Jordan entered the Juilliard School of Music Pre-College division for classical piano training, but had by his late teens grown increasingly interested in synthesizers and progressive rock music.
After performing in several different projects in the 80’s, it was after the release of his solo album Listen that made people notice him. In particular, both Dream Theater and Dixie Dregs approached Jordan almost at the same time inviting him to join their respective bands. Rudess chose to join with the Dregs, partially because being a full time member of a band was too much of a commitment to a father of young children.
As a matter of fun facts; here’s a facsimile of an old news article regarding Jordan’s wedding:
Nancy Danielle Kornfeld, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Leo L. Kornfeld of Rye, N.Y., and Wilmington, Vt., was married yesterday to Jordan Charles Rudes, a son of Rita Rudes of Great Neck, L.I. and the late Sidney Rudes. Rabbi Charles Davidson performed the ceremony at Temple Sholom in Greenwich, Conn.
Mrs. Rudes is the director of Dream On Arts, a music management company in Sea Cliff, L.I. Her father, a deputy/commissioner of education and student financial assistance in the Carter Administration, is the president of the True Basic educational software company in Rye and Hanover, N.H.
The bridegroom is a pianist and a product specialist for Korg USA, a synthesizer manufacturer in Westbury, L.I. His father was an owner of St. Germain, a clothing manufacturer in New York.
Rudess and the drummer of the Dregs, Rod Morgenstein, then created a project called “Rudess/Morgenstein Project”, the story of which is as follows: it started back when Jordan toured with The Dregs. At one particular show a power failure caused every instrument apart from Jordan’s keyboard to become unplayable, and of course drums don’t need amplifiers, so the two jammed until the power came back on. Both were suitably impressed at how well they jammed together, and RMP was born.
Rudess then joined Petrucci and Portnoy with Tony Levin for the Liquid Tension Experiment albums, which gave leeway for both parties to test out the waters of how they worked in the studio. They enjoyed it so much that the decision was quickly made to extend an offer to Jordan to replace Derek Sherinian.