Reviewed by MJBrady on 24 Jul 2004
Jordan Rudess in a what seems like a short time has firmly established himself as one of progressive musics' most gifted, and forward thinking keyboardists. Having done gigs and recordings with The Dregs, Rudess/Morganstein Project and currently with his bandmates DreamTheater, those that have seen and heard him understand that his playing starts off where mere mortals of the instrument leave off. Always one to incorporate the very essense of progressive stylings in his writing, Jordan Rudess has the rare ability to do with his hands exactly what his mind is imaginging. And to the listeners delight, he has some of the very best musicians to help him in conveying his inventions.
His last solo cd - Feeding the Wheel was a taste of his true genius. And this cd - Rhythm of Time, starts off where that one ended. If you go back to his Rudess/Morganstein Project, the music on that cd showed what a prodigeous talent Jordan truely was, yet being the cd only contained the performances of both he and drummer Rod Morganstein (Dregs), The dominant sound of keyboards on that cd left many impressed with the music and playing, but the songs also seemed to crave the contrast of other instrumentations to compliment the effort. Rudess has such an arsenal of unique sounds with which to utilize, yet having guitars, and basses to help perfect his compositions are what has evolved since that fine recording.
And this cd is the perfection of what Jordan Rudess is capable of in more of band type setting, especially as a writer/performer. He also shows prudence in the choices of musicians with which he enlisted for this cd. Steve Morse, always a nice compliment to Jordans' playing and genius, Steve's parts on this are few, but do show what a magical cohesion flows between them, Greg Howe, who has continued to grow and develop as a guitarist, leaves some impressive Holdsworth-like statements on Rhythm of Time. And Joe Satriani also does some fine playing on his parts, proving that perhaps he should consider branching out away from the straight guitar hero rut his cds seem to be falling into, no doubt JS has great tone and talent, but hearing him do this music is really inspiring as compared to his own music of late.
Not to be overlooked is the drumming of Rod Morganstein, perhaps one of a short list of drummer that has the basis in music theory enough not only to follow Jordan's perplexing charts, but to be able to do the changes and rhythms with style and flare is what makes him the perfect percussive pairing with Rudess. Song wise, There are no weak songs, there is a moment where Jordan actually sings, this particular song is somewhat out of place, but segues very nicely from one song to next. But as a whole this cd is again an example of one of todays great musical talents, with no limits or restrictions. What Rudess is doing is combining all the elements of progressive rock, fusion, and other musics, and creating a new invention. I guess at any given time, I can hear hints of Planet X, UK, YES, ELP, Zappa, Bruford(The band), LTE, Genesis and some others, all drawn together with Rudess' expressive touch. So far, this one is fitting high in my top 5 list for 2004.