“It’s an anti-establishment statement – I’m trying to make it okay for jazz guitarists to go out with their metal guitars”: Meet Cecil Alexander, the prog-loving jazz guitarist who’s challenging elitism by shredding bebop on a Jackson

Cecil Alexander
(Image credit: Ken Jacques Photography/Camilla Seidelmann)

“I think a lot of people are afraid to play jazz on anything other than an L-5,” says Cecil Alexander, the man who recently broke the internet shredding bebop on a Jackson Soloist.

Jazz only gripped the Michigan-born guitarist after he fell in love with Van Halen and Jimi Hendrix. As such, he hasn’t allowed himself to be regimented by tradition. “When I was doing my master’s, my main guitar was a Thinline Tele,” he explains. “My tutor told me, ‘Wes Montgomery would never play something like that; you need to get a real jazz guitar.’

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Phil Weller

A freelance writer with a penchant for music that gets weird, Phil is a regular contributor to Prog, Guitar World, and Total Guitar magazines and is especially keen on shining a light on unknown artists. Outside of the journalism realm, you can find him writing angular riffs in progressive metal band, Prognosis, in which he slings an 8-string Strandberg Boden Original, churning that low string through a variety of tunings. He's also a published author and is currently penning his debut novel which chucks fantasy, mythology and humanity into a great big melting pot.