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Suhy, Silvergold & Alvarado -- Tessellations

 

New Jersey based jazz rock power trio Suhy, Silvergold & Alvarado have released an amazing album of eclectic tunes that speak to my instrumentalist heart. Yes, this is ostensibly a metal site, but interestingly guitarist Ray Suhy has been playing rock and metal for years, including playing with East Of The Wall (I've mentioned before how this band seems to be some sort of musical nexus, with the various members of having seeded other bands I've raved about on this site) for a few. The man has chops. His playing is deft and confident, belying the years spent studying the finesse and creativity of masters like Coltrane. He can comp like a champ - Special Cadence is a wonderful seven minute jazz excursion that had me practically smelling the smoke-filled club it evokes - then turn around and rip like a demon - Temporal Landrons recalls the melodic shred of Shawn Lane without letting homage veer into soulless mimicry.

 

Rolando Alvarado's bass work is masterful, be it the satisfying timbre of plucking the double bass through jazzy tunes like Special Cadence, or the nimble rhythymic understructure he weaves like a spider on tracks like Malachite Dream. The East of the Wall connection here is his avant-metal trio El Drugstore, which featured guitarist Kevin Conway and drummer Seth Rheam, both of the former.

 

Which brings us to the most amazing member of all, drummer Alex Silvergold, who after only playing drums for the last 7 years is merely [a jaw-dropping] 16 years old. Be it his youth, his extraordinary dedication - or both, his high-energy playing is most impressive. I don't doubt many will be monitoring his career which probably won't even begin slowing down 'til maybe around 2065 (Crimeny!).

 

The Bottom Line: This New Jersey-based jazz-rock trio is jam-packed with talent and promise. The creative force of its virtuosi is evident on a debut many would hope to achieve just once in their entire careers. This is the real deal, folks.

 

Rating: 4 Horns Up (Out of 4!)

 

Genghis can't stop watching these guys jam on YouTube...

 

mxdwn.com

Suhy, Silvergold & Alvarado -- Tessellations
 
Complementary Angles

 

At its best, fusion is a true emulsion of its component genres. It can turn staunch jazz traditionalists into blues-rock appreciators, no-nonsense funk fans into soprano sax worshippers and make a tune in 17/8 seem totally danceable. In other words, it’s much easier to accomplish in theory than in practice. On Tessellations, though, Suhy, Silvergold & Alvarado come as close to the ideal as is humanly possible.

 

This band consists of some remarkable players, and together, they form a tight and powerful unit. Ray Suhy, a Berklee-educated guitarist with a musical resumée nearly two decades long, is frighteningly nimble. His sweeps are so quick and clean, it’s almost impossible to tell where they begin and end, able to turn on a dime regardless of what’s going on around him. 16-year-old drummer Alex Silvergold possesses such chops, it isn’t hard to imagine him playing on Zoot Allures and subsequently nailed “The Black Page” if only he were born 40 years earlier. He covers a big kit, and his speed never comes at the cost of power or accuracy. Finally, Rolando Alvarado, who is as nimble on four strings as Suhy is on six, is well-suited for the aforementioned task of making zany time signatures feel comfy.

 

Alvarado wastes no time in proving this. After an intro that smacks of Jeff Beck at his most ambient, he kicks off “Malachite Dream” with a groovy ostinato in 11/8. Silvergold joins in with a pleasantly syncopated beat, sounding not the least bit stiff despite the inherent awkwardness of the meter. Suhy expertly uses the volume pot to coax swelling pads out of his guitar, and these give way to some snaky, Metheny-esque lines. Suddenly, the whole band launches into a tense bridge reminiscent of King Crimson’s “Red,” and just as suddenly (technically speaking, after three measures of 5/8 and one of 11/8), they’re back in the groove. After another verse and bridge, the band falls into 6/8 and Suhy gears up for a dynamic solo that, despite lasting almost one and a half minutes, does not in any way wear out its welcome. By the time whole band comes together to jam on the bass riff, it becomes clear that Suhy is no noodler. Rather, he’s an excellent composer with an ear for drama, and he’s picked the perfect rhythm section to join him in bringing his compositions to life.

 

If the album continued in the same stylistic vein as its impressive opening track, it might get stale. But the world will never know, because “Aphelion” changes gears immediately, bringing the band into territory that is simultaneously murkier and jazzier. After “Svítání,” a perfectly placed interlude featuring cascading sheets of acoustic guitar and double bass, the band changes gears again by blasting into the flamenco-inspired “Awakening.” At only two minutes and change, it’s definitely a song that bears repeating. Suhy’s playing is impeccable; thicker strings don’t slow him down at all.

 

“Temporal Landrons” is Suhy’s “Cliffs of Dover” or “Surfing with the Alien.” That is to say, it’s an upbeat, melodic sweep-fest with an epic solo at the top followed by more memorable licks. Minus the intro solo, “Perihelion” has the same trajectory, but it possesses a far jazzier backbone and therefore performs much better as a fusion piece.

 

The album is rounded out by two cool jazz numbers. The sorrowful and slinky “Special Cadence” begins with Alvarado, calm under the spotlight, flying up and down the fingerboard of his double bass with abandon before finally chilling on the root note. Suhy comes in with the theme, seemingly telling the story of a character at the end of their rope, using only a few notes. It’s stirring the way Miles’s version of “’Round Midnight” is, and given the proper exposure, it may even begin to seep into the repertoires of other musicians the way Monk’s flagship tune did. And speaking of untouchable jazz classics, Suhy, Silvergold & Alvarado’s cover of Coltrane’s “Wise One” is a killer way to end an album. Suhy echoes the composer – whose work turned him onto jazz in the first place – subtly and with great reverence, taking care to add enough grit without diving over the precipice on which Trane stood in ’64.

 

Suhy, Silvergold & Alvarado cover a lot of ground on Tessellations, and despite doing so with virtuosic prowess, they leave the humanity and dignity of Suhy’s compositions intact. Aptly titled, this album is not a convoluted mess of show off one-upmanship, nor is it lame or stiff in any way. It’s the sound of three fantastic musicians playing at the top of their game without stepping on each other’s toes; fusion at its best.

 

 

Progressive Music Planet: Ray Suhy Interview

 

Interview with guitarist Ray Suhy of jazz rockers Suhy, Silvergold & Alvarado

 

How did the three of you join forces?

I’ve known Rolando through the East of the wall circles for about 6 years or so. He plays in a terrific band with current East Of The Wall drummer, Seth Rheam and ex-EOTW guitarist Kevin Conway. We’ve talked about doing project together for a long and I’m really glad we finally made it happen.

 

Alex, was a student of mine in a progressive rock class that I taught. I knew he was a monster as soon as I had him go home and learn “Scatterbrain” by Jeff Beck. He came back the next week with it completely nailed down. He also handled “In The Dead Of Night” by U.K. with ease. Alex’s father, Eric, mentioned that Alex really wanted to do some more recordings so when the initial talks happened about doing this record, I knew Alex would be a great fit!

 

Do you all have the same musical backgrounds and influences?

Rolando and I are definitely cut from the same cloth. Guys that grew up metal heads but then dove deep into jazz and other styles and then came back to metal and progressive music with these different influences to draw from. Alex definitely loves all things progressive and has studied some of the great drummers and bands of that style. It’s scary that his journey is just beginning now. I was nowhere near that level at 16!!!

 

Stylistically, this seems light years away from East of the Wall (who are a GREAT band), even though EotW is quite progressive. Is there anything common between the two bands?

Well, I’d say harmonically there is some jazz influence in what EOTW does and there are parts in “Malachite Dream” that are similar to things that were done in EOTW. The 5:00mark out in “The Fractal Canopy” from “ Redaction Artifacts” comes to mind.

 

How did you go about writing the songs that are on the album? Were they jams or finished songs?

A lot of the songs started from guitar figures that I made up while I’ve been trying to push my technique for the past year. I had all of these sketches of tunes laying around, mostly just the melodies, and I had to flesh them out by writing intros and solo sections. We only rehearsed/played together twice before going into the studio. When I got to the rehearsal I had lead sheets and demos of the tunes I did at home for them so they could get a sense of what I was going for. On “Temporal Landrons” I sent a demo to Alex and said “match all of my fast stuff on here”….he sure did!! haha

 

All the tunes came together very quickly when we rehearsed which is a testament to the chemistry that we had from the start.

 

Is Alex really only 16? How is he so good at such a young age?

Ha! I don’t know! Let’s figure it out and bottle it! In all seriousness, he works very, very hard and has a laser like focus when he’s trying to digest new material. That combined with his desire to get better and there you have it.

 

Are there any live plans for the trio? 

Were definitely going to do some shows to celebrate the release of the CD here in the Asbury Park, NJ area and possibly in NYC as well. Playing these songs will be fun live. I’m looking forward to stretching them out and exploring them some more

 

What’s next? Another East of the Wall album or more of this trio?

Well, I’m no longer with East Of The Wall due to some differences we had about the way the band should move forward. I’m extremely proud of my time with them as well as the record we did together(“Redaction Artifacts”). Those guys are currently writing their next record. I was a fan of the band before I joined and I’m still a fan now so I’m definitely looking forward to what they’ll put out next.

 

I’m currently playing in Cannabis Corpse and we’re working on our next record now. I’m also finishing up a more metal based instrumental E.P. that should be out around the beginning of the year hopefully.

 

I’ve already started working on the next release for this project as well. This band allows me to explore and express myself in ways that I can’t with my other projects. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have another record ready to go by next summer….or sooner!

 

Metal Sucks

 

Stream Suhy, Silvergold & Alvarado’s Jazz-Fusion Freakout “Malachite Dream”

 

I’ve really enjoyed watching metal musicians expand into the world of jazz fusion over the past few years.  Animals as Leaders co-guitarists Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes ventured down that road with T.R.A.M., and Between the Buried and Me’s Dan Briggs teamed up with some A-list musicians for Trioscapes. Cynic always lived on the jazz fusion edge, but those tendencies seemed to grow with each successive release. There are others, of course.

 

Now we see East of the Wall guitarist Ray Suhy teaming up with bassist Rolando Alvarado and 16-year-old drummer Alex Silvergold for the appropriately named Suhy, Silvergold & Alvarado “jazz rock power trio.” East of the Wall have some jazzy tendencies, so it’s cool to hear Suhy stretch out here and really embrace that side of their sound.

 

Bloody Disgusting has the premiere of a spacey track called “Malachite Dream,” and it’s so fucking gnarly! What starts off a spacey prog rock jam quickly dives into a jazzy metal freakout when Suhy starts shredding atop Silvergold and Alvarado’s grooves. This kind of stuff is just so enjoyable to listen to, and I can’t wait to hear more.

 

Suhy, Silvergold & Alvarado's debut album Tessellations comes out on November 13th. Order it via Bandcamp.

Third Eye Cinema

Suhy, Silvergold & Alvarado – Tessellations (Self-Released) (November 13) 

 

Jazz fusion, but oriented a bit towards the more modern “smooth jazz” vein.

 

So if you’re not expecting, say, the Al DiMeola/Stanley Clarke/Lenny White iteration of Chick Corea’s Return to Forever or the Billy Cobhman/Jan Hammer version of John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra, you should be pleasantly surprised.

 

I was and remain a huge, huge fusion head. I have more albums from folks like the aforementioned (as groups or in solo projects), Tony Williams Lifetime, Frank Zappa, mid-70’s Santana, funk-fusion era Herbie Hancock and Jean Luc Ponty than you’d ever believe.

 

It’s actually my go-to genre when all’s said and done – fuck vocals, if you’ve got three to five musicians who can seriously “blow” (as they used to say in jazz circles – meaning “play really, really well”, as opposed to the more modern colloquial connotation of “sucking”).

 

If you ask me on the fly, I’m a metalhead, and that’s a fair portion of what I care about and listen to.  In persona and past lives, I’m a goth and was involved in that scene during both the 80’s and its mid-90’s resurgence.  I was a punk for a long fucking time, again at two if not three separate points in my life.

 

But when I’m tired of all that?  Guess where my gravitic center lies.

 

So having this dropped on my plate was…nice.  Really, really nice.

 

It’s heavily skewed towards guitar, ala Al DiMeola’s solo work, but Ray Suhy bears strong influences or elements of Tony MacAlpine’s approach to Shrapnel-style shred guitar in his playing.

 

And if there are any theoretical flaws to be found here, this is one of the biggies: the best jazz fusion was always an interplay between bass, drums and guitar, possibly keyboards as well.  But the “look at me, I’m a guitarist” thing doesn’t hold up quite as well – compare Allan Holdsworth’s solo material to what he was doing with Tony Williams’ Lifetime, or DiMeola’s to his Return to Forever albums.  The difference is like night and day.

 

Even so, the man’s talent and breadth is undeniable – check out his move into quiet, late night Les Paul-style jazz on “spectral cadence” or the neo-Andres Segoviaisms of “entremet”.  And saying that the music is clearly skewed towards a “star” guitarist does not imply that Alex Silvergold doesn’t know his way around a given meter.

 

He clearly comes from the same school as folks like Cobham, White and especially the great Tony Williams, whose rolls can be heard clearly in tracks like “perehelion” – the major difference is that he doesn’t affect Williams’ ahead of the beat driving of the music, but pulls back behind the beat for a more familiar groove approach, with occasional explosions of Williams-like energy directly on the beat.  It’s damn good stuff, and shows that the student draws from more than one of the masters – which is a good step towards originality.  Really impressive work, for a high school kid!

 

Bassist Rolando Alvarado adopts a more subtle approach, though his restlessness can be heard on the quirky opening riff to “malachite dream” and to a certain extent “perehelion”.  For the most part, though, he keeps to the back, preferring to play it slow and low as it were.

 

I’d be surprised the three of them hail from Jersey, were it not the birthplace and longtime home of the aforementioned DiMeola as well…

 

More three way band interplay and cohesion as a unit in totality, rather than support for Suhy’s guitar, and this would be perfectly rated.  As it is, consider it somewhat akin to one of the DiMeola classic era albums with a touch of Shrapnel shred and somewhat of a smooth jazz feel.

 

You know I liked it, and quite a lot at that.

Progressive Music Planet: “Tessellations”

 

First off, I am NOT a jazz guy. I am sure many progheads are. I prefer classical as a genre. I do enjoy jazz infused prog but not straight up jazz as a whole. So when it came time to check out jazz rock trio Suhy, Silvergold & Alvarado, I was a bit apprehensive.

 

How rock would they be? How jazz would they be? They are very much a good bit of both, but not always at the same time. Their debut album “Tessellations” has songs like the opener “Malachite Dream” which is very much a jazz meets progrock affair. Plenty of ripping guitar work from Ray Suhy and supple bass work from Rolando Alvarado.

 

After hearing that track, I assumed the whole album would just rock out. I’m not sure what makes me so damn naive sometimes! “Aphelion” is a slightly quieter piece which does not rock as hard but still feels perfect to follow up the first track. This is my favorite track. Suhy’s playing reminds me a lot of Jeff Beck (one of my all time favorites) and drummer Alex Silvergold seems to channel Terry Bozzio with plenty of crashes and toms to drive things along. By the way, Alex Silvergold is only 16!!

 

The album has a few very short interlude like pieces that are all decent enough but don’t really add much to things. They are all nice but I’d love to have heard each fleshed out more. “Svitani” feels like a warm up for the acoustic flamico-fest that is “Awakening.” “Temporal Landrons” shows that Suhy, Silvergold & Alvarado can shred which is a cool change of pace.

 

“Special Cadence” is where I got a little lost. Upright bass, brushes and a subtle lead are all tasteful but just not my cup of tea at all. It also feels completely out of place. Both “Ethremet” and “Occaso” sound like the guys are just noodling around for 40 seconds, so I am not sure why we need these short tracks. “Perihelion” rights the ship and picks up where “Temporal Landrons” but with a much heavy jazz flair to it. “Perihelion” is probably the best track when it comes to marrying their jazz chops with their ability to shred as needed. Unfortunately, I wish the song lasted longer.

 

“Wise One” is the big nine plus minute closer. The song takes a bit too long to get its legs under it. I don’t mind setting a mood but 3 plus minutes is a tad too long for me. They mix an upright bass with a more metal sounding lead which isn’t bad but I probably would have preferred either all acoustic or all electric. The pairing doesn’t quite work for me but the playing itself is incredible. And that’s the key here, all three guys are amazing musicians who really sound great together!

 

“Tessellations” is a interesting mix of jazz and rock where Suhy, Silvergold & Alvarado allow each genre to clearly retain its idenitity, often pitting one against the other within the same song. It’s never too jazz, never too rock but rather it’s a battle that is allowed to end in a draw.

 

Rating: 8/10

 

Guitar World - "Temporal Landrons" Exclusive Premiere

 

Today, GuitarWorld.com presents the exclusive premiere of "Temporal Landrons," a new song by Suhy, Silvergold & Alvarado.

 

The guitar-heavy track, a tribute to groundbreaking guitarists Shawn Lane and Eric Johnson, is from Suhy, Silvergold & Alvarado's new album, Tessellations, which will be released November 13.

 

Composer and bandleader Ray Suhy assembled a powerhouse jazz rock fusion trio consisting of Suhy on guitar, 16-year-old Alex Silvergold on drums and Rolando Alvarado on bass. The trio got together at Lakehouse Recording Studios in Asbury Park, New Jersey. A conversation about their love of jazz fusion spawned the idea to make a record influenced by Lane, Johnson, Mike Stern and John Coltrane.

 

"Shawn Lane and Eric Johnson are two of the biggest influences on my playing, along with Mike Stern, John McLaughlin and Frank Gambale," Suhy says. "I'd been thinking a lot about Lane and Johnson lately and started to see lots of similarities in their playing, including their penchant for pentatonic scales, phrasing in groupings of fives and sounding absolutely majestic over major-key-sounding jams.

"A lot of the pieces I had written for Tessellations ended up being pretty dark, so I sat down and decided to write something in E major to give the record a little lift. Once the initial descending sweep phrase came to me, the rest of the song happened fairly quickly.

 

"The title of the song is a mash up of 'Temporal Analogues of Paradise,' a brilliant record by Lane, Hellborg & Sipe that turned my world upside down, and 'High Landrons' from Johnson's Ah Via Musicom, and album that shifted my concept of what was possible on guitar. This ended up being one of the most fun songs to track in the studio, and Rolando and Alex really kill it on this one."

 

Check out the video for Temporal Landrons HERE

 

To preorder Tessellations, visit suhysilvergoldalvarado.bandcamp.com.

Bloody Disgusting - "Malachite Dream" Exclusive Video Premiere

 

We’re going a little complex with this premiere, a little cerebral. I’m pretty damn excited to bring the in-studio video premiere for Suhy, Silvergold & Alvarado as they perform their track “Malachite Dream”, which comes from their upcoming album Tessellations. If you’re into a fusion of progressive rock and jazz, much like the more modern King Crimson material, this is right up your alley!

 

Let’s give you a little information about each player, shall we?


Ray Suhy is an accomplished guitarist who performs with bands across a wide spectrum of genres and styles. He’s currently touring with Cannabis Corpse but has also performed with such artists as Allen Lowe, and Lewis Porter.

Alex Silvergold is 16 years old and is influenced by drummers like Gavin Harrison, Marco Minneman, Mike Mangini, and more. He’s shared the stage with Carmine Appice and Billy Sheehan.

Rolando Alvarado earned his music degree from NYU studying composition. He also spent nearly two years in Chile, where he worked extensively with saxophonist/composer Diego Manuschevich and played throughout the country.

 

Ray Suhy exclusively tells us:

 

“Malachite Dream” was the first piece written specifically for “Tessellations”. “Awakening” the main acoustic piece on the record, existed for a while without a home but “Malachite” is what really set the tone for the project. My goal for this record was to create something that had lots of dense and technical playing, but also had a emotional and cinematic atmosphere to it as well. The intro was added on after deciding to lead off the record with “Malachite”. I wanted to set up a sort of dream-like and hypnotic state before Rolando comes in with the bass line. I also wanted to feature Alex on this song and he plays a great solo over the main riff. “Malachite Dream” sums up a lot of the different styles and moods that are on the record and seemed like the best choice to start the record as well as being the first song that we’re premiering via Bloody Disgusting”.

 

Check out the video for Malachite Dream HERE

 

Make sure to pre-order your copy of Tessellations via Bandcamp.

 

Tessellations Press Release

 

Jazz Rock Power Trio Suhy, Silvergold & Alvarado to Release Tessellations November 13th

First Video Teaser Unveiled, Artwork and Track Listing Revealed

 

Jazz Rock Power Trio Suhy, Silvergold & Alvarado will release their debut album Tessellations November 13th .  Today the first video teaser from the album, the track listing and album artwork have been unveiled.  The teaser features samples of the song “Perihelion”, view it HERE

 

Tessellations is available for pre-order beginning today!  Head HERE, to purchase your copy.

 

"Tessellations is a record that I've wanted to make for some time,” says composer and bandleader Ray Suhy.  "It's a record that encompasses the many different styles that I love to play and listen to, but haven't yet been able to put together in a cohesive way."

 

Suhy is ably assisted on the record by two other like minded musicians: Rolando Alvarado on electric and upright bass and up-and-coming 16 year old drummer Alex Silvergold.

 

Suhy is a guitarist who plays in metal bands (East Of The Wall, Cannabis Corpse), has recorded free jazz records (with Allen Lowe, Matthew Ship and Lewis Porter) and plays in an 80's style electro pop band (Dangerous Muse).

 

"Rolando was my first choice for bass on this project.  Like myself, he has a huge love and understanding of many styles of music and his feel and note choices make things very comfortable for me to let loose over."

 

"Alex, who was one my students, has reached an incredibly high level of playing in a short amount of time.  I was blown away by his chops and his ability to digest difficult passages very quickly.  Alex plays very tastefully on the record and when the time is right, he really lets it rip.  His playing on ‘Temporal Landrons’ in particular is very impressive."

 

Thematically, this record narrates a sleep/dream/awakening cycle as a metaphor for traveling to the far reaches of space and then back towards the sun again.  "I wanted the record to express the journey from light to dark.  The balance of those two things is really important to me when I create.  Too much of one or the other and the expression is out of balance."

 

The trio is looking forward to exploring their tunes live as well as recording some more music soon.  "The group has a good chemistry going and I can't wait to follow some new musical paths with them.”

 

 

Listen to Tessellations

Watch Perihelion

Connect with Ray

Connect with Alex

Buy Tessellations

BuyTessellations from: bandcampCD BabyiTunes, or Amazon.

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