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alexskolnick alexskolnick

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Alex Skolnick  Guitarist, Writer, World traveller. All pics by yours truly (except the ones I'm in, shares etc) via iPhone


Beautiful day (warm but not too hot) in New York. Touring is fun & all, but love being a local NYC guitarist, bouncing from rehearsal to rehearsal to recording. Between today & yesterday: rehearsed for gig Thurs at @theiridium w Jane Getter Premonition (w Adam Holzman - Miles Davis keyboardist, Mark Egan Pat Metheny Group bassist & Rocky Bryant drms) & rehearsed for a gig Friday at @rockwoodmusichall as guest of amazing new improv group @houseofwaters (fresh of their tour with Snarky Puppy). In between, popped into studio & laid down tracks for @metalallegiance II. #NYC #workingmusician #Guitar #ItsAllMusic #varietyisthespiceoflife

On a high note after hearing @official_aldimeola at The Iridium (I'm appearing there so much lately that I almost forgot what a joy it is to attend as a listener). Some may not realize the scope of Al as an artist, as far too much focus tends to be placed his technical skills. While his picking is truly "8th degree blackbelt" level (and is indeed amazing), what often gets overlooked are his highly unique sequences (I challenge anyone to predict where one of his chords will move to next upon first listen), dynamics that go from caressing whispers one moment to stunning blows to the face the next (via alternate picking), an appreciation of world cultures matched by the ability to capture them sonically - allowing listeners to feel as though they've been transported to Argentina, Italy, Spain, Brazil and elsewhere - all culminating in an elegance and grace that touches on a deep emotion felt and shared by all in the room, whether guitar-centric listeners or those to whom "shred" is something done to carrots. There's probably no better way to appreciate all this than hearing him in a duo acoustic setting, which also shows him getting better with age (who'd have thought that was possible?!). Though I've been to several concerts and we've met before (there are pictures in my timeline from the last few yrs) every time I pinch myself being on a 1st name basis with this guy, a hard working symbol of excellence whose art and artistry provides a healthy respite from a world gone mad (he's also quite funny, don't get him started on ballbusting, New Jersey style). This time, had to be a fanboy & get a record signed. "...Midnight Sun" his 1st solo album & has many other greats including Jaco & the late great Alphonse Mouzan (whom I got to work with a while back), also the 1st one I ever owned by him too. This copy I found in a used in Brooklyn stoop. Full circle (pun not intended).

Al DiMeola was gangsta tonight @official_aldimeola

This happened last night. See previous post for an explanation of what's going here. (Hint: it was 'hot stuff')

After a long day in studio, was a blast to swing by @brooklynbowl, jam a tune & let off a little steam with these guys, @letsmaketragedyhappen It's a "school nite" - early start in studio tomorrow - so couldn't stay for whole show but it was killing (& hopefully someone got a pic of me up there playing w my dude @joshmusto's transparent SG on "Hot Stuff"). Disco/Metal may seem like an odd mashup..and it is! But when you hear "Reigning Men," a mashup of Slayer/The Weather Girls, it just might (might) make sense. Thx for the invite, guys!

‪It's tracking day! My bro Nik & I are kicking off a weekend at Spin in Queens, laying it down 4 a future release: @metalallegiance 2.0 ‬

Happy Summer Solstice! Five years ago today, I got the call to perform in Union Sq. on Make Music Day, for which I'm now a humble "ambassador" (and which turned out to be one of the hottest days on record). AST wasn't available that day so I threw together an all acoustic/world band of great players, wrote some tunes & Planetary Coalition was born. Although thrown together last minute, it became one of my favorite projects. For a look back visit Planetary Coalition on FB or go to https://www.facebook.com/AlexSkolnickFanPage/. Thankful for this amazing artwork courtesy of Nomad9Design.com.

Had such a blast at @theiridium over the weekend. For the second time on that stage, I broke a string (happened w AST back in Sep & this past Sat night w Hamm/Wackerman/AS Power Trio). Both were perfectly timed: the 1st was at the end of our set & the other night it was at the end of my solo (Proto Cosmos, originally by Tony Williams w Holdsworth). Couldn't help but imagine that this fellow, whose presence is so strongly felt in that room - and was known as much for humor and pranks as for his musical and innovative brilliance - may have been pulling one of his practical jokes from beyond #LesPaul

Last night was a blast! Great meeting all who came, watched us do our thing & enjoyed. Two more shows tonight: 8:30 & 10:30

‪Great late nite rehearsal w Chad Wackerman, Stu Hamm & Ofer Assaf for our shows tonight & tomorrow @theiridium. Got out & it was after midnight. Wandering the streets of NYC with a guitar, I felt suddenly felt like I was Eric Clapton in a Michelob ad from the late 80s (4 those old enough 2 remember)‬

Continued from yesterday: Holdsworth solo changes, faster tempo, once more on acoustic (almost ready for electric). Got lost a couple times but at least no "train wrecks." Things to keep in mind: A. It's a process - no one jumps in & just nails challenging material (or basic material if you're just starting out). When you hear monster players live (or hear a stand up comedian or anyone else who's killing it) they've gone through their own long process. This is especially true on albums, where the artist is usually trying numerous "takes" and picking a favorite. It may sound magical but it's not magic, just a lot of work - which isn't a bad thing at all, in fact beats other things you could be doing (like spending too much time on Instagram ahem, ahem?). 😉. B. Notice that AH's changes are so strong, they come out even with no chords underneath (there's a looped percussive pattern, nothing else). Here's the progression in its entirety: (M=Major m=Minor). Ebm7 GM7b5 Bm7 BbM7b5 F#m7 FSus7 Em7 (2bars) C#m7 BM7b5 Ebm7 (1st ending): AM7b5 Bbm7 DbM7b5 AM7b5 (2 bars) REPEAT FORM TO (2nd ending): AM7b5 (2bars) Bbm7 DM7b5 CM7b5 (2bars) EminMaj7 (8bars) Unfortunately, Instragram only allows a minute so this starts around the midway point. Got to my FB page for the whole thing. Have fun!

Here's a bit of how I'm practicing Allan Holdsworth tunes to prep for next month's tribute: A. Slow the tempos way down in order to properly digest the chord changes. Practice to your own track or loop (here I'm using a TC Electronics Ditto). B. Make it fun by giving it a cool groove and maybe even playing on a nice acoustic instrument (in this case, a new Godin Multiac SA that just showed up - notice it still has the tag!) C. Most important: the concept of "Relative Shapes" - Here I'm focusing on Eb Major (arpeggio or triad) and E Major. Yet there is no Eb Maj or E Maj chord in the progression! Still, an Eb Major shape works because it relates to the FSus chord. A few seconds later (after 2 bars of Em), the E Major shape simply moves up a half step and it works because it is relative of the next chord (C#m)... (FYI the tune is "Letters of Marque" from IOU and the basic chords are
Ebm/GMaj7/Bm7/Bbm7 F#m7/Fsus/Em/" /
/C#m/BMaj7/AMaj7/... the progression continues, and there are extensions for some of the chords such as b5s on the majors, but keeping it simple. Some of what I'm calling out is the relative shape and not the chord, but when I'm calling out the chord, I'm usually playing the shape of the chord i.e. F#m) If this doesn't make sense, fear not! It sometimes takes time to digest. Hopefully you can just enjoy the sounds created. Again this is slowed down, not that exciting but it sounds nice enough and helps illustrate the process of breaking music down in little bits before speeding it up and playing at tempo (which you can apply to anything you're working on). Enjoy!

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