath (while this idea has begun to spring up elsewhere, they were the first). Even more unusual was the fact that this combo was led by a former speed metal guitar hero who had traded his electric guitar for a hollowbody archtop (known as a ‘jazz box’), moved to New York and studied with legendary musicians through the jazz department of New School University, where he earned his BFA. It was here where Alex hooked up with two fiery young prodigies in their early 20’s on upright bass and drums; the three began practicing composition assignments and jazz standards. Frustrated with the limitations of the jazz repertoire, Alex stumbled upon this concept one night by hearing an arrangement of a Scorpions song in a dream. Arrangements of songs by Kiss, Ozzy Osbourne, the Who and others followed; the group quickly developed a following in such New York City venues as Wetlands and the Knitting Factory.
In 2002, the trio’s debut album "Goodbye To Romance: Standards For A New Generation" (Skol Productions), climbed the JazzWeek US radio charts, reaching the top thirty and making the top seller’s list on CD Baby. Reviews in magazines followed, nearly all overwhelmingly positive, including such esteemed publications as Downbeat, Jazziz and the Village Voice. They hit the road and found themselves playing at jazz festivals and at rock clubs to diverse audiences, all over the US. Some were jazz and jam band fans. Others were former metal fans who were opening up to jazz. A few had last heard Alex from the depths of a sweaty mosh pit; now they were seated, listening intently, enjoying a bevarage and yelling approval for a lick or drum fill.
The new trio album, “Transformation” (Magna Carta), represents a turning point for the band. Original compositions fill just over half the album along with new arrangements of tunes by Judas Priest, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, and more. There is some new sonic territory in the covers; from the fiery Middle Eastern section in Deep Purple’s “Highway Star,” to the Latin acoustic flavor of Dio’s ‘Don’t Talk To Strangers.’ Similarly, the originals cover a wide range of styles: from Alex’s ethereal ballad ‘Fear Of Flying,’ to the surf/blues of ‘Both Feet In’ (penned by drummer Matt Zebroski) and Alex’s creative composition and title track, ‘Transformation,’ which combines a driving rock beat with jazz harmony, a rock guitar solo section and a haunting, catchy melody sung by all three members. This melody is enhanced by the cello of special guest Dave Eggar (who has recently played with such jazz greats as Michael Brecker and Dianne Reeves). Another special guest, Grammy nominee Charlie Hunter, comes aboard on his 8-string guitar/bass hybrid for Alex’s funk/jazz composition, Scorch.
Alex Skolnick, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and at age sixteen, became lead guitarist for the metal band Testament, whom he was with for seven years and five albums, touring the world with acts such as Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and others. During that time, an exposure to Miles Davis’ music inspired him to learn jazz. After leaving Testament in 1992, Alex went on to earn a BfA from New York’s New School University where he studied with jazz legends such as Cecil McBee, Hal Galper and Richie Beirach. It was here where he met fellow student and future trio drummer Matt Zebroski. Between trio activity, Alex is a featured member of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and recently recorded for their upcoming release on Lava/Atlantic Records. Earlier this year, Lamb Of God contacted Alex to say that they were longtime fans and invited him to play on their debut album for Epic Records. Composer Frank Wildhorn recently placed Alex with a 30 piece orchestra for Jeckyll & Hyde: The Concert, the new production of his hit Broadway show. Alex also plays with folk legend Debbie Friedman, Paris based pop/world music superstar Ishtar: The Voice Of Alabina (where he plays Spanish guitar), numerous New York based improvisational artists and when not on tour, is on staff at American Institute Of Guitar in New York City. For more info on Alex and the trio: www.alexskolnick.com.