Roine Stolt’s The Flower King announces ‘Manifesto Of An Alchemist’

Roine Stolt, known as the guitarist, singer, writer and at times band leader of the groups The Flower Kings, Transatlantic, Agents of Mercy, Kaipa DC, as well as from his work with prog icon Jon Anderson and the new super-group The Sea Within, is releasing a new album on November 23rd, 2018. Under the moniker ROINE STOLT’S THE FLOWER KING, ’Manifesto Of An Alchemist’ offers 10 songs and almost 70 minutes of playing time celebrating the style Roine is most revered for progressive rock, richly orchestrated with all the trademark elements from four decades of the genre.

Roine comments: “Unlike many later albums, where recordings have continued over months, this new album has been a fairly quick and effective affair – we started tracking in Holland at the beginning of July and mix was done by mid-August! The songs are written in a very ‘unorthodox’ way – some melodic content and some riffs are ideas that have been circulating for years – some may even be from before the first TFK album – they just hadn’t found a home in any of the bands/albums I did in the last 15 years yet.”

‘Manifesto Of An Alchemist’ is a celebration of all the styles that have been part of the colorful, daring and dynamic songwriting and arrangements that Roine masters like no other, yet also offers a more immediate, more hands-on approach. “Like that first TFK album, I’m the main lead vocalist here again – it works as these lyrics are important to me and resonate with my view of the world. A lot of the guitar work is actually my spontaneous ‘demo’ guitars” and that goes for much of the synth work, too. I didn’t want to ‘process’ ideas too much as there is much power in the initial creation – I wanted to keep it that way.”

The album features a host of other musicians, including long-time collaborators Jones Reingold, Hans Froberg & Michael Stolt, as well as fellow The Sea Within member Marco Minnemann, Max Lorentz, Zach Kamins, Rob Townsend & Nad Sylvan.

‘Manifesto Of An Alchemist’ features stunning artwork from Shaun Beyond (https://www.instagram.com/shaunbeyond/), and will arrive as a limited edition CD digipak, Gatefold 180g 2LP + CD & as a digital download.

Full track-listing
1.Rainsong
2.Lost America
3.Ze Pawns
4.High Road
5.Rio Grande
6.Next To A Hurricane
7.The Alchemist
8.Baby Angels
9.Six Thirty Wake-Up
10.The Spell Of Money
As previously announced, Roine will take The Flower Kings catalog on tour later this year, as well as playing tracks from this new album. He comments: “I am excited that the album will be released in November this year and at the same time will be in South America playing The Flower Kings music with a band that also includes Hasse Froberg & Jonas Reingold and also introduces two younger friends; Zach Kamins on keyboards and Mirko DiMaio on drums – both fabulous musicians. We will also bring this to Europe where we join forces with legends Spocks Beard.”
South America 2018
16th November – Carioca Club, Sao Paolo, Brazil
18th November – El Teatrito, Buenos Aires, Argentina
19th November – Teatro Nescafe, Santiago, Chile
21st November – Teatro Del Patronato Peruano Chino, Lima, Peru
23rd November – C3 Stage, Guadalajara, Mexico
24th November – Auditoria Blackberry, Mexico City, Mexico
InsideOutMusic 25th Anniversary European Tour feat. Spock’s Beard & Roine Stolt’s The Flower King
30th November – Cosmopolite, Oslo, Norway
1st December – Kulturhuset Studion, Stockholm, Sweden
2nd December – KB, Malmo, Sweden
4th December – Zeche, Bochum, Germany
5th December – Z7, Pratteln, Switzerland
6th December – La Machine, Paris, France
7th December – De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Netherlands
8th December – Hedon, Zwolle, Netherlands
9th December – Islington Assembly Hall, London, UK
10th December – Academy Club, Manchester, UK

STORYUM RELEASE SECOND VIDEO OFF THE ALBUM ‘WE ARE THE FIRE’STORYUM

STORYUM, symphonic-electro band from Slovakia, have released the music video for the second single, “All In”, taken from their forthcoming album, “We Are The Fire”, out on October 12 via Musicarchy Media.

“All In”, filmed in Slovakia, was directed and edited by Elena Mazzei, who already worked on former Skylark singer Kiara Laetitia‘s video “Luv Calamity”.

The new album “We Are The Fire”, is the second full-length for the band and features 10 brand new songs.

Tracklisting:
1. We Are The Fire
2. Half Moon
3. When The Storm Comes
4. All In
5. Higher
6. Take A Rest
7. Play With Me
8. Mother
9. Do You Know Me
10. Own Ghost

STORYUM have been formed in 2006 by JJ (guitars), who was later joined by childhood friend, Ness, on drums, Tie on bass and Raw on vocals. STORYUM succeeded in combing powerful metal riffs with disco-electro parts, symphonic moments and pop choruses – the result is a unique STORYUM sound. In 2011, the band released debut album “Insomnia” via Ravenheart Music.

 

Day of the Dreamer Tour – Music Legends Renaissance Featuring Annie Haslam in Support of Their New DVD Release to Play Select US Dates Fall 2018!

Music legends Renaissance featuring Annie Haslam will be back in the US Northeast playing select dates in November 2018. Based on the great success in 2017 with the addition of a “10-piece Chamber Orchestra” on four of their shows, the band has been invited to once again bring this special line up to the Scottish Rite Auditorium, Collingswood, NJ. November 17th. 2018 marks the 49th year since the band’s formation and its tenth consecutive year of touring since their reactivation in 2009.


photo by Esa Ahola

Renaissance leader and vocalist, Annie Haslam remarks, “The band keeps getting stronger and stronger and the addition of the chamber orchestra has been the most exciting development for the band in years. This addition of ‘live’ orchestral musicians adds an incredible dynamic to our big numbers like ‘Mother Russia,’ ‘Carpet Of The Sun’ and ‘Song For All Seasons,’ Day of the Dreamer, all of which included an orchestra on the original recordings.”

Ms. Haslam will be joined on stage by longtime musical director and associate; Rave Tesar on piano, along with Geoffrey Langley on keyboards, Mark Lambert on guitars, Frank Pagano on drums and percussion, and Leo Traversa on bass.

Tour dates:
NOV 8 THU – THE KENT STAGE – KENT, OH
NOV 9 FRI – THE TRALF – BUFFALO, NY
NOV 11 SUN – YMCA BOULTON CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS – BAY SHORE, NY
NOV 15 THU – BALTIMORE SOUNDSTAGE – BALTIMORE, MD
NOV 16 FRI – NEWTON THEATRE – NEWTON, NJ
NOV 17 SAT – SCOTTISH RITE AUDITORIUM – COLLINGSWOOD, NJ (With The Renaissance Chamber Orchestra)
NOV 18 SUN – TARRYTOWN MUSIC HALL – TARRYTOWN, NY

Renaissance is a band with a rich history unique unto themselves as progressive rock pioneers who rose from the ashes of the seminal UK rock band, The Yardbirds. Acclaimed for their unique blending of progressive rock with classical and symphonic influences, the band’s career has spanned forty plus years spearheaded by the 5-octave voice of Annie Haslam and the masterful songwriting skills of Michael Dunford. They are widely considered to be the band that most successfully and routinely utilized the sound of a full orchestra in their recordings.

The band has toured throughout the world and has performed at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and additionally at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Royal Chorale Society. Renaissance had a top ten hit in the UK with their song Northern Lights that still demands airplay to this day.

On September 14th Renaissance will be releasing their new DVD entitled ‘A Symphonic Journey’. The DVD was filmed in October of 2017 and included for the first time the addition of The Renaissance Chamber Orchestra, a hand-picked group of 10 musicians, including strings, woodwind, brass, and percussion. This is their third DVD release preceded by the 2015 ‘Live at the Union Chapel, London, England’ and the ‘Turn of the Cards/ Scheherazade and Other Stories’ 2011 release ‘Live’ at the Keswick Theatre, Glenside, PA. For this new DVD, the band once again returned to the Keswick Theatre, this time employing the use of track and boom mounted cameras to create more up close and personal shots of the band and orchestra. The concert also featured large-screen projections of original paintings by Annie Haslam, with corresponding titles to each song performed throughout the concert.

Renaissance:
Annie Haslam – Lead Vocalist
Rave Tesar – Keyboards
Tom Brislin – Keyboards & vocals
Mark Lambert – Guitar & vocals
Frank Pagano – Drums, percussion & vocals
Leo Traversa – Bass & vocals

String section 

Joe Deninzon: 1st violin
Eddie Venegas: 2nd violin
Orlando Wells: viola
Leo Grinhauz: cello
Allen Won: clarinets and flutes
Bob Magnuson: double reeds and flutes
Vinnie Cutro: trumpet
Bob Ferrel: trombone
Bill Hughes: french horn

James Musto: percussion

The DVD/2CD set will be available from Amazon USA, Europe, and Japan. Also, ‘Annie Haslam’ signed copies will be available through the band’s website: www.renaissancetouring.com

Click on the links below to watch samples from the new DVD:
Carpet of the Sun w/Renaissance Chamber Orchestra – https://www.facebook.com/pg/RenaissanceTouring/videos/?ref=page_internal
Song for All Seasons w/Renaissance Chamber Orchestra – https://www.facebook.com/RenaissanceTouring/videos/1835487619824141/

You can learn more about the band by visiting:
www.renaissancetouring.com
facebook.com/renaissancetouring
www.anniehaslam.com
facebook.com/anniehaslamart

Joe Deninzon & Stratospheerius to release Limited Edition “Guilty of Innocence” LP. Pre-orders Start this Friday

Melodic Revolution Records is pleased to announce that Joe Deninzon & Stratospheerius will release their LP of their highly acclaimed fifth album “Guilty of Innocence” a year after the official CD release via Melodic Revolution Records. The 10-track LP will be available worldwide in both Physical and Digital formats. As with the previous CD & Digital version “Guilty of Innocence” features special appearances by Alex Skolnick(Testament), Rave Tesar(Renaissance) and Randy McStine (Lo-Fi Resistance, The Fringe).

Guilty of Innocence” highlights include the hit singles “Behind the Curtain” a reimagined cover of Muse’s “Hysteria,” and the 12-minute prog mini-epic titled “Soul Food” which features many of the guests mentioned above, plus “Dream Diary Cadenza,” a solo electric violin extravaganza lifted from Joe’s electric violin concerto.

Stratospheerius is led by founding member, electric violinist & vocalist Joe Deninzonwho has been called the “Jimi Hendrix of the electric violin.” “Guilty of Innocence” features French guitarist Aurelien Budynek(Cindy Blackman, Vernon Reid), bassist Jamie Bishop(The Syn, Francis Dunnery), and drummer Lucianna Padmore, praised by Modern Drummer Magazine for her “Deep grooves and serious fusion chops.”

Joe talks about the Vinyl/LP version of “Guilty of Innocence
Guilty of Innocence was a watershed moment for Stratospheeriusthis past year. After years of touring and putting out CD’s, I felt that this record was embraced by the progressive rock community on a bigger scale than any of our previous releases. In our touring and festival appearances alongside other artists in the prog world, I noticed more and more artists are manufacturing vinyl, and in many cases, it is outselling their CD’s at live shows. I believe the resurgent interest in vinyl has to do with the fact that in the digital age, we consume music on the go in a condensed mp3/streaming format. There is a hunger to hold something tangible in our hands, admire the artwork on a record, and have the home listening experience be something special. We are excited to join the growing community of artists putting out vinyl and hope our fans will buy the record and rediscover it (or DISCOVERit)!

LP Details
Artist: Joe Deninzon & Stratospheerius
Album Title: “Guilty of Innocence”
Status: Limited Edition of 250 copies
Format: 33 rpm black vinyl – LP
Extras: Custom LP sleeve, all LPs come with a FREE download card
Release Date: Monday, October 8th, 2018
Pre-Orders begin Friday, September 14, 2018
Pre-Orders Price $25
Catalog No. MRRLP-12-006
Label: Melodic Revolution Records

Track Listing

Side One
1. Behind The Curtain 03:43
2. Take Your Medicine 04:10
3. Guilty Of Innocence 03:16
4. Face 05:46
5. Hysteria 04:13
6. Affluenza 03:08

Side Two
1. Parallel Reality 03:10
2. Game Of Chicken 05:03
3. Dream Diary Cadenza 04:12
4.Soul Food 12:46

Vinyl Pre-Orders begin Friday, September 14, 2018
https://joedeninzonstratospheerius.bandcamp.com
https://stratospheerius.bandcamp.com

What the critics are saying:

“Joe Deninzon has made a career…wielding his violin like a guitar. In that way, he has pioneered a new standard for rock violin, much the same way Ian Anderson did for flute.”
– PROGRESSION MAGAZINE

This is infectious, with no cure in sight. The arrangements are tight, everyone bounces off each other, and is one of the most poptastic progressive album one is likely to come across
5/5 Kev Rowland // Prog Archives

One of the perks of being a reviewer is that on some days you get the pleasure of getting introduced to some music or bands you never heard of but are actually quite good. Or in the case of Joe Deninzon And Stratospheerius, really good!
9/10 Arno Agterberg // DPRP

Joe Deninzon’s music is always both entertaining and creative. I have to say that this might very well be the best Stratospheerius album.
Gary Hill // Music Street Journal

The album comes with plenty of Progressive Rock tracks, it’s the other songs containing other styles that help to make the release even more entertaining. If you happen to be a fan of Progressive Rock, the new album of Guilty of Innocence album from Joe Deninzon and the band Stratospheerius is one album you need to check out.
Matheson Kamin // The Rock and Roll Report

Upcoming Shows

Sonic Voyage Festival and “Vinyl Release Party” with special guests
Oct 4th, 2018  doors at 7 pm
Shrine World Music Venue
2274 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. NY, NY
https://www.shrinenyc.com

ProgStock Festival
October 6th2018 at Midnight

Union County Performing Arts Center
1601 Irving Street, Rahway, New Jersey 07065
https://www.progstock.com/

Joe Deninzon & Stratospheerius Online.
Official Website: http://www.stratospheerius.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stratospheerius/
Twitter: www.twitter.com/@stratospheerius
Spotify: spoti.fi/2Qp5CmI
MRR Artist Profile: http://mrrmusic.com/joe-deninzon-stratospheerius/

Media Contact: Anne Leighton
Leighton Media anne@AnneLeighton.com

Label: Melodic Revolution Records
Nick Katona: nick@melodicrevolution.com

Melodic Revolution Records Online:
http://mrrmusic.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MelodicRevolutionRecords/ 
https://www.facebook.com/MelodicRevolutionRecords/
https://www.youtube.com/c/MelodicRevolutionRecordsMusic 
https://twitter.com/MusicIsOurVoice 

Melodic Revolution Records Spotify Playlists:
https://open.spotify.com/user/melodicrevolutionrecords

DAMANEK to Release New Album “In Flight ” 5th October 2018.

We are so excited about this new album which is somewhat darker than “On Track” and features a three part epic suite called “Big Eastern”.

1. Ragusa
2. Skyboat
3. The Crawler
4. Moon-Catcher (Heaven Song Pt.2)
5. The Crossing
6. Big Eastern (Part One – Cruel Skies)
7. Big Eastern (Part Two – The Shaking Earth)
8. Big Eastern (Part Three – A Life in Chinatown)

Guy Manning, Sean Timms, Marek Arnold, Dan Mash
with our guests Luke Machin, Brody Green, Antonio Vittozzi, Tzan Niko, Raf Azaria, DavidB, Julie King, Kev Currie & the Gospo Collective and Jones Commentary choir.

Music & Lyrics Guy Manning
Mix & Production: Sean Timms

The album is described as “Dark and Dense, Intense and Immense…. ”

The Damanek Web site will be updated as the album is released with pages for each song, the lyrics, the players plus some insights into what the piece is about and background information.

But why wait…you can pre-order the album right NOW!! 
http://www.guymanning.com/damanek/damanek-orders.html ]

TOUR DATE – UPDATES:

GEP Presents “Damanek and Southern Empire ‘In Flight’ tour of the U.K. and Europe November/December 2018”

In November 2018, internationally renowned progressive rock bands Damanek and Southern Empire will join forces and embark upon their debut tour of the United Kingdom and Europe.

Damanek, featuring members from three different nations, is the brainchild of visionary multi-instrumentalist / singer-songwriter Guy Manning. The group released their debut album ‘On Track’ in early 2017 to critical acclaim appearing in many ‘Best album of 2017’ polls and will release their follow-up album ‘In Flight’ on the 5th October this year through GEP Records.

Guy Manning, commenting on the upcoming album and tour stated, “Since we played that memorable set at Summers End X Festival in 2016, I have been constantly asked ‘When are you going to play live again?’ and I have always had to say “…as soon as we can”…but now I can say “SOON!” The new album “In Flight” will be ready for the tour and it has some fantastic new pieces on it, which we are keen to perform live along with some of the favorites from ‘On Track’. Should be one hell of a show!”

Southern Empire, hailing from Adelaide, South Australia have just released their second album “Civilisation” through GEP.

We are happy to report that it is getting some fantastic reviews in its first few weeks!

Led by composer / producer / keyboardist Sean Timms, Southern Empire was formed from the ashes of symphonic prog. band Unitopia in 2014 and have quickly established themselves as one of the premiere live and studio acts of the current prog. era.

“It’s always extremely exciting to release a new album and then take those songs on the road.
I think we have a very strong set of new songs to compliment the older material and we’re really looking forward to bringing our unique blend of ‘prog ’n’ roll’ (as Danny Lopresto, our lead vocalist calls it) to our friends and fans in the U.K. and Europe.”Sean Timms.

For the European leg of the tour, Damanek and Southern Empire will be joined by special guests / friends Seven Steps to the Green Door.

“It’s great to be back on stage with Damanek 2 years after our first set at Summers End festival and promoting a brand new album. For the European dates of the tour, my mates in “Seven Steps to the Green Door” will join in for a triple bill of great songs from all the current albums and from our forthcoming new album THE?LIE, which will be released right in time for the tour! – Marek Arnold.

TOUR DATES (Updated):

For Tickets please visit:
http://www.guymanning.com/damanek/damanek-live.html ]

Southern Empire

17/11/18 – HRH PROG Festival, Pwllheli, North Wales.

Damanek, Southern Empire and our Special guests, Seven Steps to the Green Door

Wed 21/11/18 – Bergkeller, Reichenbach, Germany.

Thu 22/11/18 – Spirit of 66, Verviers, Belgium.

Sat 24/11/18 – De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands.

Damanek and Southern Empire

Tue 27/11/18 – The Vic, Swindon, U.K.

Wed 28/11/18 – The Joiners, Southampton, U.K.

Thu 29/11/18 – The Robin 2, Bilston, U.K.

Fri 30/11/18 – Boston Music Room, Tufnell Park, London, U.K.

Sat 01/12/18 – Classic Rock Society (CRS), Maltby, U.K.

Please note: As joint headliners on the tour, Southern Empire and Damanek will be alternating and mixing up the final slot of each night to allow both bands a chance to play slightly extended sets…however we are not telling who / when!

Damanek: www.damanek.com / www.facebook.com/DamanekBand
Southern Empire: www.southernempireband.com / www.facebook.com/southernempireband
Seven Steps to the Green Door: www.ssttgd.de

ALEX SKOLNICK TRIO to release ‘Conundrum’

If you’ve attempted to keep up with the news cycle in recent years, then Conundrum, the title of the Alex Skolnick Trio’s new album from Palmetto Records/MRI, should be a no-brainer. “It represents the sense of confusion many of us are feeling in the midst of the strangest sociopolitical upheavals of our lifetimes,” says Skolnick, the guitarist and composer who helped define thrash metal as a founding member of Testament, before establishing himself on the international jazz scene. “This album captures many styles in an effort to channel that angst into art and inspire others to do likewise.”

Photo by Nelson Oh, Electric Eyes Photography (electriceyesphotography.blogspot.com)
Ironically, given its globally pertinent message, Conundrum is in many ways Skolnick’s most intimate record yet. It is the trio’s first new studio album since 2011’s Veritas, and it features original music almost exclusively, with six compositions by Skolnick, one apiece by bassist Nathan Peck and drummer Matt Zebroski, and a gorgeous interpretation of maverick composer Erik Satie’s “Gymnopédie No. 1.”
Far removed from the musical tunnel vision of “guitar” or “shred” albums, Conundrumreflects Skolnick’s wide-ranging knowledge as a player and, even more important, as a listener. “What would I want to hear, regardless of the instrument and regardless of technique?” he asks. “That’s the type of music I try to create as an improviser and composer.”
The multi-layer, multi-section songs that resulted are, in a word, sweeping— and include plenty for guitar heads to dig into after all. Skolnick’s “Unbound,” part of which originated on piano, kicks off Conundrum with springy slapped harmonics. Beautiful chordal work follows, as well as soloing that lays out the guitarist’s m.o. as a lead player: to tell a story by varying his attack, tone, intensity and harmonic approach with masterful control. “Django Tango,” which Skolnick originally wrote for his acclaimed world-music project Planetary Coalition, is precisely what it proclaims to be—a sensual commingling of Reinhardt and Piazzolla (plus, Skolnick notes, a touch of downtown attitude via Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos Postizos).

The record’s title track feels open and airy, with inspiration culled from Chick Corea’s Spanish-influenced acoustic tunes. (The melodies are so whimsical that you might not notice the section in 5/4, or that the solos’ order upends jazz tradition.) Peck steps away from his double bass, proving a nimble presence on the electric bass here and on a couple of other tunes. A lover of classical piano, Skolnick plays Satie’s melancholy reverie on steel-string acoustic, atop Peck and Zebroski’s suitably graceful, empathetic backing.

“Culture Shock,” on which Skolnick alternates between hollowbody and Telecaster, is a go-for-broke mashup that flies from Nashville to Dubai and back again; it’s also one of the album’s tunes where the title puts Skolnick’s social and political ideas in plain sight.
Zebroski’s “Dodge the Bamboula” borrows its changes from “Dodge the Dodo,” by the late Swedish pianist-composer Esbjörn Svensson, and applies them to the much-overlooked bamboula rhythm that became a cornerstone of New Orleans’ second-line groove. During a middle section, Skolnick picks up a Gypsy-jazz guitar and we’re transported to a café in ’30s-era Paris. Skolnick’s “Key of Sea,” crafted toward the end of the album’s writing session, takes its cinematic textures from the ambient-music innovator Brian Eno and from ECM Records. (Like so many jazz devotees, Skolnick was ecstatic when ECM began streaming its entire catalog last fall; “Key of Sea” was particularly influenced by one of the label’s curated playlists, “ECM Atmospheres.”) “I think I realized not every tune needs a super-singable melody,” Skolnick comments. The album’s last two tunes find the trio more firmly on jazz terrain: “A Question of Moral Ambiguity” is a hip midtempo swinger that allows Skolnick and company to get their blues fix; and “Protect the Dream” (not to be confused with the Grover Washington Jr. tune of the same name) finds Peck, its composer, digging deep into post-Wayne Shorter harmony. Skolnick spends most of the track on steel-string acoustic, but goes full electric tilt to close, per Peck’s request.

Photo by FotoGOLAB

Born in 1968 and raised in the Bay Area, Alex Skolnick was still a teenager when he made heavy-metal history on Testament’s essential debut, The Legacy. Over his next five years with the band, he cemented his reputation as one of metal’s most gifted lead guitarists, setting chops benchmarks with his work on songs like “Burnt Offerings” and “Practice What You Preach.” He left Testament in 1992 and rejoined in 2005, and following his return the band has released three well-received studio albums and remained a major touring act in heavy music. Most recently Testament has been hitting arenas and amphitheaters as part of Slayer’s blockbuster “Final World Tour.” In 1995, after nearly getting the guitar spot in Ozzy Osbourne’s band — the Prince of Darkness seemed thrilled; his wife/manager Sharon, less so — Skolnick found himself at a crossroads. “The ultimate guitar gig, and then for it not to happen, that was really motivating for me. I really asked myself, ‘What am I going to do?’ Especially in the mid-’90s, when the guitar solo was disappearing from rock. And what do I want to do?”

His interest in jazz had been gathering steam since before he left Testament, so Skolnick headed east toward the end of the decade and enrolled at Manhattan’s venerable New School. It was there that he dug even deeper into recordings by Miles, Trane, Wes, Jim Hall, Scofield, Metheny and more; studied with jazz greats like saxophonist George Garzone and bassist Reggie Workman; and formed his trio, which debuted on record in 2002 with Goodbye to Romance: Standards for a New Generation.

The album, with its wholly convincing jazz makeovers of hard-rock staples by Kiss, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith and more, made waves that roiled through the jazz, rock and guitar communities. “The strong melodies lend themselves to improvisation in a way that their composers never imagined,” Tad Hendrickson wrote in The Village Voice. And in DownBeat, Glenn Astarita offered, “Besides the musicians’ technical prowess, they execute these rock tunes with a slant that might imply an antithesis to what was originally conceived.”

Dates at high-profile venues like the Iridium, in Manhattan, Yoshi’s, in Oakland, and the Blue Note Milano followed, as did three more critically lauded studio albums. Each of those contained at least one rock-to-postbop transformation, which has become something of a calling card for the trio. “Doing the cover tunes was something I stumbled upon,” Skolnick says. “There have been so many albums and interpretations of jazz standards and the Great American Songbook, but I really felt a connection to these songs.”

On Conundrum, however, the opportunity to showcase his inspired original music was too good to pass up. “I’m not saying we’ll never do another [rock cover],” Skolnick says, also pointing out that the vinyl version of Conundrum will contain a rendition of Scorpions’ classic ballad “Still Loving You.” “But I always wanted to expand as a composer. I always wanted my instrumental work to reflect that.”

Expansion, progress, the trust that develops within a band—these are concepts Skolnick wades into when discussing the future of the trio, and of his life in music. “With every record we do, every gig, I feel like there’s a sense of improvement,” he says. “I feel like I’m playing circles around where we were when I started improvising. Scofield, Metheny, Jeff Beck— my improvising idols—they’re always developing.”

And while Testament continues to thrive, it’s the trio and its repertoire that Skolnick can see growing old with. “These days I still love playing screaming, loud guitar and heavy metal, though I don’t think I’m going to be one of these guys who’s past social-security age and in a rock band and touring,” he says. “But I can see myself doing these songs with the trio for many years to come.”


Photo by FotoGOLAB

ALEX SKOLNICK TRIO
is promoting the new album performing live
Sept 9 – Chicago, IL (Reggie’s)
Sept 12 &13- New York, NY (The Iridium)
Sept 15- Los Angeles, CA (The Baked Potato) w/ Stu Hamm
Sept 16 – San Diego, CA (Brick By Brick)
Oct 17 – The Woodlands, TX (Dosey Doe)
Oct 18 – San Antonio, TX (Fitzgerald’s)
Oct 20 – McKinney, TX (The Guitar Sanctuary)

Booking contact

Europe, North America
MAXIMUM Booking / Jeff Aug
info@MAXIMUMbooking.com

Central & South America, Asia, Oceania, Africa
MoonJune Music / Leonardo Pavkovic
noanoamusic@moonjune.com

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