(All Album Reviews by shadow)
The Magna Carta Prime Cuts series continues with keyboard wunderkind Jordan Rudess in all his MC incursions. Too bad Vinnie Moore and Dream Theater ain’t welcome (different labels). Some of Jordan’s finest work can be found there. But whether it be Liquid Tension Experiment or the solo stuff, there’s a lurking signature vibe that fairly whispers “hair prog” (ironic, since Jordan’s bean is smooth as a cue ball nowadays). The presence of 90’s exponent Kip Winger on two cuts practically certifies the notion.
Does Jordan possess all the chops he’ll ever need, and than some? Yep. Does he fling them about with the macho abandon we’ve come to expect from him and the genre? You bet. Is Prime Cuts a must have.
Perhaps it’s the flat, hyper-compressed mix, or maybe this thing just ain’t me, but there’s something cold and wanting, like eating icing without the cake, that leaves me feeling empty about all this. The opener by LTE is a bona-fide screamer, and the shredders bash it out for nearly ten minutes, but much beyond that and I’m at saturation point. The ballads, welcome here as occasional repose, come across as maudlin and coy (they’d sound great on soft rock radio). An interesting departure was the Rachmaninoff inspired “Revolutionary Etude”. Copland/ELP’s “Hoedown” gets a prog metal treatment that reminded me of Christian shredder Lanny Cordola’s 90’s re-readings of Mozart. As much as I should enjoy this CD, I can live without it.