Review: Alex Skolnick Trio

Alex Skolnick Trio
“Goodbye to Romance:  Standards for a New Generation”
(Skol Productions)

I recognized the name from my old Guitar Player issues, and of course as the guitarist of Testament.  This guy shreds.  So what does the Alex Skolnick Trio bring to the table?  A jazzy re-working of some of rocks most recognizable anthems.  I’ve heard the ‘lounge version of rock songs’ thing done before.  It’s usually talentless ass-clowns pissing on top of some good rock music in order to make a cheap and gimmick laced buck.

This is not the case here.

Mr. Skolnick is a guitarist’s guitarist.  His talent level 10+ years ago would shame most of today’s guitar “heroes”.  So what has the metal-head been up to for the last 10 years?  Studying jazz theory apparently.  So unable to give up his rocking roots, Alex has put together a talented trio and revamped some classics into a loose, jazzy foray of their former self’s.  The recognizable hooks are all there immediately to get the recognition factor going, but then the songs take divergent paths allowing for much jazz noodling.  Soft and moody effects permeate once roof burner rock anthems.  “Detroit Rock City” (Kiss), “Dream On” (Aerosmith), “No One Like You” (Scorpions), “Pinball Wizard”  (The Who) and “War Pigs” (Black Sabbath) were all standout.  A couple of more you will recognize and Alex even tossed in two of his own numbers.  If you are an 80’s rocker that has grown old and now think jazz is ‘hip’, you can’t miss.  The rest of you should just get a kick out the reaction a jazzed ‘Detroit Rock City’ will bring out in your next dinner party.