The new Jordan Rudess album Notes On A Dream is a like the beacon far off in the distance that will lead us all back from whence we came. In spirit, that light brings him home where he belongs. This correlation also applies to the artist getting back to his roots and giving the nod to the classical underpinnings of his music. The 70s prog-rock influences of such bands as Gentle Giant and Genesis are sited as well. These bands helped to launch a fabulous career and give Dream Theater a partner in making some of the most exciting and progressive music over the last 20 some years.
In a word the 12 tracks on this recording are Dream Theater favorites that Rudess decided to interpret in their most simplest and elegant form through the acoustic piano.
The seed was planted by Jordan's wife Danielle, then it eventually germinated after much thought and a process that the artist explains as difficult at first. The hard work paid off as it all resulted in a beautiful flower blooming showing off all its colors. I know this hardly sounds like an introduction to Dream Theater songs- the powerful progressive metal all fans of the band know so well. So where are all the churning and swirling keyboards that Jordan so expertly provides for the band here? Think of a man taking the dark and powerful and revealing the lighter gentler side of the music by peeling off all the layers and revealing one stand alone level as statement to the true essence of how these compositions came together from one band member's perspective. Let us not forget the improvisational aspects of what is accomplished through this admittedly risqué and complex process. Some songs are instantly recognizable and others may take a bit longer to sink in at first. This is all dependent on your knowledge of the Dream Theater music and how personally in touch you may be and what level of intensity that relationship is.
The hard core rockers that love the Dream Theater sound may be totally taken aback and not able to see the forest through the trees and others will be able to hear and feel what the new meanings this talented artist has brought to each track.
Listening to "Another Day" which is flawless and brilliant, cries out for James LaBrie to accompany Jordan through the journey yet it is so powerful and convincing that I could hear James singing all the words as Jordan tickled the ivories and coaxed every note to sing along in the place of the lead singer. This is a very convincing and beautiful interpretation of one of Dream Theater's most memorable tracks.
After a few listens you realize that all 12 tracks are exceptional and find a new appreciation for the music of Dream Theater and how one member can take these complex progressive metal rock tracks and turn them inside out and make them all new, like a new coat of glossy paint.
My respect for the artist, his band and Classical music made this an easy transition and with each listen I began to fall in love with this album. Jordan Rudess really does make this experience Notes On A Dream.
01. Through Her Eyes
02. Lifting Shadows Off a Dream
03. Perpetuum Mobile
04. The Silent Man
05 Another Day
06. Hollow Years
07. The Grand Escapement
08. The Spirit Carries On
09. Speak To Me
10. The Answer Lies Within
11. Collision Point