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Jordan Rudess - 4NYC CD (album) cover


Jordan Rudess


Crossover Prog

3.03 | 33 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Jordan on Improv. A very decent, and not easily found, disk. Rather understated, but yet very personal, the tracks recorded at the Helen Hayes Performing Arts Center were laid down only 13 days after the September 11th attacks. There is a undelying sense of woundedness and what it seems Jordan had hoped to do was to acknowledge our pain, but at the same time to raise spirits.

The CD opens with "My Thoughts" and it sets the tone for the album. Vaguely suggestive of Kieth Jarrett's "Köln Concert," it moves through jazzy improv themes to bring the listener out of his/her funky & fearful space and into a place more peaceful and secure.

"Lamb Chops," the fifth track, includes phrasing from the children's song "Mary had a Little Lamb," as the review by sanmancky made reference to. It starts off tenderly and grows into a mature piece of music before stepping into a joking bit of ragtime, then passes through a few more variants, including an arpeggio rendition unlike anything you'll ever hear.

The track, "Within" is a studio improv. What sounds like a harp is, presumably, Jordan on keyboards. The work is convicing, reminiscent of Paul Halley's Pianoworks improv compositions. The theme has to be healing, as this tune caresses with gentle phrasing and sonic richness.

"One Voice" uses synth choirs, but Jordan, here, masterfully draws out the composition. Its one of the live recordings. As I close my eyes and listen, I can't help but be haunted by nameless faces of Americans as they are pained by the loss of so many lives in NYC, Washington and on United flight 93. "One Voice" is about the inner spirit of perseverence amidst tragedy. At least that is how it hits me.

There are thirteen tracks on the CD and those I've highlighted offer a sense of what this album is all about. Its not prog rock in the traditional sense. It is more of an instrumental-keyboard-fusion of styles and contexts. It is the perfect recording to put on after a hard, painful or difficult day. I'd have to say the album is magical in that Jordan communicates so clearly his own dismay over those recent events, and yet the strength of his hope is also contained in these improv compositions.

Masterpiece? Very close. Magical and healing - 4.5 stars

macpurity1 | 4/5 |


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