Jordan Rudess (born Jordan Charles [1][2] Rudes on November 4, 1956) is a Jewish American keyboardist best known as a member of the progressive metal band Dream Theater.


Rudess was born in 1956 into a Jewish family. He was recognized by his second 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 prog rock keyboardist.[3]

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.[4]

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 five 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, and 2009's Black Clouds & Silver Linings. In addition, he has appeared on the live albums Live Scenes From New York, Live at Budokan, Score and Chaos in Motion.

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.

Rudess says his influences as a keyboardist are Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman and Patrick Moraz.[5]. His favorite bands include Gentle Giant, Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, King Crimson, Autechre, and Aphex Twin.[6].

Use of technology

While many keyboard players in progressive rock tend towards bringing numerous keyboards on stage, Rudess took full advantage of the possibilities offered by the Kurzweil K2600xs during his usage from the 1990s to 2004. Often sampling sounds from other keyboards, Rudess creates a series of setups, each of which maps 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 one at a time with a control pedal.

While Rudess' physical method of changing live setups will more than likely remain the same, his choice of hardware to implement this changed as of 2005. Citing a need for better tour support and more current technologies (his Kurzweil 2600's maximum sample memory of 128 MB had become insufficient for his touring needs), Rudess switched keyboard endorsements from Kurzweil to Korg's new flagship Korg Oasys workstation (which supports up to 2 GB of sample memory [7]), 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 Modular. Rudess is the first well known keyboardist to bring a Haken Continuum on to a live stage.

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 [8], and a Zen Riffer keytar. Rudess stopped using his modular after the European leg of the tour due to its size and weight. 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 iPhone on stage, running an application called Bebot Robot Synth.[9] 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.


Solo albums

  • Arrival (Cassette) (1988)
  • Listen (CD) (1993)
  • Secrets of the Muse (CD) (1997)
  • Resonance (CD) (1999)
  • Unplugged (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, tribute album)
  • Notes On a Dream (CD) (2009)

Dream Theater

  • Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory (CD) (1999)
  • Live Scenes from New York (3CD) (2001)
  • Metropolis 2000: Scenes from New York (VHS/DVD) (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)

Project albums

  • Rudess/Morgenstein Project (CD) (1997)
  • An Evening with John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess (CD) (2000)
  • Rudess/Morgenstein Project - The Official Bootleg (CD) (2001)

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)

Guest appearances

  • 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)
  • John-Luke Addison - Multiple Valences
  • Behold... the Arctopus - Skullgrid (2007)
  • K3 - Under A Spell (2007)
  • Ricky Garcia - Let Sleeping Dogs Lie (2008)
  • Steven Wilson - Insurgentes (2008-2009)


  • Speedway Boulevard - Speedway Boulevard (CD) (1981)
  • Various Artists - Romscape (1995)
  • Steinway to Heaven - Chopin's "Revolutionary Etude (Op. 10, No. 12)" (1996)


External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Jordan Rudess. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.