Jordan Rudess (born Jordan Rudes on November 4, 1956) is a Juilliard-trained keyboardist most famously known as a member of the progressive metal band Dream Theater. Rudess is the first keyboardist to bring a Haken Continuum on to a live stage.
Jordan was recognized by his 2nd grade teacher as an exceptional piano player, and was immediately given professional tuition to enhance his prodigious talents. By the age of nine he entered the prestigious 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 advice and wishes of his parents and tutors, he decided to turn away from classical piano and try his hand as a solo prog 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 the up and coming young star were The Dixie Dregs and Dream Theater, both of whom invited him to join their respective bands. Jordan chose the Dregs primarily because being a part time member of the band would have less of an impact on his young family, a choice he wasn’t given with Dream Theater.
During his time with the Dregs, Jordan formed a so-called “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 Jordan’s, so he and Rod 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 RPM) and have since released a studio and a live record.
Jordan 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, Jordan was chosen to fill the keyboardist spot in the band, which also consisted of Tony Levin and Mike’s Dream Theater colleague John Petrucci. During the recording of Liquid Tension Experiment‘s two albums, it became evident to Mike and John that Jordan was precisely what Dream Theater needed. They asked Jordan to join the band, and when he accepted they released their then-keyboardist Derek Sherinian to make way for Jordan.
Jordan 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 3 other studio albums since then; 2002′s Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, 2003′s Train of Thought, and 2005′s Octavarium. In addition, he has appeared on the live albums Live Scenes From New York , Live at Budokan and Score.