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Jordan Rudess - Notes on a dream CD (album) cover

NOTES ON A DREAM

Jordan Rudess

 

Crossover Prog

3.22 | 35 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
2 stars Albums of this nature are difficult to rate and review; this album from keyboard master Jordan Rudess is a collection of Dream Theater songs reworked for one man and his piano. That means it is an album of covers, and it is only piano music, which quite naturally would pique the interest of anyone who appreciates Dream Theater or classical piano, but at the same time, might lack appeal to any other audience. Rudess is, it goes without saying, a dedicated and masterful musician, and because of that, I tend to think that he overdoes it, strangling the most delicate pieces with highly proficient runs and arpeggios, many of which don't even work within the context of the music. That said, this is some really amazing work by one of progressive metal's most talented keyboardists, although I am constrained to review it on its own flaws and merits (rather than compare it to other albums in Crossover). Therefore my rating comes with a humongous disclaimer: If you are fond of virtuosic piano music, this is highly recommended, even though I myself find several of the versions here needlessly flashy.

"Through Her Eyes" Many tender flourishes pop in between each line (some of them blues scales), which can make such a warm piece seem far busier than it should. The original itself is such a simple track in terms of chord progressions, that it would seem necessary to add such frequent runs throughout, but that is not so- a simpler, kinder treatment would have allowed the melody to breathe on its own.

"Lifting Shadows Off A Dream" Rudess works the expanse of the keyboard on this rendition, using arpeggios to underscore the simplistic melody.

"Perpetuum Mobile" This is one of two pieces that are not from Dream Theater. As one can figure out by the name, this is a brief, rapid, and complex piece of music.

"The Silent Man" Similar to the opener, this version takes a relatively undemanding piece of music and packs it full of runs.

"Another Day" Varied in volume and involvedness in the beginning, it's gorgeous to hear that familiar melody eventually ring through- well done.

"Hollow Years" One of my favorite Dream Theater songs, I was eager to hear what Rudess would do with such a wonderful and powerful melody. He treats the piece with care, keeping the embellishments at a respectable level, for once allowing them to complement the flow rather than dominate it.

"The Grand Escapement" This extremely busy piece hurts my fingers just listening to it! It is chock full of bluesy soloing and low riffs.

"The Spirit Carries On" Although this song comes from my favorite Dream Theater album, I've always maintained that this is one of the band's more banal moments (there were more from that album, and I still regard it as my most cherished), so taking that and stripping it down makes for some really uninteresting listening. I much rather would have heard his take on something more ambitious, like "Overture 1928" or "Strange Déjà Vu."

"Speak To Me" This covers a track from the official bootlegs for Falling Into Infinity, and is a beautiful, poignant bit of music with some stirring chord work.

"The Answer Lies Within" Once again, here is a gentler piece almost ruined with, dare I say it, goofy bluesy runs and out-of-context flourishes.

"Collision Point" Barely passing the minute mark, this is a very brief yet completely original piece, demonstrating the man's mastery over eighty-eight keys.

"Vacant" This cut from Train of Thought is given a dreary makeover, with excellent ornamental playing to fill out the sound.

Epignosis | 2/5 |

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