This is what happens when you put a heavy metal guitar legend with jazz chops on guitar after he has travelled the world and met a diverse group of twenty seven musicians, with multiple musical styles and novel instruments. It becomes a worldwide collaboration called Planetary Coalition and it releases a self-titled organic album of fan participation that hopes to become a movement.
Led by Testament lead guitarist Alex Skolnick on acoustic guitar, the project is a Gaia-inspired panoply of world music and musicians with a focus on social and environmental issues as well as music. Planetary Coalition . . .
. . .envisions live concerts, lectures and multi-media presentations as part of a master plan to bridge the gap between different cultures, increase ecological awareness and explore the threads that connect musical expression with regional identity.
The self-titled release sets Skolnick off into new territory. The shredder shows he is a guitar master of multiple styles - gypsy jazz, Indian raga, flamenco, folklorico, and Middle Eastern percussion - in addition to rock. Skolnik plays along with santoor, tabla, kora, pipa, kanun and a plethora of talent. The core of Planetary Coalition is a revolving list of virtuoso players from around the world collaborating with Skolnik on a track or two of this fascinating 14 track effort. But wait, there’s more. On the album there are guest appearances by Rodrigo y Gabriela, Kiran Ahluwalia, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Adnan Joubran, and the NY Gypsy All Stars, among others!
This is not a rock album or traditional jazz album - far from it. It explores with amazing mastery and virtuosity Gypsy, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Indian, Asian, African, Latin and other indigenous lands music.
Why release this album now; what is the purpose? Planetary Coalition’s press release tells us:
. . .The Coalition’s mission can be summed up with a simplicity that belies the magnitude of its vision: By connecting musical elements, we can deepen the connection and understanding between peoples
The album’s release date, November 11, 2014. I promise you it will deepen your connection and understanding of the incredible universe of world music. It just may expand your musical, and mental, horizons.