Jordan Rudess

Feeding the Wheel

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On Feeding the Wheel, Jordan Rudess has modernized the keyboard sounds pioneers like E. Power Biggs, Rick Wakeman, Gary Wright, Alan Hovhaness, and Keith Emerson broke ground with. The latter-day third ivory player in Dream Theater takes Gary Wright's Dream Weaver a step or two into the twilight zone. "Headspace" is a nice moody piece, kind of like Edgar Froese outside of Kraftwerk with more activity in the mix. "Quantum Soup" features Steve Morse of the Dregs on guitar solo with Terry Bozzio of Missing Persons playing percussion, the first of eight numbers the ex-Zappa drummer provides the bottom for. Track two has its own evolution, from jazz/progressive rock to a bassy funk eight minutes into the tune, with the 11 minutes of "Quantum Soup" melting nicely into the six minutes of "Shifting Sands." The spaced notations in the CD booklet are vaguely familiar, that aforementioned Dream Weaver concept a simplified version of this. "We all feed wheels that carry our hopes and dreams to another day" is the sentiment written by Rudess, and those thoughts are unleashed in music which will appeal to fans of Dream Theater and ELP and those who feel Steely Dan is too mainstream. "Revolving Door" could be the theme to Hawaii Five-O turned upside down; strange vocals invade for a few moments on this otherwise instrumental enterprise. The title track can be a bit much except for the staunchest fans of progressive rock, over seven minutes of the piano runs Jordan Rudess learned at Juilliard embellished with high-end production and superb drums. For those who thought Emerson, Lake & Palmer's "The Nutrocker" wasn't energetic enough, explore this disc. "Dreaming in Titanium" is like some prelude to music by Prince, while "Center of the Sphere" is part of the artist's quest, the "search for the ultimate sound" that Rudess speaks of. Bobby Hebb has stated that he has found the lost chord, now he's trying to figure out what to do with it. Feeding the Wheel is definitely another musician on that same journey.

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