DEBUT ALBUM “Experiences: Real and Imaginary” set for release MAy 10, 2019
(See official press release below)
Guitarist Alex Sill Explores the Psychoanalysis
of Musical Archetypes With Debut Record Experiences: Real and Imaginary
Album Presents Panoramic View Between the Visual and Auditory Link
Plenty of players and listeners have talked and thought about music as a kind of interior cinema: A concert or recording begins, and each of its beholders conjures up a personal, image-based narrative that corresponds to the sounds. But for the 26-year-old, L.A.-based guitarist and composer Alex Sill, this extraordinary symbiosis between music and the mind has led to a far-reaching search for answers.
“When I got into high school,” Sill recalls, “I started questioning how universal this phenomenon was, and I thought to myself, ‘I can’t be the only person who relates to music in this way.’” He began delving into psychoacoustics and related fields, but no satisfying answers emerged. In college, while studying jazz and music theory at CalArts, Sill absorbed the work of Carl Jung in earnest, taking particular interest in the pioneering psychoanalyst’s concept of archetypes. These common human behavior patterns are inherited, Jung argued, and they represent themselves psychologically as images. Music, he insisted, brings these instinctively understood human tropes and myths to bear. Jung investigated dreams with an intensity typically reserved for reality; music, with its unique ability to pull the listener into a reverie, therefore commanded a similarly high regard.
Sill’s new debut, Experiences: Real and Imaginary (available May 10), is a masterfully wrought, panoramic nine-track collection that puts Jung’s ideas into fascinating play. Sill’s signature meld of influences—for starters, think the orchestral compositional ambition (and deft acoustic-guitar touch) of Pat Metheny; the fluidly virtuosic approach to meter and harmony that marks 21st-century postbop; and the fiery, lyrical technique of guitar wizards like Kurt Rosenwinkel and the late Allan Holdsworth, to whom the album is dedicated—will no doubt facilitate a vast range of archetypes and memories in fans.
This music also reflects its writer’s singular history and vision—as well as a peerless assemblage of primarily L.A.-based musicians, including saxophonists Danny Janklow and Jacob Scesney, trumpeter Mike Cottone, pianists Otmaro Ruiz and Vardan Ovsepian, bassist Benjamin J. Shepherd and drummer Gene Coye. Sill’s mentor and friend Dave Grusin, the legendary keyboardist-composer and a renowned writer of film scores, appears on five tracks and fits the vivid, visual music like a glove. The album was mixed and engineered mostly by Bill Schnee, a personal hero to Sill who mixed one of his favorite albums (and won a GRAMMY® for it), Steely Dan’s Aja. Schnee gives Sill’s project a fantastic sheen—ethereal and open yet crisp and tight; not incidentally, the recorded sound evokes the creative yet commerce-savvy music Grusin shaped at his GRP Records label.
Written over a half-decade period, the compositions on Experiences: Real and Imaginary include several that reflect on archetypes of American mythology, especially as it relates to Sill’s native Southern California. “The Ballad of James Dean” expresses the solitary nature of this supremely gifted and exceedingly complex icon through Cottone’s noir-soaked trumpet. “Jackie” is another of Sill’s character-driven pieces, an homage to the First Lady’s graceful beauty and her indelible cultural shadow. “Chaparral,” with its hymnal tinges, is a meditation on the distinctive SoCal terrain that has provided picturesque respites for Sill throughout his life. The gorgeous, interlude-like “Chumash Lullaby” takes its name from a Native American tribe that once thrived in and around where Sill grew up in the San Fernando Valley. “To a Theater Near You” is a questing three-part composition that stands as the album’s grand finale; its title can refer to both the Jung-ian idea of mental imagery and the show-business fantasies that Sill’s Los Angeles has exported around the world.
Jung might argue that notions of a life in the entertainment industry were archetypes instilled in Sill before his birth. He’s the grandson of the late music mogul Lester Sill, an architect of West Coast rock-and-roll and R&B who founded the Philles Records label with Phil Spector. Lester’s sons, including Alex’s father, Lonnie Sill, carved out highly successful careers in music supervision, production and publishing. Sill’s mother is the singer and actress Nicci Sill, whose father was a great doowop singer. Performing around Hollywood today, Sill often feels as if he’s communing with that grand past. “Early Hollywood is a big part of my family’s history,” he says. “So, playing in Hollywood weekly, I ponder, like, ‘Oh, man, I wonder if this is where my grandpa used to hang out?’”
But on Experiences: Real and Imaginary, Sill is exercising his brilliant trademark take on state-of-the-art small-group jazz. As Steve Vai has said, “He is one of the vital players that has the potential to raise the jazz bar.”
In the midst if preparing to release “Experiences: Real and Imaginary” (release date and details coming soon), Alex also has some exciting show dates lined up for the fall. On September 29th at 6pm Alex will perform a short set with Steve Vai as part of the Big Mama Jamathon, a 52 hour, non stop music event beginning on Sept. 28th, that will feature a myriad of world class musicians- all for the benefit of the Extraordinary Families Foundation. Go to www.jamathon.org for more info (flyer above).
The following week, on October 4th, Alex will be performing with the legendary drummer Simon Phillips and his band at the Ojai Deer Lodge (Details are attached in the flyer above). Be sure to check out the Calendar page for a more complete listing of Alex’s upcoming show dates.
April 25th, 2018
Alex's debut album "Experiences: Real and Imaginary," is in the finishing stages of recording. After two full days recording at Sunset Sound Recorders in Hollywood, the album is now in the overdub and mixing stages with the help of master engineer Bill Schnee and Alex's friend, and fellow composer, Oliver Schnee. Bill is well known for his Grammy winning work on albums like Steely Dan's Aja, among many other all time classics. The album also features performances by some of the world's greatest musicians, including Dave Grusin, Vardan Ovsepian, Benjamin Shepherd, Jacob Scesney, Danny Janklow, Gene Coye, and Mike Cottone. Below are some stills from the recording sessions (Click to scroll). Stay tuned for more news regarding "Experiences: Real And Imaginary”…
UPCOMING ALBUM - "Experiences: Real and Imaginary"- Alex is working on his first solo record entitled Experiences: Real and Imaginary, and will be recording it in Los Angeles during spring 2018.
Greetings, friends and family. I’m very excited to announce the plans to record my first solo record Experiences: Real and Imaginary. As a guitar player, composer and musician in general, this is a very important step for me; A chance to record original music that has been developing in mental and physical realms for quite some time, and to share it with everyone in the best possible form. I’d like to explain the inspiration behind the music, and the amazing cast of friends, mentors and heroes that will be involved.
Ever since I was a little kid, powerful music always seemed to elicit the production of poignant images and stories in my head. As I got older I began to question why the phenomena were so closely intertwined. Humans inherit many things both physically and psychologically, and this includes the need to tell stories, as well as relate to our personal experiences in an unconscious, and mythological way. I knew that the manner in which images streamed through my mind could not only be a part of my personal experience; there had to be some unifying mechanism(s) present in others. I believe a big part of the answer lies in what are called archetypes.
One of the founders of analytical psychology, Carl Jung, described archetypes as unconscious behavior patterns, or modes of apprehension that we’ve all inherited, which make them selves known through mental images in both waking and dream states. To make a long story short, it is evident that music strongly encourages this archetypal behavior, and that when we listen to powerful music we are tapping into a deep well of charged emotional material. This psychic material relates to our personal experiences, and those of our ancestors.
The music that will be on this debut release represents the beginning of hopefully many more installments of “research” into the aforementioned fields. But I need your help to bring it to fruition. I’ve assembled a group of some of the world’s best musicians to be involved with the project, including world renowned film composer and jazz pianist DAVE GRUSIN, Venezuelan born pianist extraordinare Otmaro Ruiz, Benjamin Shepherd (one of jazz's finest young bass players), acclaimed drummer Gene Coye, as well as saxophone virtuosos Danny Janklow and Jacob Scesney.
Without your support, none of this will come to pass, and the music will stay unrecorded and unheard. The money you donate will help pay for the musicians, production crew, studio time, and manufacturing costs. I can only hope that the music we end up documenting will have a positive impact on people’s lives, and will allow listeners to become more in touch with the vital, imaginative centers present within all of us.
Our experiences are a synthesis of physical, outward events, and the psychic reality that contributes to them. I call the mental realm a "psychic reality" because when a psychological experience is powerful enough, it is real to the one experiencing it; It is as real as the physical event taking place and has a numinous quality. The psychic reality is the real reality, because it is where events (real and imaginary) are experienced.
Experiences: Real and Imaginary
March 6, 2018- Alex to be lead guitarist for allan holdsworth Memorial concert in san Pedro, California (details below)
Prior to the public memorial for guitarist Allan Holdsworth in Anaheim on April 15th, 2018, there will be a performance featuring his music and his former band members on the evening of April 14th. Alex will be featured as the lead guitarist, and will be joined by his friend and bassist Ben Shepherd, along with many of Allan's former bandmates including drummer Joel Taylor, keyboardist Steve Hunt, as well as bassists Anthony Crawford and Earnest Tibbs The concert will take place at the Alvas Showroom in San Pedro, CA.
AUgust 25th, 2017- Alex to perform as one of the lead guitarists for allan holdsworth tribute shows this october
On October 26th and 27th (2017), Alex will perform as one of the lead guitarists for the official tribute concerts dedicated to the legendary guitarist and composer Allan Holdsworth. The concerts will be performed at the world famous Baked Potato Jazz Club in Studio City, CA and will feature many of Allan's former bandmates including Virgil Donati, Steve Hunt, Evan Marien, Jimmy Johnson, Anthony Crawford, Joel Taylor, and other special guests. Tickets will be available on the Baked Potato Website.
April 13th 2017- Make sure to tune into CMT @10/9 Central for the season finale of Sun Records. Alex will be making an appearance playing guitar as Carl Perkins' brother Jay. Also be sure to tune at 10pm to a live interview hosted by AfterBuzz TV (https://www.youtube.com/user/AfterBuzzTV) featuring actor Dustin Ingram (Carl Perkins), and Alex. Send in your questions, comments, thoughts about Sun Records, or anything else you'd like to ask.
March 2017- Alex will be the guitarist in a new Thursday night residency at the Houston Brothers' brand new magic themed Hollywood Club The Black Rabbit Rose. Hosted by Fred Durst, these performances will feature a wide array of jazz music, featuring very special guest performers. Performances will also be interspersed with shows by various magicians. Make sure to arrive early, as the theatre fills up quickly. Details for the first show below.
February 2017- Sun Records premieres on CMT Thursday February 23rd at 10/9C
December 2016- In anticipation of the plans to record a full length album of original material entitled Experiences: Real and Imaginary, Alex is releasing some high definition concert footage featuring compositions to be included on the release. Filmed live at the blue whale Jazz club in Los Angeles by the very skilled Alex Chaloff, here's the first in a series of video releases.
September 2016- Alex has started teaching in the Jazz Program at Calabasas High School as part of their award winning Music Department.
Fall 2016- "Million Dollar Quartet," now to be called "Sun Records," the upcoming CMT television series Alex played guitar in, is set for release in early 2017. In the show, Alex plays Jay Perkins of the Carl Perkins Band, performing early Rock N' Roll music in a drama focused on the lives of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lewis, Carl Perkins and the beginnings of a musical genre in Memphis, Tennessee. Stay tuned for details...
June 20th-July 10th, 2016- Alex is playing guitar as Jay Perkins in CMT's upcoming show "Million Dollar Quartet," which focuses on the careers of Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins. Filming is taking place in Memphis, Tennessee. Here's a shot from the set:
Summer 2016- There's some exciting shows and events booked for the summer months. Check out the Calendar page for more details.
November/December 2015- Alex has composed and recorded several pieces for an upcoming documentary entitled "Live Another Day." More info here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4844034/
Here's some photos from the recording sessions-
August 2015- Alex will be returning to the Crown of the Continent Guitar Festival in Bigfork, Montana to perform. Other acts include Lee Ritenour, Dweezil Zappa, Dave Grusin, Jon Herington of Steely Dan, guitar virtuoso Tim Miller, and more.
June 2015- Alex has composed the trailer music, as well as arranged and performed the end title music for the August 2015 documentary "Saved In America." (See trailer below). The score for the documentary was composed by one of Alex's mentors- Oscar/Grammy winning artist Dave Grusin.