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Skolnick Trio, Alex: Last Day in Paradise

The latest release from the Alex Skolnick Trio, Last Day in Paradise, sees the band take a further step forward in their brand of instrumental rock channeled through a jazz trio format. In the past the band has concentrated on reworking hard rock and metal classics in a jazz style, which had really caught on with fans, and here they throw a few our way but mainly feature some stellar original pieces. Joining guitarist Skolnick (who also handles loop programming and vocals) are Nathan Peck on double bass and vocals, and MattZebroski on drums and vocals.

The opening two pieces are solid originals penned by Skolnick, "Mercury Retrograde", which has a slight hint of The Pat Metheny Group, right down to the melodic, Latin styled backing vocals and silky guitar lines, and "Last Day in Paradise", which features for the first time some electronic effects and loops. The band turns in a nifty version of Rush's "Tom Sawyer", which sees Skolnick's blazing guitar melodies flying around the mix surrounded my acrobatic drum and bass work. "Shades of Grey" is a gorgeous jazz shuffle, and another Skolnick original, showing the subtle approach the band has. This is followed by a fiery take on the Testament staple "Practice What You Preach", complete with a slight Latin flavor (hence the title "Practica Lo Que Practicas"), and "The Lizard" is an excuse for Alex to roam around the fretboard like a young Joe Pass. "Channel 4" might be the strongest tune on the album, with an arrangement not unlike what you would expect from 60's era Miles Davis, featuring a great shuffle from Zebroski and lightning jazz licks from Skolnick. The next piece is the last cover tune on the CD, Ozzy's "Revelation (Mother Earth)", as the band once again take a very laid back approach to this metal classic. If you don't pay attention, you might not even notice that this is a cover tune, but what it is is stellar jazz playing by all three musicians. Crystalline chords and smooth soloing from Skolnick shine through on "Out There Somewhere", and the closer is the lone rock piece in the set, the bluesy romp "Western Sabbath Stomp", which fuses fuzz-toned hard rock and Southern Rock styled slide guitar melodies.

The Alex Skolnick Trio continues to push the boundaries of instrumental jazz-rock, and Last Day in Paradise, their latest on Magna Carta's Magnatude Records is another great example of their pioneering work.

Track Listing
1. Mercury Retrograde
2. Last Day In Paradise
3. Tom Sawyer
4. Shades Of Grey
5. Practica Lo Que Predicas
6. The Lizard
7. Channel Four
8. Revelation Mother Earth
9. Out There Somewhere
10. Western Sabbath Stomp

Added: March 7th 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Alex Skolnick Website
Hits: 2356
Language: english

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