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Jordan Rudess - The Road Home CD (album) cover


Jordan Rudess


Crossover Prog

3.18 | 93 ratings

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3 stars I don't know too much about the work of Jordan Rudess in Dream Theater but I was so surprised to come across this in a local shop that I thought I'd give it a try. A bit of a risky enterprise - taking on some of the great prog classics including the full Tarkus epic - but I would say he has managed to pull it off. Starting off with an excellent version of "Dance on a Volcano", featuring Neal Morse on vocals and some embellishments in an extended instrumental section, this shows Steve Hackett how he should have done it on "Genesis Revisited". He then takes a bigger risk with "Soundchaser" but again it's a success as he plays on the jazzier aspects of the song, replacing the Squire bass with a funky keyboard sound and using a similar bendy keyboard sound to Moraz. The guitar solo section (from Ed Wynne) is changed to more of a shredding solo and the ending section doesn't quite have the manic qualities of the original, but a good effort at what must be a very difficult number to cover. Good vocals from Nick D'Virgilio and Kip Winger. Gentle Giant's "Just the Same" from "Free Hand" gets a sympathetic treatment with a great synth solo.

The solo piano medley is a good idea, featuring melodies from "Soon", "Supper's Ready", "I Talk to the Wind" and "And You And I", but is far too over-embellished and unfortunately ends up sounding like Richard Clayderman plays prog. "Piece of the Pi" is a short but manic Rudess jazz-fusion number.

The CD ends up with the full version of "Tarkus", soon after Zip Tang attempted the same and, whilst more similar to the original than the Zip Tang version, the vocals are better and there's some excellent and occasionally surprising use of keyboard sounds here (although that has to be weighed against the also occasional moment where he veers alarmingly back towards Richard Clayderman territory). Steven Wilson is the lead vocalist on "Stone of Years"

Rudess has taken a risk and I feel he has succeeded on the whole. Although some of these versions are bound to come off worse in direct comparison to the originals because they're such classics, this is an enjoyable listen, well-played by a stellar cast of musicians, and a CD I will probably be playing quite regularly.

chopper | 3/5 |


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