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Jordan Rudess - Explorations CD (album) cover


Jordan Rudess

Crossover Prog

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4 stars

Many of the pieces on this recording are tremendous. Of special note is the piano solo Shouri Now, Explorations for Keyboard and Orchestra (especially the first movement) and Over the Edge.

With today's technology, great artists like Jordan Rudess are able to write and record orchestral music without the need to engage an orchestra. Whether this is good or not is a worthwhile debate. However pieces like Explorations may well not exist were it not for our thirst for new technology. The cost of hiring and recording symphony orchestra may have been an insurmountable obstacle for this release. Written in what I term the neo- romantic style, Explorations runs close to the traditional piano concerto format. It contains many of the elements made famous by composers such as Stravinsky, Debussy, and Prokofief. Mr. Rudess plays with an unrivaled technical ease. His orchestrations are rich and invigorating.

the solo piano piece Shouri Now is amazing. It displays the drive, passion and inventiveness of the solo piano works of such progressive giants as Keith Emerson and Patrck Moraz, with ever shifting time signatures and blazing virtuosity.

Over the Edge brings the same sensibility to his digital orchestra, shifting suddenly from one idea to another with a carelessness with feels almost improvisational.

On the down side I felt Screaming Head merely exposed the limitations of the wonderful tools used to make the record by making a direct comparison to the original rock recording of the same piece, It sounds to me like a poor imitation.

The two ballads, the Untouchable Truth and a Pledge to You are pleasing but don't separate Mr. Rudess from other artists the way the other works do. His harmonies are more traditional and not colorful enough for my taste.

Lastly, In a few brief sections, a traditional drum set was used (or a digital facsimile thereof). It seemed out of place in this traditional classical format and I found it distracting.

All in all, Explorations is a testament to artistic excellence and great gift. And I am sure I will listen to it as long as my ears hear.

Thank you Jordan Rudess!

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Posted Sunday, November 23, 2014 | Review Permalink

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