Levin Minnemann Rudess — Levin Minnemann Rudess
(Lazy Bones Recordings 7 39523 37924 8, 2013, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2014-01-22You throw Tony Levin and Jordan Rudess together in a studio, and people are going start thinking it's a Liquid Tension/Trio Experiment session and Mike Portnoy hasn't showed up yet. Then in walks Marco Minnemann, and you wonder what's going on. The end result is a lot like LTE without much guitar (though Minnemann plays a bit of guitar, it's not dominant in the arrangements), which in theory might resemble other keyboard trio line-ups. Theory mostly fails in this case, partly due to the wide variety of different sounds Rudess gets from his keyboards, some of which sound very guitaristic. Maybe it's my background as a keyboard player, and maybe it's because I (like many) have a nostalgic view of classic analog keyboard instruments, but I often have trouble with digital instruments, especially when they're used to immitate and warp the sounds of other instruments. My attitude is: "If you want a guitar sound, get a friggin' guitar!" And when you do something like cross the waveforms of two instruments and then apply pitch-bend to the notes in a way that neither original could, it's just a sound that annoys me. I guess I'm old-fashioned that way. But on this release, Rudess doesn't delve into too much of that kind of stuff. You'll hear some tones reminiscent of classic instruments, and a lot of things you can't really identify, but for the most part it all comes off well, even if a purist more hard-nosed than I might still object. The tunes, as one might expect, are complex and full of technical fire, but none of these guys is a mere show-off out to prove how many notes they can squeeze into a bar. Music like this walks a fine line between quality and excess, and seems to polarize a lot of listeners. This listener finds it leaning to the quality side, relatively cliché-free and a lot of fun.
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more