Home » Jazz Musicians » Alex Skolnick

Alex Skolnick

Alex Skolnick, born in 1968, grew up in Berkeley, California. At age nine, a fascination with the rock group Kiss led to a desire to learn guitar.

At age sixteen, Alex tried out for a local band called Legacy. Shortly after graduating from high school, he found himself recording his first album with the group, who by this time had changed their name to Testament. What followed were five albums and countless tours with, among others, Megadeth, Slayer, Judas Priest, and White Zombie. Alex received critical acclaim for his lead guitar work, which had been inspired by heroes such as Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads, ranking high in many guitar magazine polls, often as 'Best Thrash Guitarist' and 'Most Underrated Guitarist.'

In addition to his metal accomplishments, Alex has made a mark that no one would have predicted: as a jazz guitarist. In 1988, while working on the second Testament album, nineteen year old Alex happened to capture one of Miles Davis’ guitar driven electric bands on television. This inspired an intense study of jazz, leading to, his eventual relocating to New York City, where he earned a BfA from New School University's jazz program (class of 2001).

It was at the New School where Alex Skolnick Trio was born. Their first recording, "Goodbye To Romance:Standards For A New Generation" brought together the worlds of metal and traditional jazz in an unprecedented blend. 'GTR' reached the top 30 on the US jazz radio charts, earned a full page article in Billboard and received rave reviews from Downbeat, Jazziz and other magazines; on-line retailer CDBaby listed GTR among it's top sellers. What followed was a recording contract with Magnatude Records and a sucessful follow up CD, Transformation. Alex Skolnick Trio continues to tour at jazz and rock venues as well as festivals, including the Rochester Intl. Jazz Festival and the Riverbend Festival in Chatanooga.

Alex is also a featured member of several high profile rock/pop/theater projects. Most notable of these is the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which performs to sold out crowds across the U.S. at such venues as New York's Madison Square Garden. With TSO, Alex has regular television appearances including Good Morning America and Live With Regis And Kelly. Alex is also featured in Jekyll & Hyde In Concert, the first touring version of the hit Broadway show, and is a key element in the new Jekyll soundtrack album on Koch records. Jekyll & Hyde composer Frank Wildhorne writes in the liner notes 'It all became clear when I heard Alex's incredible guitar playing. It is his sound, his sense of theater and the passion that lives in his playing that was, for me, the musical voice I had to have for these songs.' Another hit composer who Alex has been working with lately is Jim Steinman, who created the songs for Meatloaf's classic album 'Bat Out Of Hell.' Jim's latest project, the 'Dream Engine' is a group including Alex and AST drummer Matt Zebroski, performing a collection of his new songs and classics including 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart' whose singer, Bonnie Tyler, is a frequent guest at the Dream Engine's live shows.

Read more


Liner Notes

Percy Jones, Alex Skolnick, Kenny Grohowski, Tim Motzer: PAKT

Read "Percy Jones, Alex Skolnick, Kenny Grohowski, Tim Motzer: PAKT" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

It was the Plague Year, and musicians denied the ability to tour and play in front of a live audience quickly began to pivot to virtual concerts. As early as April performances from musician's homes started (including one large series that was titled Live From Our Living Rooms). By August some conventional performance venues had gotten into the act, including the Village Vanguard and Smalls Jazz Club in New York City. But this ShapeShifter Lab concert felt like a real ...

Radio & Podcasts

Alex Skolnick Trio, Mark Lettieri, Jan Hammer and Erik Escobar

Read "Alex Skolnick Trio, Mark Lettieri, Jan Hammer and Erik Escobar" reviewed by Len Davis

Music from Alex Skolnick, Mark Lettieri and Cory Wong. Jan Hammer, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Steve Khan.Playlist Grafitti “Good Groove" from Good Groove (Lipstick) 00:00 Alex Skolnick Trio “Key Of Sea" from Conundrum (Palmetto) 06:03 Mark Lettieri “Magnetar" from Deep: The Baritone Sessions (Leopard) 12:18 Cory Wong “Concrete" from Power Station (Self Produced) 18:26 Jan Hammer-Jeff Beck “Drive" from Drive (Miramar) 24:35 Jan Hammer “Midnight" from Beyond The Minds Eye (Miramar) 30:46 Erik Escobar “Taffa" from Erik Escobar (Self ...

Album Review

Jones / Skolnick / Grohowski / Motzer: PAKT

Read "PAKT" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

Recent internal polling serves to prove that most actively conscious homo sapiens are seriously seeking out a few more hours of headspace a day. With that comes the need to fill it with anything but blinks, tweets, notifications or the incessant slate of current events. And with that comes a soundtrack: equal measures invention, noise, humor, daring. With that in mind, MoonJune Records presents this twin-disc set from guitarists Alex Skolnick, Tim Motzer (who kindly handles electronics), drummer Kenny Grohowski ...

Radio & Podcasts

Erik Escobar, Steve Hunt, Michael Manring, Alex Skolnick and much more

Read "Erik Escobar, Steve Hunt, Michael Manring, Alex Skolnick and much more" reviewed by Len Davis

Tracks from Steve Hunt's Attraction and Sixun's Nouvelle Vague plus, Attention Deficit with Michael Manring, the Alex Skolnick Trio, Third Rail with George Whitty and Dave Holland.Playlist Elektrik Market “Attraction" from Attraction (Spice Rack) 00:00 Sixun “Mo Moustic No Frog" from Nouvelle Vague (Birdology) 06:51 Attention Deficit “American Jingo" from The Idiot King (Magna Carta) 13:59 Michael Manring “Cruel and Unusual" from Thonk (High Street) 20:53 Alex Skolnick Trio “Scorch" from Transformation (Magnatude) 27:56 Cosmosquad “The Scene" from ...

Radio & Podcasts

Alex Skolnick, Nicklas Brannstrom, Samo Salamon, adam Holzman and more

Read "Alex Skolnick, Nicklas Brannstrom, Samo Salamon, adam Holzman and more" reviewed by Len Davis

New and recent music from Alex Skolnick, The Mad Lab, Nicklas Brannstrom and The Fat Suit. Plus, more from Adam Holzman with The Last Gig and guitarist Samo Salamon from his album Almost Alone Vol 1.Playlist Alex Skolnick “Conundrum" from Conundrum (Palmetto) 00:00 The Mad Lab “The Maze in the Mind" from Design of Experiments (Self Produced) 07:33 Nicklas Brannstrom “Cloudinium" from Circle of Silence (Self Produced)15:13 Fat Suit “Mombasa" from Waifs and Strays (Equinox) 22:43 Samo Salamon ...

Live Review

PAKT at ShapeShifter Lab

Read "PAKT at ShapeShifter Lab" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

PAKT ShapeShifter Lab Brooklyn, New York August 15, 2020 For their live stream concert from Brooklyn's ShapeShifter Lab, guitarists Alex Skolnick and Tim Motzer, fretless bass guitarist Percy Jones and drummer Kenny Grohowski followed New York's pandemic guidelines: they wore masks and maintained a six-foot social distance. So retroactively, organizer Leonardo Pavkovic dubbed the group PAKT. They are all very experienced players. Skolnick is best known as the lead guitarist in the thrash metal band ...

Album Review

Alex Skolnick: Transformation

Read "Transformation" reviewed by Andrey Henkin

Despite his best efforts, guitarist Alex Skolnick remains a novelty in the exclusive jazz community. Why he should care though is another question, given that as a thrash metal guitarist, he probably sold more records than Miles Davis. His decision to be reborn as a jazz player has been well documented, as has his movement to create a new set of standards based on the hard rock oeuvre. His second album continues this effort with the inclusion of material by ...

Read more articles


Alex Skolnick: The 1st Artistshare Profile Interview

Alex Skolnick: The 1st Artistshare Profile Interview

Source: Brian Camelio

We are pleased to announce the launch of the ArtistShare Profile series featuring exclusive interviews with ArtistShare artists focusing on inspirations, current projects, and the creative process. The first interview in the ArtistShare Profile series features acclaimed guitarist Alex Skolnick. Check out Alex's interview here. This series is part of our 10-year anniversary celebration. On October 15, 2013 ArtistShare, the pioneer of crowdfunding, celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the launch of its first project - Maria Schneider's Concert in the ...


Pianist-Composer Randy Klein Releases Second Two Duos Project "What's Next?" Featuring Bassist Boris Kozlov and Guitarist Alex Skolnick.

Pianist-Composer Randy Klein Releases Second Two Duos Project "What's Next?" Featuring Bassist Boris Kozlov and Guitarist Alex Skolnick.

Source: Two for the Show Media

For the second in his series of Two Duos recordings, pianist-composer, Randy Klein engages in musical conversation on What's Next?, featuring electric bass guitarist virtuoso Boris Kozlov and guitarist Alex Skolnick.  What's Next?, is the followup to his 2010 acclaimed CD, Sunday Morning, which showcased Klein in duets with trombonist, Chris Washburne and Russian saxophonist, Oleg Kireyev. This outing summons up the delicate interaction of pianist Bill Evans and guitarist Jim Hall on their classic 1962 encounter, Undercurrent, and the ...


Performance / Tour

Alex Skolnick Trio: U.S. Tour

Alex Skolnick Trio: U.S. Tour

Source: JamBase

TOUR STARTS DECEMBER 5 IN PHILADELPHIA The Alex Skolnick Trio will be on the road this December in support of their fourth album, Veritas (Palmetto). Blending the elegance and sophistication of jazz with the conviction of rock, the Trio's supporters range from international superstars Rodrigo y Gabriela, who chose the trio as their support act on tours throughout the US and Europe in 2010 (and recruited Alex as a guest on their album 11/11) to Metallica's Robert Trujillo, who joined ...



Alex Skolnick Incorporates Thrash-Metal Origins Into His Jazz Work

Alex Skolnick Incorporates Thrash-Metal Origins Into His Jazz Work

Source: All About Jazz @ Spinner

People have their own path to becoming a jazz musician. Sometimes a parent or other family member who plays. Sometimes a musician starts off in one direction and then goes in another. Alex Skolnick has to be one of the most unique examples of the latter. The guitarist joined the thrash-metal band Testament when his was 16, immediately putting him on tours with arena acts like Judas Priest, Megadeath, White Zombie and Slayer. Within a few years he began to ...



Alex Skolnick and Rock House Break the Barriers of Jazz Guitar in a New 3 DVD Set

Alex Skolnick and Rock House Break the Barriers  of Jazz Guitar in a New 3 DVD Set

Source: Michael Ricci

West Haven, CT. -- Rock House, the leader in music instruction, announced today the release of JAZZ GUITAR, Breaking the Traditional Barriers, a new Three DVD set featuring guitarist Alex Skolnick who is world renowned for creating an unprecedented blend of Metal and traditional Jazz. On his first-ever instructional program, Alex shares his perspectives and secrets for conquering Jazz guitar. Using basic Blues progressions, he guides you through Jazz concepts and shows how to follow progressions by targeting chord tones, ...

"Skolnick demonstrates that translating the energy of rock to a jazz context can be a more subtle thing, showing that you can imbue more traditional trappings of swing, modal playing and richer harmony with an edge that doesn't spoil their essential purity." —All About Jazz

"Yes, here a metalhead is reborn as a heady jazz guitarist in the Metheny-Scofield mold." —Jazziz

"Skolnick's revved-up trio stunningly reconfigures tunes by rock icons into jazz-based, guitar trio fare." —Downbeat

"With its creative arrangements and energetic compositions, Skolnick's trio makes a definitive statement for it's leader." —Billboard



Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


MoonJune Records


Last Day In Paradise

Magnatude Records



Magnatude Records



Magnatude Records


Mercury Retrograde

From: Last Day In Paradise
By Alex Skolnick


Mahavishnu Orchestra
band / ensemble / orchestra
Oz Noy
guitar, electric
Tom Coster
Scot Ray
guitar, steel
Vital Information
band / ensemble / orchestra
Dixie Dregs
band / ensemble / orchestra
Forgas Band Phenomena
band / ensemble / orchestra

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.