Jordan Rudess (born Jordan Charles Rudes on November 4, 1956) is an American virtuoso keyboardist and composer best known as a member of the progressive metal/rock band Dream Theater and the progressive rock supergroup Liquid Tension Experiment.
Rudess was born in 1956 into a Jewish family. He was recognized by his 2nd grade teacher for his piano playing and was immediately given professional tuition. At nine, he entered the Juilliard School of Music Pre-College Division for classical piano training, but by his late teens he had grown increasingly interested in synthesizers and progressive rock music. Against the counsel of his parents and tutors, he turned away from classical piano and tried his hand as a solo progressive rock keyboardist.
After performing in various projects during the 1980s, he gained international attention in 1994 when he was voted "Best New Talent" in the Keyboard Magazine readers' poll after the release of his Listen solo album. Two of the bands who took notice of Rudess were The Dixie Dregs and Dream Theater, both of whom invited him to join. Rudess chose the Dregs, primarily as being a part-time member of the band would have less of an impact on his young family, a choice he was not given with Dream Theater.
During his time with the Dregs, Rudess formed a "power duo" with drummer Rod Morgenstein. The genesis of this pairing occurred when a power outage caused all of the Dregs' instruments to fail except Rudess', so he and Morgenstein improvised with each other until power was restored and the concert could continue. The chemistry between the two was so strong during this jam that they decided to perform together on a regular basis (under the name Rudess/Morgenstein Project or later RMP) and have since released a studio and a live record.
Rudess encountered Dream Theater once again when he and Morgenstein secured the support slot on one of Dream Theater's North American tours.
In 1997, when Mike Portnoy was asked to form a supergroup by Magna Carta Records, Rudess was chosen to fill the keyboardist spot in the band, which also consisted of Tony Levin and Portnoy's Dream Theater colleague John Petrucci. During the recording of Liquid Tension Experiment's two albums, it became evident to Portnoy and Petrucci that Rudess was what Dream Theater needed. They asked Rudess to join the band, and when he accepted they released their then-keyboardist Derek Sherinian to make way for him.
Rudess has been the full-time keyboardist in Dream Theater since the recording of 1999's Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory. He has recorded seven other studio albums with the group: 2002's Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, 2003's Train of Thought, 2005's Octavarium, 2007's Systematic Chaos, 2009's Black Clouds & Silver Linings, 2011's A Dramatic Turn of Events, and 2013's Dream Theater. In addition, he has appeared on the live albums Live Scenes From New York, Live at Budokan, Score, Chaos in Motion and Live at Luna Park.
In addition to working with Dream Theater he occasionally records and performs in other contexts, such as a 2001 one-off duo performance with Petrucci (released as the CD An Evening With John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess), as well as backing up Blackfield on their first short US tour in 2005 and playing a solo opening slot for them on their second in 2007. He also contributed to Steven Wilson's 2011 album, Grace for Drowning.
In 2010, Rudess composed "Explorations for Keyboard and Orchestra," his first classical composition. It was premiered in Venezuela on November 19, 2010 by the Chacao Youth Symphony Orchestra and guest conductor Eren Başbuğ. Rudess played all of the keyboard and synthesizer parts.
Rudess says his influences as a keyboardist are Keith Emerson, Tony Banks, Rick Wakeman and Patrick Moraz. His favorite musical artists and groups include Gentle Giant, Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, King Crimson, Jimi Hendrix, Autechre, and Aphex Twin.
Use of technology
While many keyboard players in progressive rock tend towards bringing numerous keyboards on stage, creating large racks of keyboards, Rudess would sample sounds from other keyboards he owned and map them to a single keyboard. Each "setup" assigns different sounds to different layers and key ranges of the keyboard controller; these setups are then arranged in the order they will be required for a gig, and cycled through with a foot-switch.
From the 1990s onward, he used a Kurzweil K2600XS during live sets, until switching to Korg's Oasys workstation in 2005, which he first used on Dream Theater's 2005–2006 20th Anniversary tour, along with a Muse Receptor hardware VST and a Haken Continuum X/Y/Z-plane MIDI Instrument triggering a Roland V-Synth XT and a Synthesizers.com Modular designed by Richard Lainhart and Roger Arrick. Influenced by Lainhart, Rudess was the first well known keyboardist to bring a Haken Continuum on to a live stage. Rudess still uses the Kurzweil for studio recordings and some of his most well known sounds, such as "the pig", one of his signature sounds which is often played in unison with the guitar or bass guitar, were sounds from the K2600xs. In 2011 Jordan switched from the Oasys to the new flagship Korg Kronos. His current live rig consists of the Kronos together with a Continuum, a lap steel guitar, a Harpejji, and an iPad.
Since 2001, Rudess has used custom made rotating keyboard stands on stage for both Dream Theater and his solo career, which are built by Patrick Slaats from the Netherlands. On Dream Theater's 2007–2008 "Chaos in Motion" world tour, Rudess expanded his live setup with the addition of a Korg RADIAS, a Manikin Memotron, and a Zen Riffer keytar. Rudess stopped using his Synthesizers.com modular after the European leg of the tour due to its size and weight. Rudess still owns the synthesizer and keeps it in his home studio. During the Progressive Nation 2008 tour, he introduced on the stage a Kaoss Pad 3 for the closing medley.
For the 2009–2010 tour, in support of Black Clouds & Silver Linings, Jordan introduced the Apple iPod Touch on stage, running an application called Bebot Robot Synth. He plays it during A Rite of Passage – both studio album and live versions of the song – and frequently uses it for improvised solos, like in Hollow Years' intro and during a new instrumental section on Solitary Shell.
In 2010 Rudess started a software company called Wizdom Music. He paired with artists such as Kevin Chartier, Felipe Peña and Eyal Amir, creating new types of musical instrumental user interfaces and experiences, new and innovative ways of creating sound synthesis, and of recording and performing music, with tablet computers.
The company also produced a unique game for learning pitch and chord recognition and an app for real time video effects on a live camera.
Wizdom Music created the following software:
- SampleWiz - a touch screen enabled sampler and self sampler for the iPhone and iPad
- MorphWiz - a dynamic touch screen music creation controller for iOS, Android, and Windows 8 enabled touch pads and laptops
- Geo Synthesizer - a new digital music controller interface, for the iPhone and iPad.
- Tachyon - app for mixing, morphing and transitioning between two types of sound, for the iPhone and iPad.
- Leap motion music - a yet to be released touchless music controller by four finger location in 3d, creating music verses according to the fingers' locations, with the Leap Motion controller.
- Korg Kronos (88 keys)
- Korg OASYS (88 keys)
- Korg Triton Extreme (88 keys)
- Korg RADIAS
- Haken Audio Continuum FingerboardRudess uses the upgraded half size model, which comes with inbuilt sounds as well as being used as a MIDI controller keyboard
- Eigenharp Alpha
- Studiologic Sledge
- Muse Research Receptor
- Kurzweil K2600X/S (88 keys)
- Kurzweil K2000VP
- Kurzweil K2600R
- Kurzweil PC2R
- Kurzweil K2661
- Roland Fantom-X8
- Roland Fantom G8
- Manikin Memotron
- Minimoog Voyager
- Roland V-Synth XT
- Roland V-Synth GT
- Roland VP-550
- Roland SH-01 GAIA
- Roland SH-201
- Synthesizers.com Modular synthesizer
- Dave Smith Instruments Evolver Keyboard
- A custom built lap steel guitar from Fouke Industrial Guitars 
- Harpejji by Marcodi Musical Products, LLC
- Clavia Nord Wave
- Dave Smith Instruments Prophet 08
- Novation Supernova
- Moog Little Phatty
- Moogfooger Freq Box
- Stylophone 350S
- Yamaha Tenori-On
- Apple Inc. iPod Touch
- Apple Inc. iPad
- PRS 6 string guitar
- A bass guitar (manufacturer unknown)
- A Music Man John Petrucci 6 string guitar (this particular guitar being the original prototype of Petrucci's signature model)
- Steinway & Sons model D Grand Piano
- MOTU MachFive
- MOTU MX4 Soft Synth
- Korg Legacy Collection
- Spectrasonics Omnisphere
- Spectrasonics Atmosphere
- Spectrasonics Trilogy
- Spectrasonics Stylus
- Native Instruments Komplete 2
- Native Instruments Absynth
- Native Instruments B4 Organ
- Native Instruments Guitar Rig
- Native Instruments FM7
- Native Instruments Pro 53
- Synthogy Ivory
- Bebot Robot Synth for iPhone
- Korg iElectribe for iPad
- Looptastic for iPad
- Magic Piano for iPad
- JR Hexatone Pro for iPhone/iPod Touch
- ThumbJam for iPhone/iPod Touch
- Sampletoy for iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad
- MorphWiz for iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad
- SampleWiz for iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad
- Korg Kronos (88 keys) Dream Theater and also solo projects
- Korg KARMA solo project
- Steinway grand piano solo project
- Roland Fantom-G8 Liquid Tension Experiment and occasionally for Dream Theater's studio work
- Freehand Systems Music Pad Pro Often known to fans as the "scratch pad", as he uses it to write down musical ideas. The sheet music for the entire live set is displayed on the pad for Rudess to refer to as he plays.
- 3x Roland V-Synth XT
- Custom made rotating keyboardstands, by Patrick Slaats
- Custom Fouke Industrial RAIL model Lap Steel Guitar
- Haken Continuum Fingerboard controls one Roland V-Synth XT and also controlled his modular synth.
- Zen Riffer ZR2 keytar, which controls a Roland V-Synth XT like his continuum.
- Apple Inc. iPod Touch
- Apple Inc. iPad
- Mackie 1604VLZ Pro Mixer
- APS Power backup
- Glyph and Iomega Hard drives
- Korg Kaoss Pad 3
- Muse Research Receptor
- Synthesizers.com Custom Modular Synth currently retired, was used to play "On the run" and was also controlled by his continuum
- Arrival (Cassette) (1988)
- Listen (CD) (1993)
- Secrets of the Muse (CD) (1997)
- Resonance (CD) (1999)
- An Evening With John Petrucci & Jordan Rudess (CD) (2000)
- Feeding the Wheel (CD) (2001)
- 4NYC (CD) (2002)
- Christmas Sky (CD) (2002)
- Rhythm of Time (CD) (2004)
- Prime Cuts (CD) (2006, compilation)
- The Road Home (CD) (2007, cover album)
- Notes On a Dream (CD) (2009)
- All That Is Now (CD) (2013)
- Explorations (CD) (2014)
- Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory (CD) (1999)
- Metropolis 2000: Scenes from New York (VHS/DVD) (2001)
- Live Scenes from New York (3CD) (2001)
- Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (2CD) (2002)
- Train of Thought (CD) (2003)
- Live at Budokan (2DVD/3CD) (2004)
- Octavarium (CD) (2005)
- Score (2DVD/3CD) (2006)
- Systematic Chaos (CD) (2007)
- Chaos in Motion (2DVD/3CD) (2008)
- Black Clouds & Silver Linings (2009)
- A Dramatic Turn of Events (2011)
- Dream Theater (2013)
- Live at Luna Park (2013)
- Rudess/Morgenstein Project (CD) (1997)
- An Evening with John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess (CD) (2000)
- Rudess/Morgenstein Project – The Official Bootleg (CD) (2001)
- Levin Minnemann Rudess - Levin Minnemann Rudess (CD) (2013)
Liquid Tension Experiment
- Liquid Tension Experiment (CD) (1998)
- Liquid Tension Experiment 2 (CD) (1999)
- Spontaneous Combustion (CD) (2007, as Liquid Trio Experiment)
- When the Keyboard Breaks: Live in Chicago (CD) (2009, as Liquid Trio Experiment 2)
- Liquid Tension Experiment Live 2008 – Limited Edition Boxset (6CD/2DVD/1 Blu-ray) (2009)
- Vinnie Moore – Time Odyssey (1988)
- Tom Coster – Did Jah Miss Me? (1989)
- Annie Haslam – Blessing in Disguise (1994)
- Nóirín Ní Riain – Celtic Soul (1996)
- Kip Winger – This Conversation Seems Like A Dream (1997)
- Rhonda Larson – Free as a Bird (1999)
- Jupiter – Jupiter Project (1999)
- Paul Winter and The Earth Band – Journey With The Sun (2000)
- Scott McGill – Addition by Subtraction (2001)
- Prefab Sprout – The Gunman And Other Stories (2001)
- David Bowie – Heathen (2002)
- Jupiter – Echo and Art (2003)
- Neal Morse – ? (2005)
- Daniel J – Losing Time (2005)
- Neil Zaza – When Gravity Fails (2006)
- Behold... the Arctopus – Skullgrid (2007)
- K3 – Under A Spell (2007)
- Ricky Garcia – Let Sleeping Dogs Lie (2008)
- Steven Wilson – Insurgentes (2008–2009)
- Michel Lazaro – Vision (2010)
- Steven Wilson – Grace For Drowning (2011)
- Len & Vani Greene – Luminosity (2011)
- Affector – Harmagedon (2012)
- Sylencer – A Lethal Dose of Truth (2012)
- Mr. Fastfinger – In Motion (2012)
- LALU – Atomic Ark (2013)
- Ayreon- The Theory of Everything (2013)
- Scream Maker - Livin' in the Past (2014)
- "Nancy Kornfeld Becomes a Bride - New York Times". Nytimes.com. 1989-06-26. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
- [dead link]
- "Get Ready to ROCK! Interview with Jordan Rudess, keyboard player with progressive rock band Dream Theater". Getreadytorock.com. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
- "Jordan Rudess' contribution to Grace for Drowning – Jordan Rudess' Community Forums". Jordanrudess.com. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
- Scot Solida (2011-07-27). "The 27 greatest keyboard players of all time | Jordan Rudess | Tech News". MusicRadar. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
- [dead link]
- [dead link]
- "Departures: Richard Lainhart". KeyboardMag. 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
- "elektronische Musikmaschinen aus Berlin". manikin electronic. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
- "Rudess Meets Bebot". YouTube. 2009-02-15. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
- "About Us". Wizdom Music. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
- "SampleWiz". Wizdom Music. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
- "MorphWiz". Wizdom Music. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
- "Geo Synthesizer". Wizdom Music. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
- "Tachyon". Wizdom Music. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
- "Exploring Leap Motion". YouTube. 2013-07-24. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
- "Fouke Industrial Guitars". Industrialguitar.com. 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
- "Spectrasonics News - Jordan Rudess". Spectrasonics.net. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
- "Rudess photographs and video". Industrialguitar.com. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
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