Magna Carta Guitar Greats Vol 1.
11 Guitar tracks from the Magna Carta vaults. Includes an alternate mix of “Fates Speaks”
from Explorers Club.
The previously unreleased “Roadside America Medley” from Bozzio Levin Stevens.

...(read more)

FEATURED Tunes
Magna Carta Guitar Greats Medley
Alex Skolnick Trio
"Mercury Retrograde"
Tishamingo
"Bad News"
Age Of Nemesis
"Tree Of Life
Khallice
"Stuck"
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Grove of Anaheim
Anaheim, CA
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'Mercury Retrograde'
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Anthropia
"Question of Honour
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Chewier (Live)
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Age Of Nemesis
Tree Of Life
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RECENT NEWS

Michael Lee Firkins - In the Studio; In Progress - Brand New iTunes EP

Alex Skolnick Trio - Mercury Retrograde - EP - iTunes Exclusive Tracks

Magna Carta Guitar Greats Vol. 1 review:

Alex Skolnick Interview

Alex SKolnick Trio Interview

So you'll find him in your record store under jazz, metal, world and even Christmas: Skolnick plays with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, the holiday extravaganza of hair metal, Christmas carols and pyrotechnics. His two albums on Magnatude Records, an imprint of the East Rochester-based Magna Carta Records, hardly clear up matters. Transformation, his 2004 release, is jazz-guitar interpretations of music by the likes of Deep Purple and Pink Floyd. Last Day in Paradise is more jazz, in a suspiciously hard-rock way: His "Western Sabbath Stomp" is built around a riff that sounds like it came off an early Black Sabbath record.


(April 12, 2007) — As the thrash-metal band Testament prepared for sound check in the midst of a reunion tour last week in Arizona, guitarist Alex Skolnick recalled the cool old days, when no one knew what to expect of them.

"The first year that Testament toured, in the late '80s, we were mistaken as a religious band," he says. "We were booked at a state fair in Hays, Kansas, that was sponsored by some church. And most of the staff and fairgoers were born-again, religious folks that had no idea what they were in for once Testament started playing."

Labels are a dangerous business. If his role as Testament's slashing guitarist is all you know of Skolnick — and all you know of co-headliner Laurence Juber is his three years as lead guitarist with Paul McCartney's Wings — then you have no idea what you're in for tonight at Water Street Music Hall.

It's a night of jazz guitar. Although that was Juber's playing you heard on McCartney's hit "Coming Up," he's strumming acoustic guitar on "It's Only a Paper Moon" on his most-recent album. And Skolnick? His trio's new album, Last Day in Paradise, isn't simply a change in direction. It's hard rock interpreted in a jazz way. Or perhaps jazz in a rock way.

"I'm trying to bring all of the worlds together," says Skolnick, citing Rick Rubin, the one-time hip-hop producer responsible for the astounding set of Johnny Cash's late-life recordings. "I love how he can go from Johnny Cash to Red Hot Chili Peppers to Tom Petty to Slayer.

"Most people I know have a diverse record collection. Maybe not as diverse as mine. ..."

The most-surprising record in his collection? After a moment, Skolnick suggests James Taylor's greatest hits. No, wait. ... "That record has some great musicians on it," he says, issuing a retraction. "I have some hip-hop albums that might surprise you. I know some jazz musicians who like hip-hop. Miles Davis was a big hip-hop fan.

"Run-DMC when I was in high school. Yeah, I still like that. When they got together with Aerosmith, I wasn't surprised at all."

A shy kid from Berkeley, Calif., KISS inspired Skolnick to pick up a guitar when he was 10. Joining Testament in 1985, Skolnick's impact was immediate. The band blossomed into a thrash-metal outfit ranking with Metallica and Slayer. But by the early '90s, Skolnick left for Savatage and then, a new love.

"The '90s, I was in jazz exile," Skolnick says. "For 10 years, that's almost all I did. But having done that for a good number of years put me in the place I am now, able to play with a speed-metal band or modern-dance company or Broadway show or a rock opera or a jazz band."

So you'll find him in your record store under jazz, metal, world and even Christmas: Skolnick plays with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, the holiday extravaganza of hair metal, Christmas carols and pyrotechnics. His two albums on Magnatude Records, an imprint of the East Rochester-based Magna Carta Records, hardly clear up matters. Transformation, his 2004 release, is jazz-guitar interpretations of music by the likes of Deep Purple and Pink Floyd. Last Day in Paradise is more jazz, in a suspiciously hard-rock way: His "Western Sabbath Stomp" is built around a riff that sounds like it came off an early Black Sabbath record.

"Miles Davis constantly said he wasn't a jazz musician; he was a musician," Skolnick says. "He hated that. Any time you put your music out there, whether in a store or an Internet site, there is a questionnaire you have to fill out that asks for the category of music.

"Now I'm a controversial figure; it's so funny," Skolnick says.

"Who is more metal? I'm not going to get into a contest over if I'm more metal than someone else. Same thing with jazz. I'm not going to pretend I'm this authentic jazz person that's more authentic than anyone else. Do I appreciate genuine jazz music? Absolutely. Sometimes I think I'm playing it more because I'm a fan."

Perhaps. Yet fans seem intent on preserving labels. Skolnick's read the fan forums on metal Web sites such as www.blabbermouth.net. "Some metal fans are very hostile," he says. "They live to express their opinions. I have a lot of support from that site, but sometimes I'm amazed at the venom."

- Jeff Spevak, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

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