Alex Skolnick Trio Releases ‘Conundrum’, Featuring Bassist Nathan Peck
Thrash metal guitarist Alex Skolnick has an instrumental jazz trio. What??? That’s correct! Not s typo and in case you have been living under a ‘rock’ or a under a blanket of Rock and have not yet branched out into jazz and other, AST has been around nearly two decades and will soon release their 7th kick-ass album!
Known for twisting and mashing rock and metal anthems into jazz bodies for improvisation, this hard hitting instrumental trio has carved quite a niche for themselves mixing and melding jazz and heavy metal over their 18 year career.
Bassist Nathan Peck has always had a tendency toward really getting inside a lot of different styles and leads his own electric jazz group, the Funky Electrical Unit which gigs regularly at the 55 Bar In NYC.
That kind of versatility is what the bassist of a jazz metal guitarist would need and should need. After relocating to New York City in 2002, Nathan Peck joined the band on recommendation of drummer Matt Zebroski who is also fellow Pittsburgh PA native. The powerhouse duo has played together in various forms since there teens and share a vision of playing that leans toward mastering music regardless of genre lines and categories.
Throughout the band’s career they have become known for putting out rocking jazz versions of rock and heavy metal classics by the likes of Kiss, Ozzie, Pink Floyd, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and the Scorpions even covering Rush’s Tom Sawyer and Testament’s Practice What You Preach.
So just how did this Jazz/Metal trio come about? Legend has it that Zebroski recognized Alex with short hair in a music theory class at New School University in 1998 the two began jamming and arranging and improvising on metal and rock anthems and injecting their modern jazz vocabulary and approach into it. Essentially they began creating a “new standard” to work in: Taking songs from way outside the Jazz idiom and making them Jazz. In 2002 along with then bassist John Davis, they released their groundbreaking debut Goodbye To Romance: Standards For A New Generation which received critical praise by Down Beat, Jazziz, and The Village Voice.
Peck joined in 2003 and a 2nd album, Transformation was born followed by Last Day In Paradise in 2007 both for Magna-Carta records. Their 4th record, Veritas 2011 (Palmetto) reached No. 7 on the iTunes jazz charts. Their 5th album Unbound was released in 2016 and is a full-length live album featuring live cuts from shows in Europe during their Europe Unbound Tour and is available on vinyl.
The latest album, Conundrum, marks a new era of music for the trio as they delve further into world music and rock than before.
On the track Culture Shock, they seamlessly mix a country 2-beat in G with a raga-rock groove over Gsusb9 and tie it all together with a fantastic Tihai. The title track Conundrum is a fast paced mixed-meter tune with melody doubled by Peck on his Sadowsky NYC 5-24 tuned E-C. Peck’s own original Protect the Dream, a dark but hopeful jazz ballad turned smashing rock makes for the final track on the album. The lone cover might be the most interesting to date – a piece called Gymnopedie No.1 by French composer and pianist Erik Satie. Drummer Matt Zebroski also contributes a piece- an African drum chant inspired song he calls, Dodge the Bambula. Another Skolnick original Question of Moral Ambiguity has the band swinging hard on a bluesy shuffle and you get to hear the jazz roots come alive. The new record certainly stretches the imagination. At one end you a swinging jazz guitar trio and at the other end you have a heavy rock trio pounding out riffs and grooves! Awe inspiring for sure.
Album release parties are scheduled for September 9th at Reggie’s Rock Club in Chicago IL, September 12th and 13th at Iridium in New York City and September 15th at the Baked Potato in Los Angeles, CA.
For more info visit:
ALEX SKOLNICK TRIO
09.09.2018 US-IL-Chicago, Reggie´s
12.09.2018 US-NY-New York, Iridium
13.09.2018 US-NY-New York, Iridium
15.09.2018 US-CA-Los Angeles, Baked Potato
16.09.2018 US-CA-San Diego, Brick By Brick
17.10.2018 US-TX-The Woodlands, Dosey Doe
18.10.2018 US-TX-San Antonio, Fitzgerald´s Bar
20.10.2018 US-TX-McKinney, The Guitar Sanctuary
21.10.2018 US-TX Austin, The North Door
Nathan Peck endorsee for:
Aguilar, Sadowsky, D’Addario, Fishman, Hipshot, Mono, TC Electronic