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.
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more