Two Duos With Randy Klein & Alex Skolnick

Two Duos With Randy Klein &  Alex Skolnick

Two Duos is an internationally acclaimed project from award winning composer Randy Klein, with performances in universities, concert halls in the USA and abroad. These performances feature Klein on piano/keys with heavy metal turned jazz guitarist Alex Skolnick (of Testament and Trans-Siberian Orchestra) in a rare set of beautiful, engaging pieces composed specifically for an improvising duo. 

What's Next? is an all-around success - All Music Guide, Ken Dryden

Randy Klein and Alex Skolnick Playing Music Instruments
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Randy Klein and Alex Skolnick Playing Music Instruments

CHANGES

Randy Klein - composer, electric keys and Alex Skolnick, guitar form one of the finest instrumental duos. Their success comes from a unique merger of their styles, Randy, an improvisational piano & Alex , thrasher heavy metal and jazz. A unique sound with growing fanbase of listeners. Their last two releases Casa China Live & Exalted Kingdom continue to stream. Changes - classic David Bowie tune will be well received by Bowie fans. Long-term streaming promotions planned with live performances.

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EXALTED KINGDOM

Randy Klein and guitarist Alex Skolnick take the art of duet playing to new musical heights with Exalted Kingdom Live, connecting a beautiful melodic arc with an infectious groove. This stellar recording features lush improvisations, revealing a beautiful musical journey that penetrates the soul on a deep emotional level.

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CASA CHINA

Titled after a famous Chinese/Spanish restaurant in New York City, 'Casa China Live' was recorded on a live sound stage in order to recreate the spontaneity that occurs during a live performance. The tight unisons between piano and guitar on the challenging number display a high degree of listening that takes place in these intimate sessions. Alex Skolnick offers shimmering arpeggios and playful call-and-response with a dazzling solo.

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WHAT'S Next!

For the second in his series of Two Duos recordings, pianist-composer, Randy Klein engages in musical conversation on What’s Next?, featuring heavy metal turned jazz guitarist Alex Skolnick (of Testament and Trans-Siberian Orchestra) and electric bass guitarist virtuoso Boris Kozlov.

Skolnick serves as a perfect partner to Klein’s musical intent - Guitar International, Vince Lewis

Skolnick absorbs the subtlety of the pianist's music and proves himself to be a good listener, complementing Klein's work with thoughtful solos and accompaniment, beginning with the infectious opener "Exalted Kingdom," which is reminiscent of the kind of duets Chick Corea often plays with vibraphonist Gary Burton - All Music Guide, Ken Dryden

Guitar fans will note Skolnick’s tasteful fretboard work on What’s Next? and indeed Skolnick’s deft touch sounds quite well suited to Klein’s jazzy piano.

Randy Klein

Randy Klein is a multi-award-winning composer, pianist, record producer, author and music educator. 

He is the composer of For My People, a song cycle featuring the poetry of American author, Margaret Walker. For My People was featured at the Furious Flower Poetry Festival at James Madison University and the University of Kansas. The music premiere of the renowned poem by Margaret Walker ‘For My People’ was April 2, 2011 at the Forbes Center for the Arts, James Madison University, VA. His compositions, Facing It and Dear John, Dear Coltrane, based on the poetry of Yusef Komunyakaa and Michael Harper premiered at the 2014 Furious Flower Poetry Conference featuring the combined James Madison University and Morgan State Chorales. The world premiere of his composition Fanfare For Jerusalem took place at David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center March 2017, Rose Hall, Jazz At Lincoln Center, May 2017 and in Jerusalem, Israel, June 2017. His new concert work Brockton will had its world premiere April 2018, performed by the Brockton High School Advanced Concert Band. 

His documentary film scores include: National Emmy winner Free To Dance (PBS Great Performances) and National Emmy winner Beyond Tara – The Extraordinary Life Of Hattie McDaniel (American Movie Classics) and Richard Wright – Black Boy (PBS/BBC production). His music can be heard at the Burial Ground Museum in lower Manhattan and at the Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro, NC.

His musical theater works include Move!, a dance musical commissioned by the Royal Theatre Carre', Amsterdam (premiered April, 1992); I Don't Do Club Dates, staged reading at the Victory Theater September, 1991 by the National Musical Theater Network and at the John Harms Center for the Arts, Englewood, NJ, January 1994; and Capture The Moon, based on the Eastern European folklore stories of the Wise Men of Chelm. In 1989, I Don't Do Club Dates earned Randy a BMI Foundation grant for artistic promise in theater composition; Falling Apart, a chamber musical utilizing elements of both musical theater and the jazz concert; Bucky And His Friends, a full-length contemporary vaudeville show for stage, video and CD; Flambe’ Dreams (formerly) The Thing About Joe, an original musical about a man who dreams of becoming a great maitre'd.  Flambe Dreams has been performed in readings and workshops from 2006-present at: 2012 New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF), The BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, BMI Showcase, Musical Mondays at the Jerry Orbach Theatre, TRU readings , Groundup Productions, and The York Theatre. Ever Happily After – 2013 New York Musical Theatre (NYMF). Music for Fancy Nancy ‘Splendiferous’ Christmas at the Vital Musical Theatre, NYC 2014 – 2016, Music for Twinkle Tames A Dragon at the Vital Musical Theatre, NYC 2016 – 2017.

He is currently recording his new musical, Black Swan Blues in collaboration with Joan Ross Sorkin, bookwriter and lyricist, inspired by the ballet “Swan Lake,”. The Black Swan explores racism in America in the South in the early 1960’s. Set in New Orleans, a rich, idealistic journalist and a poor, vulnerable blues singer’s true love is challenged when secrets from their tangled past involving race, murder and the Ku Klux Klan are revealed. Only through the magic of voodoo do they find eternal love. The score is timeless and contemporary evoking the period. 

In development is Speak, a musical about communicating with the other side, and a folk-opera, Jubilee, based on the award-winning best seller by author, Margaret Walker.

He was awarded the 2016 Scholars on Site award from the Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas for his theatrical work Jubilee, based on the novel by Margaret Walker. He is also the recipient of the prestigious Simons Public Humanities Fellowship at the Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas for the 2011-2012 academic year. He is the recipient of the 2009 BMI Foundation Jerry Harrington Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Musical Theatre. His song cycle, Lineage won the 2009 CAP Grant sponsored by the American Music Center. He is the winner of four Southern Regional Emmy Awards: 1996 - for the original score to the 90 minute film-documentary titled Richard Wright (Black Boy) PPS/BBC. He won the 1998, 1999 and 2002 Southern Regional Emmy Awards in the category of "Outstanding Collaborative Achievement for Composer" for his work on Ticktock Minutes (PBS). Ticktock Minutes is the winner of the 1999 National Emmy Award for Best Public Service Announcement. He has been nominated for a 1998 and 2010 Jerry Boch Award for his theater composition. He is the winner of the USA Songwriting Competition 2005 in the Jazz category and top two in the overall category for his composition “Data”. He is the winner of gold records for songs recorded by Polydor recording artist Millie Jackson, and composed and produced the dance hit "Watch The Closing Doors" for the RCA group IRT. He has had songs recorded by Candy Staton, Sarah Dash (formerly of LaBelle), the rap group Black Sheep, Memphis Bleak, and Sesame Street. 

His published works include: Songwriting Resolutions (In Tune Monthly), January 2018, Quickstart Guide To Songwriting (AuthorHouse Publishing), September 2017, The Star Spangled Banner Is Not A Song, or Is It?(American Songwriter Magazine), April 2013. He developed the educational cartoon series, Can You Ear It? to assist middle and high school teachers with instruction in music fundamentals. Published monthly in Music Alive magazine (Cherry Lane Publications, 11/1998-5/2001). His presentations on music and the business of music are regular features at: JEN (Jazz Educational Network), APME (Association for Popular Music Educators) and ISIM (The International Society for Improvising Musicians).

As a pianist Randy has recorded the following: Randy Klein’s Jazzheads (Jazzheads), Underground Romantic (Jazzheads), Just My Imagination (Slider Music) and Love Notes From The Bass (Jazzheads), Broadway Remembers (Main Street Productions), How Sweet It Is, Rock-A-Bye Baby Baby’s First Birthday, Animal Songs(Rock Candy Music), Invitation In (Jazzheads), Piano Christmas (Jazzheads) and The Flowing (Jazzheads), Kleinway@Steinway (Jazzheads).

Other projects in development are: Kenny Keys – Keyboard Recordings – Single releases ongoing, and Ambient Spaces, a live multimedia event featuring the marriage of sound, light and improvisation - a canvas of sound and image within a constantly evolving physical environment influenced by performers and audience. Ambient Spaces combines the work of 2 prodigious improvisers, pianist Randy Klein and visual music artist Robert Appleton.

Randy Klein’s jazz composition project, Two Duos received rave reviews for the releases of the CD Sunday Morning, May 2010, featuring trombonist Chris Washburne and Russian saxophonist Oleg Kireyev performing with Randy Klein on piano. The duos are sensitive duets designed to feature each of these esteemed soloists. Composed specifically for each performer, the project continues to expand to include other great improvising soloists. The second Two Duos release titled, What’s Next?, October 2012, features Grammy winning bassist, Boris Kozlov and rock/jazz guitarist, Alex Skolnick, also with excellent reviews. He has performed at venues such as Birdland, Klavierhaus, Trumpets, and the historic Union of Composers Club (Moscow). Randy’s music has also been featured at many Jazz and music educational conventions in Chicago, New Orleans, New York and at the Berklee Performance Center.

He is the president of Jazzheads Music Group, an independent music label. He is a long-time member of the advanced BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop, The Dramatists Guild, ISIM (International Society of Improvising Musicians), NARAS, JEN (Jazz Education Network), APME (Association for Popular Music Educators), an alumnus of the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He is a music educator conducting clinics on music and the business of music. He has a long list of private students. He is a songwriting coach at SongU.com. Randy Klein is an Exclusive Steinway Artist.

 

Alex Skolnick

Alex Skolnick is a respected New York improviser of multiple styles. Although widely identified as a thrash metal lead guitar hero from Bay Area metal outfit Testament (which he joined at age sixteen), Alex would later purchase a Gibson L5 archtop and earn a BfA in Jazz from The New School, studying with such prestigious artists as Vic Juris, George Garzone and Cecil McBee as well as noted jazz guru to the stars, Charlie Banacos.  Now a longtime resident of Brooklyn New York, he has released several critically acclaimed albums with the Alex Skolnick Trio, described as thus by jazz journalist Bill Milkowski: “Skolnick runs the guitaristic gamut from lush chord melodies to Wes Montgomery-style octaves to screaming Sonny Sharrock-esque skronking” (Downbeat Jan 2017).  In 2005, he reunited with Testament, the impact of which has eclipsed the band’s initial run.

     When not supporting the likes of Slayer and Megadeth on tour with Testament, Alex can be found headlining The Blue Note in Milan, Agharta in Prague, New York’s Iridium or various elegant venues across the world. He is also a first call player for jazz/rock projects including PAKT with Percy Jones (Brand X, Brian Eno), Ofer Assaf Quartet with Lincoln Goines & Robby Ameen, Jane Getter Premonition featuring alumni from Pat Metheny Group (Mark Egan) and Miles Davis (Adam Holzman). Alex is also the leader of the critically acclaimed world acoustic project, Planetary Coalition (featuring various international artists from across the globe including Rodrigo Y Gabriela and Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez).

   In 2016, Joe Satriani chose Alex (his former pupil), to be a primary guest instructor at his annual G4 Experience, alongside Eric Johnson, Mike Keneally and Steve Vai, followed by by a stint as the sole guitarist on faculty at Warwick Bass Camp, in which he taught and played alongside Alphonso Johnson (Weather Report) and Dennis Chambers (John Scofield/John McLaughlin). As an an educator and speaker, Alex has been invited to give keynote addresses at academic events such as Dayton University’s Metal and Cultural Impact conference as well as joining various PhDs at the International Society for Metal Studies in Helsinki. As a writer, Alex is an editor and contributor to UNBUILT, a biannual lifestyle and cultural magazine that includes his friend and fellow “metal intellectual,” D Randall Blythe (vocalist of Lamb of God). He has also written for The Talkhouse, Guitar World, Guitar Player and other publications.

      Alex has his own line of ESP signature guitars and is featured on the back cover of ESP’s 2017 catalogue (Metallica’s James Hetfield is on the front).  Whether carefully listening and playing alongside the world’s top instrumentalists or loudly shredding with Testament or Metal Allegiance (the Nuclear Blast signed supergroup of which he’s a core writer and producer), it’s safe to say that Skolnick has found his own niche as a guitarist. “Though he’s pretty much a household name in heavy metal, Alex defies categorization by musical genre.” (Making Music, Jan 2015).

Two Duos - Collaboration

Two Duos - Collaboration

Look for exciting instrumental, vocal, and multimedia collaborations featuring Randy Klein with new and returning guests!

What’s Next

What’s Next

'Sunday Morning’ is the first in a series of CD recordings by Randy Klein titled, ‘Two Duos’. This recording features trombonist, Chris Washburne and Russian saxophonist, Oleg Kireyev, in an interpretive solo setting with piano accompaniment by Randy Klein. The music, composed by Klein, is both eclectic and original.

Klein’s note selection and soloing are a combination of Bill Evans and Ahmad Jamal. He plays nice full chords underneath thoughtful single lines that flow effectively through the changes

...Guitar International, Vince Lewis read review

Sunday Morning

Sunday Morning

For the second in his series of Two Duos recordings, pianist-composer, Randy Klein engages in a musical conversation on What’s Next? featuring electric bass guitarist virtuoso Boris Kozlov and guitarist Alex Skolnick. What’s Next?, is the followup to his 2010 acclaimed CD, Sunday Morning, which showcased Klein in duets with trombonist, Chris Washburne, and Russian saxophonist, Oleg Kireyev.

Klein's performance is first-rate throughout Sunday Morning's twelve musical musings

...All About Jazz, Dan Bilawsky read review