Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Skolnick, Alex (Alexander Nathan)

Skolnick, Alex (Alexander Nathan), guitar; b. Berkeley, CA, 29 September 1968. His parents are Jerome Skolnick (b. 1931) and Arlene Skolnick (b. 1935) and his brother is Michael Skolnick (b. 1962).

At age nine, a fascination with the rock group Kiss led to a desire to learn guitar. He studied with various private teachers, including a two-year stint with guitarist Joe Satriani. 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 Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads. In the meantime, however, Alex's tastes were changing. An exposure to Miles Davis' electric bands inspired him to push harder to be a serious musician. No longer content to be just a metal player, he began an intense study of many types of music including jazz, funk and world music.

In 1990, twenty-one year old Alex was tapped by Guitar World magazine to become a monthly instruction columnist. He has since written for Guitar World, Guitar Player, and Guitar magazines, the latter of which has featured him for over five years. It was around this time that Alex did his first guitar clinic. He has gone on to give guitar clinics across the U.S. and in Europe. In 1991, bassist extraordinaire Stu Hamm chose Alex to handle guitar duties on his national tour, opening the door beyond metal. Since leaving Testament in 1992, he has gone on to perform and/or record with Primus bassist Les Claypool and drummer Brain (currently of Guns'n Roses), Wyndham Hill recording artist Michael Manring, Attention Deficit (w/Michael Manring and Primus drummer Tim Alexander), Savatage, Ozzy Osbourne, keyboardist Adam Holzman (of Miles Davis), Broadway star Rob Evan (Les Miserables and Jeckyl And Hyde) and more. Alex continues to be a featured member of the smash hit holiday show Trans-Siberian Orchestra, performing to sold out crowds across the U.S. as well as appearing in local and national radio and television appearances. He has also become active as a composer; with credits including pieces for the EA video game "Hot Wheels Turbo Racing."

Alex has been based in New York City since 1998. Believing that the learning process never ends, he has intertwined all his activities with intensive studies. This has included earning a BFA in jazz performance from New School University, where he studied with master musicians such as Richie Beirach, George Garzone, Hal Galper and Cecil McBee.

Goodbye To Romance: Standards For A New Generation (2002);
As sideperson:
Testament: The Legacy (1987), The New Order (1988), Practice What You Preach (1989), Souls Of Black (1990), The Ritual (1992); Michael Manring: Thonk (1993); Savatage: Handful Of Rain, Japan Live (1994); Attention Deficit: Attention Deficit (1998), The Idiot King (2001)

Television broadcasts:
Composed music for the USA Network's broadcast of the 2002 Westminster Dog Show (a big band jazz piece), and the MTV series "Makin' The Band." Performed live on Fox 8 Morning News, Cleveland, OH (February 2003)

Radio broadcasts:
Alex's trio performed live on XM Satellite Radio (January 2003)

Downbeat Magazine: Mar '03
Downbeat Magazine: Feb '03
Village Voice Feb. 26th '03
Billboard Magazine: Apr.6th '02
Guitar Player Magazine: Feb '03
GuitarOne Magazine: Oct.'02
Guitar World Magazine: Dec '02 
Boston Metro: Sep. 2 '02

Contact information:

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