Take the elegance of jazz guitar as inspired by Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall, and Joe Pass. Blend it with the greatest melodies of heavy metal (Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions and Aerosmith, et al). What do you get?
AST (Alex Skolnick Trio).
Known for their sophisticated re-harmonizations of heavy classics as well as quirky originals, AST perform with a depth, humor, and character that enthralls fans across the musical spectrum. An AST concert will quickly achieve legitimacy in the eyes and ears of skeptical jazz fans, while at the same time introduce metalheads to the pleasures of music without moshpits. A 2015 cover story said of its leader, well known for his work with thrash metal group Testament, „Though he’s pretty much a household name in heavy metal, Alex Skolnick is not your average, everyday shredding guitarist. In reality, he defies categorization by musical genre.“ (Making Music Magazine 2015).
Conceived while Alex was pursuing a jazz degree from New York’s New School University, the project came together when he and a fellow student, AST drummer Matt Zebroski, began incorporating metal melodies into their explorations of standard jazz repertoire. Bassist Nathan Peck, a fellow Pittsburgh Native of Matt’s, was brought in a couple years later.
AST has been frequently chosen as support act by the immensely popular guitar duo, Rodrigo y Gabriela, performing in such venues as Paris’s Olympia Theater and New York’s Radio City Music Hall, while an AST tour of the UK elicited the following reactions from music journalists in Dublin and London, respectively:
„A wonderful display of rock infused jazz“ (Dublin Concerts)
“Alex Skolnick is that rare thing, a passionate, innovative and adventurous guitarist.” (GRTR UK)
„Originals & metal covers converted into jazz w highly satisfying results. Sumptuous, technically proficient music“ (Egigs.co.UK)
In 2016, the band embarked on their first ever headlining tour in Europe, and it was incredible. The trio enthralled audiences in The Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Austria. The audiences were made up of jazz aficionados and metal heads wanting to see what the lead guitarist from the thrash metal band TESTAMENT is up to.
Alex Skolnick just released a new live album with his jazz guitar trio, finished their U.S. tour to promote the release, and are heading to Europe in March 2017 to bring this new show across the pond. The tour will include concerts in England, France, The Netherlands, Italy, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. In concert, AST performs a mix of compelling original compositions, with radically altered yet heartfelt arrangements of Scorpions, Aerosmith, Ozzy, Judas Priest, and more, to standing ovations.
Alex Skolnick (guitar and vocals), Matt Zebroski (drums), Nathan Peck (acoustic standup bass) are stellar virtuoso artists who thrive on playing challenging music in front of their fans. AST delights their dedicated audience while breaking hallowed and, supposedly, mutually opposite music genres. Along with Steve Vai, Kirk Hammett and Charlie Hunter, Alex has the profound distinction of being one of the more successful breakout individual students of uber-guitar-hero Joe Satriani.
The international music press has been overwhelmingly receptive and effervescent in their support of the Trio. Since the debut, AST had had an entire Jazz notes column in Billboard, garnered 4 ½ stars by Downbeat, reviewed by Jazziz, The Village Voice and much more. With a successful European tour under its belt and more in the works, a new chapter is beginning for AST.
Alex Skolnick (Testament, Stu Hamm Band, Metal Allegiance): GUITAR
Matt Zebroski: DRUMS
Nathan Peck (Maynard Ferguson, Maria Maldaur): BASS