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DEREK SHERINIAN

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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Derek Sherinian biography
Born August 25, 1966 (Laguna Beach, California, USA)

DEREK SHERINIAN is an American keyboardist well known for a prolific recording and touring career, and has played as a side man to numerous musicians on tour, many very well known in the rock industry, such as BILLY IDOL, ALIC COOPER, ALICE IN CHAINS, and others. In the studio, he can be found on records from many bands, both his and others' projects, such as DREAM THEATER , PLANET X , PLATYPUS , and others. In conjunction with this, he has had an active solo career for over a decade, producing hard-hitting jazz rock albums with a metal edge. Many often feature famous guest musicians that he'd toured with.

SHERINIAN began playing piano at age five. He received a scholarship to the esteemed Berklee College of Music while in high school, and he went on to room and meet with many soon-to-be-famous musicians, such as future MEGADETH and SAVATAGE guitarist Al PITERLI, and the three founding members of DREAM THEATER. After leaving Boston, SHERINIAN made his first success in touring with ALICE COOPER in 1989. He went on to tour with many bands during that period.

In 1994, SHERINIAN was called by his former schoolmates John PETRUCCI, John MYUNG, and Mike PORTNOY to ask him to replace former keyboardist Kevin MOORE during their 1994 "Waking up the World" tour in support of their third studio album "Awake." After a successful tour (despite singer James LaBRIE's wrecked vocal chords during the tour), the band asked him to remain as their permanent keyboardist. He went on to record the "A Change of Seasons" EP, "Falling into Infinity," and "Once in a LIVEtime" with the band, before being asked to leave the band. He was replaced with Jordan RUDESS, whose style the band thought would better suit their music.

After his stint with DREAM THEATER, SHERINIAN went on to begin a prolific recording career. Beginning in 1998 with he, John MYUNG (of DREAM THEATER), Rod MORGENSTEIN (of DIXIE DREGS), and Ty TABOR (of KING'S X) began the recording project PLATYPUS and released two albums, "When Pus Comes to Shove" in 1998 and "Ice Cycles" in 2000, after which the band broke up (only to reform under the moniker THE JELLY JAM without SHERINIAN).

This was followed finally by t...
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DEREK SHERINIAN discography


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DEREK SHERINIAN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.92 | 95 ratings
Planet X
1999
3.46 | 59 ratings
Inertia
2001
3.44 | 93 ratings
Black Utopia
2003
3.54 | 71 ratings
Mythology
2004
4.05 | 90 ratings
Blood Of The Snake
2006
3.68 | 93 ratings
Molecular Heinosity
2009
3.86 | 129 ratings
Oceana
2011
3.95 | 35 ratings
The Phoenix
2020

DEREK SHERINIAN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

DEREK SHERINIAN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

DEREK SHERINIAN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

DEREK SHERINIAN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 2 ratings
In the Summertime
2006

DEREK SHERINIAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Phoenix by SHERINIAN, DEREK album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.95 | 35 ratings

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The Phoenix
Derek Sherinian Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Heart of the Matter

4 stars Derek Sherinian is just back with his new solo album, sharing credits with drummer Simon Phillips and many other top-notch musicians guesting around. "The Phoenix" serves as opener and title track of the album, beginning with a synthesizer solo by Sherinian himself asserting the energic tone to prevail in the proceedings. Then joins Simon Phillips' drums contributing the necessary feel of groove. On "Clouds of Ganymede", we find fusion guitar virtuoso Steve Vai bringing his characteristic sound and powerful touch to the fore. "Dragonfly" features Sherinian exclussively on acoustic piano, and backed only by Ernest Tibbs' bass, and Phillips' tasteful drumming, a rather intimate instrumental environment bringing a welcomed relaxation after the initially strong vibe. Buddy Miles' "Them Changes" steers straight towards bluesy territory, where Joe Bonamassa takes the lead on vocals and, of course, guitar too. For a hard-prog track here, you should check "Octopus Pedigree"
 Black Utopia by SHERINIAN, DEREK album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.44 | 93 ratings

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Black Utopia
Derek Sherinian Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars I agree with some reviewers that there is not a lot of effort by Derek himself as it is a group effort and guitar players are certainly not just an accompanying band. This may be seen upon critically or positively.

On a more negative side, the compositions are memorable which is at the expense of the band not trying hard enough to challenge themselves as a fusion-prog pack. Fortunately, the album is not too long and offers even acoustic moments.

Overall, it is a pleasant album to listen to but it seems to be a lighter effort by all its musicians. And I would wish to hear more Derek solos.

 Black Utopia by SHERINIAN, DEREK album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.44 | 93 ratings

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Black Utopia
Derek Sherinian Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by martindavey87

2 stars With an all-star lineup featuring some stellar musicians, this album almost feels like a bit of a letdown. Main man Derek Sherinian takes a backseat to endless guitar acrobatics by some of the world's most renowned players, yet it all seems rather dull and uninspired.

Now, I love heavy music, I have a bit of a taste for what's called "fusion", though I could never totally come to grasps with what that really means, and enjoy a bit of guitar shredding. But none of it seems coherent on this album. You have guys like Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Lukather, Al Di Meola and Zakk Wylde all on one record, and yet, with the exception of a few passages, it feels like they're all just going through the motions.

There's an abundance of great riffs though, which is evident in massive headbangers like 'The Sons of Anu' and the title track, 'Black Utopia', while songs like 'Starcycle' and 'Gypsy Moth' have some nice, exotic flavors to them. But overall, while none of the tracks are bad, I struggle to really listen to any of them all the way through without being bored.

And then of course, there's Mr. Sherinian himself. The fact I've discussed the guitar playing more than the keyboards pretty much goes to show how low-key Sherinian's performance seems to be. Or perhaps I'm just struggling to pay attention. As a whole, I do feel kind of bad giving this album such a low score, but I struggle to justify to myself rating it any higher.

 Mythology by SHERINIAN, DEREK album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.54 | 71 ratings

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Mythology
Derek Sherinian Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars 2004, Derek Sherinian is here to offer another solo album to the fans of his personal productions.''Mythology'' was released on the InsideOut and Avalon labels in Europe/USA and Japan respectively, line-up/list of participants remains pretty much the same as on the previous album, still Sherinian had sent an invitation to Jazz-Fusion legend Allan Holdsworth to offer his guitar work on a couple of pieces.

Now, another great member of the all-time Fusion Hall of Fame has entered the gates of Sherinian, so expectations were really high for this one.I am pretty dissapointed to say that the result has taken the opposite direction.Sherinian seems to have forgotten about the sense of melody and for what this album will be remembered about will be the endless and tiresome keyboard noodling, extreme technical exhibitions and loose soloing.It's pretty weird to listen to some Hard Rock-in' guitars trying to get on track with Sherinian's fists of keyboard masturbation, the execution by all instrumentalists are reckless, virtuosic and even flawless, but you've to come up also with some decent composing to satisfy your fans.This is not the case.''Mythology'' relies too much on self-indulgent performances, the balance between virtuosity, melody, technique and composition has pretty much faded in my ears and the numerous solo exhibitions are hard to follow, not to say they're not particularly memorable after repeated listenings.The rise of Metal and Hard Rock elements in the place of more Fusion-oriented lines are sounding rather annoying, there are still pieces with interesting moments, like the monumental guitar work of Steve Stevens on ''Alpha burst'', the impressive atmospheric passages on ''God of war'' Sykes' solo and Sherinian's orchestral keys creating a few enganging minutes of well-constructed music or the Latin vibes of ''El flamingo suave'', but the majority in here is about virtuosity and technique, fast solos, egoistic exhibitions and nonsense Metal/Fusion pomposity.

Not meeting my expectations.Flawless in terms of talent and execution, but very low in what you'll recall after the listening.Little to remember actually, so be sure to like furious, bombastic music if you ever lay your hands on this...2.5 stars.

 Black Utopia by SHERINIAN, DEREK album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.44 | 93 ratings

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Black Utopia
Derek Sherinian Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

3 stars Derek is of course keyboard player with Planet X, among others, but while this is a solo album of his it has to be said that it sounds as if it has been recorded by a master guitarist. When looking into the album a bit more closely the reason becomes apparent in that Derek has seen himself as composer, arranger and musical director and has then invited some guests such as Zakk Wylde and Yngwie J Malmsteen (among others) to come in and let rip. While Derek does provide some extremely complex melodies (aided and abetted by a rhythm section of Simon Phillips and Tony Franklin), it is the guitars that are centre stage.

While there are places where the music calms down, and indeed there is room at times for some acoustic guitar, it is where the guitars are at their most ferocious that this album really flies. Derek has brought in guitarists with quite different styles and has used this to great effect. "Axis Of Evil" sees Zakk and Yngwie shredding and trying to outdo each other on a rock song that just blasts. The note density on this album must be phenomenal yet there are few times when it seems over-indulgent. Over the top definitely, but it is music that makes the listener want more, not reach for the off switch. Derek may be a keyboard player but buy this not if you want to hear a Rick Wakeman soundalike but if you want to hear guitarists going for it at top speed.

Originally appeared in Feedback #73, Jun 03

 Inertia by SHERINIAN, DEREK album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.46 | 59 ratings

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Inertia
Derek Sherinian Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

2 stars Derek is of course keyboard player in Dream Theater, Platypus and Planet X so it is of little surprise what his solo album sounds like. Actually, I could say that it is not as self-indulgent as one might imagine, but of course I would be wrong, it is just that it goes in different ways to what I had thought it might. He has brought in many mates, such as Simon Phillips, Steve Lukather, Tony Franklin etc. To my ears the most interesting is Zakk Wylde who lets rip on the heavy rock monster 'Evel Knievel', but the jazz fusion interplay on the title cut is also something.

But, as in the Planet X recordings, it is all just a little too clever for its' own good, and is an album that will probably not be played much in the future, as too much intensity and note density can be plain boring.

Originally appeared in Feedback #63, July 01

 Black Utopia by SHERINIAN, DEREK album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.44 | 93 ratings

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Black Utopia
Derek Sherinian Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars In 2003 a tireless Derek Sherinian launches his third solo album entitled ''Black Utopia'', released again on Inside Out.For this album the line-up of ''Inertia'' took an upgrade with three more musicians added to the guest list of Sherinian: Bass parts are provided in a few tracks by Billy Sheehan, Jazz/Fusion legend Al Di Meola also contributes with his guitar in a pair of tracks and the virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen appears also in three pieces.The later was touring with Sherinian since 2002, propably this was the reason of his appearance on the album.

''Black Utopia'' sounds so much the same yet different to ''Inertia''.This is still a heavy-sounding album, especially when Zakk Wylde takes over with his guitar, having a strong Heavy Metal sense throughout and flirting constantly with modern Jazz/Fusion.Malmsteen's influence on the tracks he appears is more than evident, these two pieces along with the opening introduction have an obvious Neo-Classical flavor due to his highly technical solos.The rest of the album can be actually labeled as Fusion Metal with plenty of atmospheric soundscapes added for good measure.Sherinian again provides a virtuosic keyboard performance with tremendous pyrotechnics, grandiose preludes and powerful solos, while the guitars remain aggressive and punchy all the way.The biggest suprise comes from the brief but highly original acoustic crescendos of Di Meola, which have their own sound and spark.However the ghost of DREAM THEATER seems to keep haunting Sherinian's composing approach, who's albums have a strong vibe from his past with the milestone US Prog Metal legends.

Sharp, rich and pounding Fusion/Heavy Prog/Metal with huge waves of guitar and keyboard attacks is what ''Black Utopia'' is all about and anyone fond of the more virtuosic side of Prog has find his heaven.Recommended.

 Oceana by SHERINIAN, DEREK album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.86 | 129 ratings

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Oceana
Derek Sherinian Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by darkshade
Collaborator Jazz Rock/Fusion Team

5 stars Do you like Jeff Beck's fusion albums like "Blow By Blow" and "Wired"? How about Jan Hammer, particularly The Jan Hammer Group's album "Oh Yeah?". Well, you're going to love this. This album has ex-Dream Theater keyboardist Derek Sherinian channeling the feel and style of those albums, with a little added heaviness in the guitars, and a few other keyboard sounds not heard from those great 70s albums.

Derek's style has always been a little jazzy, and on previous solo albums, and the albums by his main band Planet X, are a nice mix of jazz, jazz-fusion, and progressive metal. At times he'll even let loose and go completely post-bop amidst the prog-metal. On "Oceana", the jazz and fusion style is pushed to the foreground, leaving only traces of his famous brand of prog-metal. Lots of funky bass, excellent fusion drumming, and with guitarists Tony MacAlpine and Steve Lukather, you know you're going to get some real jazz-fusion guitar ala Scott Henderson; mixed with some heavy riffs here and there.

Seriously, if you are familiar with Planet X or Derek's solo stuff, but wished he'd do a real jazz-fusion album, this is it. Every track here is high quality modern fusion, with great soulful guitar, nice keyboard sounds and solos, but also fast technical stuff that occasionally reminds me of fusion bands like Tribal Tech, Jan Hammer Group, or Return To Forever. Add a little heaviness from the guitars (and keys), and you have a modern fusion classic.

 Oceana by SHERINIAN, DEREK album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.86 | 129 ratings

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Oceana
Derek Sherinian Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Starhammer
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Into a watery Eden...

For me this was one of the more pleasant surprise of 2011. I can't say I was expecting much having spent the last two years trying and failing to appreciate Molecular Heinosity, but several key changes make Oceana not only a more enjoyable experience, but also one of Sherinian's best works to date.

The Good: Firstly, his keyboards are more prominent and don't just sit behind the guitars like in recent outings. This recalls a style more similar to his debut solo release, Planet X. And then there's the lineup. With contributions from Tony Macalpine, Steve Lukather, Steve Stevens, Doug Aldrich and BCC band-mate Joe Bonamassa, its not hard to see which direction Sherinian wanted to take with this record.

Gone are the endless, sterile solos and metal clichés, in place we have killer hooks, engaging fusion exploration, and more than a hint of blues rock. Prolific session musician Simon Philips returns with another excellent, yet understated contribution as drummer and co-writer. The third appealing aspect of this release is it's total lack of vocals, something that has been 'missing' from Sherinian's recent solo output.

The Bad: Oceana is a very consistent album with nine great compositions. It has certainly become a regular feature amongst my playlists. But considering it from a 'prog' angle I find it to be a bit too predictable with rigid song structure and a 'less than smooth' transition between musical passages.

The Verdict: One of the strongest instrumental releases of 2011.

 Molecular Heinosity by SHERINIAN, DEREK album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.68 | 93 ratings

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Molecular Heinosity
Derek Sherinian Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Starhammer
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Audiophilicity...

Derek Sherinian's sixth solo album is heavily rooted in progressive metal, a noticeable departure from its fusion laced predecessor, Blood of the Snake. This might be preferable to some, but I find the lack of diversity to be a step backwards. As usual, some extremely talented musicians are on display including Planet X band-mate Virgil Donati on drums for the first time since their 1999 album of the same name.

The album starts off promisingly and it's not long before the soaring guitar of Ascension leads into the main event, Primal Eleven. It's a really great track, but sadly a sole highlight for Molecular Heinosity. After that it's pretty much every man for himself, a race to the finish in a flurry of Malmsteen-esque licks. It's quite exhilarating at times, but interesting? Not so much. Even the change of pace that The Lone Spaniard brings is far from inspiring.

I would like to say that the album's redeeming feature is it's lack of vocals, but alas, the final track also heralds the return of Zack Wilde sneezing into the microphone. It's clear from the reviews and ratings that Molecular Heinosity has received that it's generally considered amongst Sherinian's best, but for me it's his least commendable work to date.

The Verdict: A decent shred-fest with only one track that really stands out.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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