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John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess - An Evening With John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess CD (album) cover

AN EVENING WITH JOHN PETRUCCI AND JORDAN RUDESS

John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess

 

Crossover Prog

4.01 | 83 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

CCVP
Prog Reviewer
5 stars One of the best performances by two musicians who do not conform themselves in just one thing

Back in the early and all through the late 2000's, Dream Theater was the hottest band around. Many would question that statement regarding that most of their albums from that time period are not among their most brilliant works (Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence excepted), but looking only to the band's studio output would be undermining all of their hard work, dedication and, most of all, pure and unadulterated talent and passion in playing music; you can see in any of their live recordings from that time the passion they have when playing, how they pour their souls into what they are doing, specially in the Live in Budokan and Score albums.

What does this all has to do with this album? Well, nevertheless all the band members were putting some of their most impressive efforts into Dream Theater's albums, that period in time was also fertile in successful side projects by all of the band members, either with other bands, such as Transatlantic, Jelly Jam and Liquid Tension Experiment, or with solo projects, much like did John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess in releasing solo material.

An Evening With John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess manages to merge both things that said era of Dream Theater had together: the side project and solo project. This live recording brings us an unique presentation by the band's guitarist and keyboardist, two of the band's main creative forces behind it all as well as two of the most gifted and talented musicians in current progressive rock.

This record, however, showcases them both in a place that we usually don't see: Petrucci stays (for the most part) outside of his heavy metal comfort zone of hurling countless notes at us and delivers an impressive, emotional and at times unexpected guitar lines that vary from jazz, classic guitar, blues and classic progressive rock, just to mention the most apparent styles he portrays in his guitar. Here, I believe, even the critics of his work at Dream Theater would agree that his performance is far from cold and heartless technical guitar lines he does at the famous progressive metal band.

As for Jordan Rudess, we do see a different side of him than we usually see at DT: the flamboyant, overly technical and multifaceted keyboard wizard. Nevertheless, for those who follow his solo work this kind of performance would not come to a surprise; the subtle and yet impressive ways he can twist and turn a single melody line into something incredibly good and unexpected without resorting to elaborate sounds or equipment can surprise even the most experienced of music listeners.

All songs from the live performance itself (excepting State of Grace, which was written in Liquid Tension Experiment) are original compositions for this presentation alone, or so I presume since I have never seen or heard they being played before or after, use extensive improvisation from both players for large parts of the performance, what give an even more impressive and fresh feel to each song. As mentioned before, the music's tone here is definitively not what one would expect from members of a progressive metal band; indeed the introspective and elated feel to the melodies played here accentuate the distance from their rather aggressive and powerful side, so often seen in Dream Theater. The extensive use of acoustic instruments (or, in Rudess's case, the sound of acoustic instruments like the piano or the harp) emphasize that tone, even though Petrucci does uses his electric guitar quite a lot (but not in a heavy metal manner or attitude, though) and Rudess sparsely uses synthesizers/synthetic sounds.

The only exception is the last song, Bite of the Mosquito, which is a studio version of the famous Rimsky-Korsakov song Flight of the Bumblebee. For me, it is only here to showcase the technical prowess of both instrumentalists, specially if you take into account how fast it is played, and serves to set a contrast from the rest of the album, all based on emotional and sensible playing by both Petrucci and Rudess; if that's the case, mission accomplished.

The moment captured in this album, almost an hour and a half of pure musical bliss, testifies the inventiveness and quality of both this musicians amazing compositional and playing abilities. Indeed, John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess show to all that they definitively not bound to the realms of progressive metal that made them famous, as well as that they are incredibly skillful outside that field of music. For that, I believe that the most honest rating would be 5 stars.

CCVP | 5/5 |

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