October 22, 2013

Review: Levin Minnemann Rudess

When you get three world renowned musicians together they call it a supergroup. When you put three progressive rock legends in the studio together music fans call it bliss. Tony Levin (bass, chapman stick, cello), Marco Minnemann (drums, guitar) and Jordan Rudess (keyboards, continuum, wizardly noises & seaboard) are surely a match made in heaven for all of the progressive rock freaks, particularly those who appreciate instrumental flourishes. 

So we have LMR the deluxe edition. For those familiar with the prog community none of these incredible talents needs an introduction. For those that may not be, Levin has played with everyone that has graced a studio it seems including John Lennon and Peter Gabriel, Rudess has a well-known playground called Dream Theater to perform his magic and a prolific solo career, Minnemann has been with several bands and has been popping up everywhere lately and most recently on tour with Joe Satriani (which I had the great pleasure of witnessing recently). Rudess is a genius with anything related to the keyboards, Minnemann is an absolute juggernaut on percussion and Levin can make his Chapman Stick sound like a bass or a guitar. This unique blend of power and preciseness is the perfect recipe for this type of music. The pace of this album varies from frenetic to soothing and tasteful. Every track goes through each cycle with relative ease.

There are 14 tracks and more goodies on this deluxe edition including  a DVD that features 24 bit wav files, a video of Tony and Jordan jamming in studio, an interview with Marco and a Tony & Jordan interview, and then outtakes/additional footage and early home demos by Marco. The entire lot of additional product is of great interest and very entertaining. It is well worth dropping the additional dollars to get a copy. I found the video of Tony and Jordan jamming, what looks to be like in Jordan’s living room, most enjoyable. The main CD brings it home with tracks like the rollicking and driving opener “Marcopolis” to the space age funky “Twitch.” There is a constant flow of great sights and sounds for your entertainment.

The thing about these three musicians is their eclectic backgrounds and how that translated in the studio into what you will hear on this project. All three have played together at one time or another so the chemistry and familiarity was already in place. The fusion of sounds created is put simply, astounding. I think you need to see each one of these guys live to really appreciate their masterful musicianship. Of course the studio work is amazing however to truly feel it in your bones you must see them live. The only one I have not witnessed in a live performance yet is Levin. It will happen eventually I am sure but in the meantime it was time for me to take a deep dive into this complex world of instrumental progressive rock fusion.

This trio makes your involvement in this intense ride through an instrumental wall of sound easy, well that is if you are into this kind of journey. For this listener the more complex and intense the music is the better. You see this way I can empty my brain and let the music do all the talking. I found out very quickly how much all this music had to offer (or say). There are some heavy moments throughout…jazz fusion passages, some classical touches that make it sheer beauty, which you always hear with Rudess on the keys, then some flat out rocking sections followed by some softer moments that morph into musical workouts. I find it hard to comprehend how it all comes together. But then again that is the beauty and magic of this combination of great talent. Another good point is that this never becomes cacophony, which can happen when musicians of this caliber get together. They are working from a different place all together that most people or other musicians for that matter, will never understand but nevertheless accept as the norm.

As always I have to wonder how they come up with the titles of the tracks however if you listen to it all enough you may find a reason to understand why. Don’t look to me for answers; I just love all the music and leave that thought process to all the anal prog snobs always looking for something to complain about.

Each track is a standalone masterpiece and I have a very difficult time picking out any one track as being better than the other. Thanks for making that part of my job so difficult LMR. This is one killer mind blowing set of instrumental brilliance. 

5/5 STARS

Key of Tracks: ALL

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-Founder MuzikReviews.com

October 22, 2013

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