Former TESTAMENT/SAVATAGE Axeman Mixes Metal And Jazz On Freshly-Issued CD

New York's ALEX SKOLNICK TRIO, led by former TESTAMENT/SAVATAGE guitarist Alex Skolnick, have just released their debut album, entitled Goodbye To Romance: Standards For A New Generation, consisting of classic hard rock tunes from the '70s and '80s rearranged with rich harmonies and pulsating grooves of swing, funk and Latin in what is truly an unprecedented mix of metal and jazz.

The full track listing for Goodbye To Romance: Standards For A New Generation is as follows:

01. Detroit Rock City (KISS) (6:27)
02. Dream On (AEROSMITH) (5:23)
03. No One Like You (THE SCORPIONS) (7:37)
04. Goodbye To Romance (OZZY OSBOURNE) (7:18)
05. Still Loving You (THE SCORPIONS) (9:11)
06. Skol Blues (ALEX SKOLNICK) (8:25)
07. Pinball Wizard (THE WHO) (7:47)
08. Ofri (ALEX SKOLNICK) (6:46)
09. War Pigs (BLACK SABBATH) (10:33)

According to Skolnick, I can't express how great it is to have this project released. It's been awhile since my TESTAMENT days, and it's taken a lot of hard work to find my own voice and direction. Although I've played on collaborative albums and recorded a demo EP (SKOL PATROL), I just couldn't release anything as a real 'album' until I felt ready. I've said it before: I consider this to be my first solo album.

MP3 clips of "Detroit Rock City", "No One Like You", and "War Pigs" can be downloaded from the guitarist's web site at this location.

In other news, Alex recently fulfilled a lifelong dream of writing music for television. According to the guitarist, in January, I had the privilege of being hired to compose, arrange and record a big band jazz piece for the USA Network's broadcast of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden. This is the highest rated show on the network and it was a real honor to be given this opportunity. This piece was commissioned through Mark Wood Music Productions and couldn't have been done without Mark's valuable guidance and production skills. Thanks also to my fabulous assistant arranger and pianist, Mee Eun Kim.

The tune is barely a minute long, but with sixteen instruments (four saxes, four trumpets, four trombones, guitar, piano, bass, drums), a lot of time went into that one minute. Although I studied big-band arranging during my last year at New School, I wasn't sure I'd ever have the chance to use these skills in a professional situation. While it does take a lot of time and energy, there is a special satisfaction one gets hearing the result of these efforts, and I look forward to writing other big band pieces someday.

The idea was to capture the feel of the bands of the swing era, such as LOUIS PRIMA or COUNT BASIE, while some of the harmonies are inspired by more modern composers. While I wasn't aware of a lot of big-band music before school, I find a lot of it is really fascinating to listen to and I encourage others to check it out. Some of my favorites: Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Buddy Rich (especially his late 70's early 80's funk bands) and Gil Evans.

The piece was featured in a short video which showed dogs taking over New York, doing things like driving cabs, running on treadmills, selling hot dogs (get it?), etc... It aired opening night and sections of the tune were scattered throughout closing night as well. At this point, the only way to check it out is to find a dog lover who may have taped the show (or you could order the video on-line from USA Network, but that's costly). But soon there will be a sound clip so you can hear the music on this site.

Also on the Skolnick front, the MTV series Making The Band will soon be featuring a song from another of Alex's projects, SKOL PATROL, which issued an acclaimed demo EP some time ago. No air date has yet been announced for the show.

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