Alex SKOLNICK Trio – Goodbye To Romance: Standards For A New Generation 2002

Alex SKOLNICK Trio – Goodbye To Romance: Standards For A New Generation 2002

Jazz

Take classic hard rock tunes from the 70s and 80s by the likes of Kiss, Scorpions, Black Sabbath and others. Rearrange them with rich harmonies and pulsating grooves of swing, funk and Latin. Throw in fiery improvisations on hollowbody guitar, double-bass and drums. What do you get? The Alex Skolnick Trio. At age eighteen, Alex Skolnick became a guitar hero with the metal band Testament. A few years and several albums later, he went on to perform and study jazz in New York, earning a music degree. Now, the worlds of metal and jazz have come together. Hear the result on “Goodbye To Romance: Standards For A New Generation.”
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After playing in two of the biggest and most important metal bands (Testament and Savatage) in the world, Alex Skolnick decided it was time to move on and explore different musical textures. Alex has always been so much more than just a typical metal guitarist who can shred his heart out. Even when he was in Testament, one of the leading forces of thrash metal, his sense of melody made him stand out among any other guitar player in the genre. His bluesy and jazzy feel became an indispensable part of his musical vision and it was clear that he would have to move on to broaden his horizons.
I bought Goodbye to Romance as soon as it was released in 2002 through Alex’s independet label Skol Productions and was greatly pleased when I saw he’d taken the time to sign the CD for me. Upon reading his message in the booklet, I was even more intrigued than before. This isn’t just an average cover album of a once-metal guitarist. While Alex covers and pays tribute to lots of rock and metal classics of bands including KISS, Aerosmith, Scorpions, Ozzy Osbourne, The Who and Black Sabbath, he also plays two of his own songs (“Skol Blues” and “Ofri”). Moreover the tunes sound nothing like the original versions, they are all re-worked and put into the framework of Alex’s jazzy musical direction. The song patterns are quite different (and sometimes even more interesting) and rich with variety, melody and warmth.

This project took off the ground when Alex had a dream in which he heard a very beautiful melody and had to wake up. As he couldn’t place the tune, he felt compelled to pick up his guitar and work it out, only to find the melody he’d heard was a jazzified version of Scorpions’ “No One Like You” and the rest is history. He put together a great band employing two very talented young musicians: John Graham Davies (double bass) and Matt Zebroski (drums).

Miles Davis has always been a great influence on Alex’s songwriting. This solo release also seems to follow the path opened up by Davis decades ago. The music here is unbelievably eclectic and borrows elements from rock, funk and blues. It’s an amalgam of all of these textures centred around a strong jazzy background. It’s very deeply constructed, yet it flows so naturally. The interplay between all the instruments gives the album its final shape.

The title Goodbye to Romance actually has a very special significance, because as we all know, the song “Goodbye to Romance” was a song on Ozzy’s debut album with guitar god Randy Rhoads, who was one of Alex’s idols and biggest influences. Back in the mid-90’s Alex played with Ozzy for a handful of shows in England and felt deeply honoured about playing Randy’s songs so when he decided to release his solo album he titled it after this tune. As stated in the booklet, it is commonly known that Randy was planning to eventually leave the band to pursue his classical music education, but was unable to due to his untimely passing. Alex, on the other hand, just like Randy, was bold enough to leave his rock stardom behind and went back to school for his music degree. Randy’s spirit guided him through all the way.

This is one of my favourite instrumental albums ever and I wish Alex nothing but all the best in his future career. I know it must be hard to create something like this, but if he ever gets to put another solo album I’ll be one of the first to buy it.
By Murat Batmaz.
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Alex Skolnick– Guitar
Nathan Peck– Bass
Matt Zebroski– Drums, Percussion
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01.Detroit Rock City 6:27
02.Dream On 5:23
03.No One Like You 7:37
04.Goodbye To Romance 7:18
05.Still Loving You 9:11
06.Skol Blues 8:25
07.Pinball Wizard 7:47
08.Ofri 6:46
09.War Pigs 10:33
**

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