American jazz music trio comprising the guitarist Alex Skolnick, Matt Zebroski on drums, and Nathan Peck on bass. Previously, John Davis played bass for the group. The Trio is known for its inventive jazz take on hard rock and heavy metal "standards". Alex Skolnick himself is a member of thrash metal band Testament.
Last Day in Paradise is an album released on March 15, 2007 by the Alex Skolnick Trio, on the Magnatude Records label. The album was recorded from October 4–7, 2006.
When Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick jumped ship before touring for 1992’s hugely successful The Ritual, few fans seemed to notice on the initial dates (as there were no Internet postings back then). When the Return to the Apocalyptic City
EP came out a year later, he was sadly absent, having been replaced by
Forbidden axeman Glen Alvelais, though Skolnick’s musical career had
taken a 180° turn—into jazz. He went back to school, earned a BFA, and
formed the Alex Skolnick Trio, releasing their 2002 debut Goodbye to Romance, which featured jazz covers of classic rock standards. Another album, Transformation, followed in 2004, and this year holds AST’s high-water mark in Last Day in Paradise.
Opener “Mercury Retrograde” percolates with the group’s now-trademark
interplay, while the laid-back title track simmers with a Rush-like
ambience. Speaking of which, Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” is covered next, though
listeners will be hard-pressed to discern it from the first minute or
so. The band turns the tune inside out, tempos changed, and chords bent
into a whole new composition that must be heard to be believed. “Shades
of Grey” is another ballad-like number that precedes “Practica Que Lo
Predicas,” Skolnick’s jazzy rendition of Testament’s “Practice What You
Preach.” The Stevie Ray Vaughn-flavored “The Lizard” with Nathan Peck’s
double-bass workout gives way to “Channel 4,” spotlighting Matt
Zebroski’s exceptional drum fills. Another cover, Ozzy’s “Revelation
(Mother Earth),” reveals a previously unexplored side of Randy Rhoads’
melodic soloing, and the Peck-penned “Out There Somewhere” could easily
be tagged as contemporary jazz as Skolnick’s archtop guitar echoes
mellifluously throughout, with more of Zebroski’s Neil Peart-like fills
at the fade-out. Brandishing swatches of “Fairies Wear Boots,” the
über-fuzzy “Western Sabbath Stomp” sounds like prime Sab as interpreted
by Blackfoot, a forward-thinking country rocker like Steve Earle, or
even the adventurous California Guitar Trio. It’s also the first time
that Skolnick has played slide guitar on a record, though he totally
sounds like a natural.
From the first note to the last, the band truly gels on this release,
and unlike previous albums, the original compositions aren’t at all
pedantic, nor are the cover songs fraternizing or too high-brow for
casual fans. Since Skolnick and co. are very busy with other various
projects, let’s hope that they remember that AST have not yet seen their
Last Day in Paradise and will rightfully raise the ante on their next album.
The Alex Skolnick Trio, the band led by Testament guitarist Alex
Skolnick, release their latest album, LAST DAY IN PARADISE. LAST DAY IN
PARADISE includes the Testament classic "Practice What You Preach"
reinter[reted as a Latin Jazz piece and Rush's "Tom Sawyer" in a power
Jazz trio setting, along with many more.
This is real, no messing around jazz. Skolnick is so talented, and his
jazz take on Rush and Sabbath remind us that the venerable standards of
the jazz canon once started out as popular songs themselves. This guy
has chops and taste for days.
One of the greatest albums for AST. I am not a fan of jazz, but Alex
knows how to make you fall in love in his own jazz genre. try playing
this album after coming back from home and you'll see how much relaxing
and energetic this music can be. i think it tops Veritas in some ways.
1. "Mercury Retrograde" 4:33
2. "Last Day in Paradise" 4:51
3. "Tom Sawyer (Rush cover)" 6:35
4. "Shades of Grey" 6:23
5. "Practica Lo Que Predicas (Practice What You Preach) (Testament cover)" 5:16
6. "The Lizard" 5:17
7. "Channel 4" 4:26
8. "Revelation (Mother Earth) (Ozzy Osbourne cover)" 7:20
9. "Out There Somewhere" 4:48
10. "Western Sabbath Stomp" 5:24
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Twelve-String Guitar, Loops [Loops Programming], Vocals – Alex Skolnick
Double Bass, Vocals – Nathan Peck
Drums, Vocals – Matt Zebroski