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Alex Skolnick Trio 

Tuesday, February 18, at Night Town.

On paper, the difference between jazz and heavy metal is similar to the gap between Chianti and Coors, Chicago and Joe Dirt. On wax, it's a whole different story.

Goodbye to Romance, the debut from the Alex Skolnick Trio, attests to as much. Not since Pat Boone threw on the leather and belted out "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" like a rheumatic Rob Halford has anything turned the metal genre on its ear the way this disc does. Transforming rock standards like "War Pigs" and "Pinball Wizard" into finger-snappin' jazz workouts, Skolnick and company shine a light on just how musical much of the metal genre is. Longhairs will remember Skolnick for his days as the young guitar prodigy in the Bay Area thrash troupe Testament, in addition to his stints in the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, but few will be prepared for this. Sure, some of Goodbye sounds like metal Muzak, but for the most part, the transition from hard rock to bebop is as smooth as Skolnick's exceptionally nimble fretwork. Best of all, it brings jazzbos and headbangers together at long last -- to tap toes and kegs respectively.

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