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Alex Skolnick Trio

Last Day in Paradise

Review by Gary Hill

This new album by Alex Skolnick Trio is more than just a continuation. Sure there's a lot of great jazz trio music with elements of rock – the reason I put this under prog. There are a couple of covers of rock tunes done in this genre. But there are changes, too. For one thing, the majority of this disc is made up of original songs written just for this release. Secondly, they move closer to rock in places. In fact, the closer is a killer, nearly metal track that really stomps. While I sincerely liked the last disc, I'd have to say that this one is even more remarkable.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 3 at

Track by Track Review
Mercury Retrograde
Mellow but energetic and melodic, this one combines elements of progressive rock with smooth jazz stylings for great effect. It's got a few moments of non-lyrical vocals and is a great opening number that reminds me at times a bit of Pat Metheny.
Last Day in Paradise
The title track is slower and more contemplative. It is full of mystery and drama, but still quite sedate. This one is powerful and very intriguing. Sedate tones finally take the piece out.
Tom Sawyer
Yep, this is the Rush song, but done in an acoustic jazz style. It's quite a cool piece of music, although you might have trouble recognizing it for what it is in the early modes. When the guitar plays the vocal line, though, it becomes a bit more clear. This is a cool piece of music.
Shades of Grey
This is a killer expansive jazz jam that really rocks! It's a highlight of the disc and manages to create a ton of power and energy while still maintaining the mellow jazz element of the music.
Practica Lo Que Predicas (Practice What You Preach)
This comes in noisy and moves out into a faster paced, somewhat off-kilter jam that combines traditional jazz trio textures with RIO and King Crimson-like elements. It moves through a variety of cool changes as one of the most dynamic cuts on show. This is fun and oh so cool!
The Lizard
Another diverse number that moves through a number of cool changes and twists, this one doesn't differ a lot from the musical motifs that make up the rest of the disc. That said, the great groove and killer melodies make it one of the highlights of the CD.
Revelation (Mother Earth)
An acoustic jazz take on an Ozzy Osbourne song? Well, if Pat Boone could do his thing, anything is possible. Actually, this little number is quite a cool piece of work and is seldom recognizable as the source material. It's one of the highlights of the disc and includes some killer instrumental work. The bass in particular really catches my attention. This is intricate and emotionally powerful.
Out There Somewhere
Somewhat more energetic, this killer jazz groove is a great one. It has a lot of intriguing sounds and motifs and works really well. I'd have to mark this one as another highlight of the CD.
Western Sabbath Stomp
This one stomps out in an electric blues abandon, complete with some tasty slide guitar. As one might expect, this turns metallic with a thick guitar sound and a nod to some Sabbath riffs – actually quite a nice sampling of them. This becomes very much along the lines of metal and is very different than the rest of the disc, but with its combination of cowboy sounds, blues and Sab, how can you go wrong? It makes for a great conclusion to the disc.
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