James Sudakow
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James Sudakow

Long Beach, California, United States | SELF

Long Beach, California, United States | SELF
Band Rock EDM


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"CD Review"

Here's an interesting instrumental album from electric violinist James Sudakow, titled Green. This heavy fusion affair features Sudakow on distorted electric violin (played through a Marshall amp and using a variety of effects) and he is joined by drummer David Gaziel, bassist Matt Bissonette, and Eric Zimmermann, who produced and added programming.Green is comprised of six instrumentals, all named after specific colors, and featuring a myriad of styles and textures. The opener "Black" is a raucous fusion burner, while the more spacey "Purple" has some Tangerine Dream elements to coincide with searing violin melodies. Interestingly enough, Sudakow lists musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Vernon Reid, Dave Navarro, and John McLaughlin, all guitarists, as inspiration. The latter is very evident on "Purple", as the violinist's speedy and distorted flights sound more like McLaughlin from the Birds of Fire days of the Mahavishnu Orchestra than other violinists from that same period, like Mahavishnu's own Jerry Goodman, or even Jean Luc Ponty.

"Orange" is a more rhythmic, progressive rock sounding number, with great playing from veteran Bissonette and drummer Gaziel, who provide a rock solid foundation for some amazing violin solos from Sudakow. His ability to utilize distortion and feedback is uncanny, and something that many guitar players have trouble mastering. This tune also is remarkable for the amount of heavy riffs the violin ace throws at the listener. Classical meets fusion on the Mahavishnu sounding "Green", a gorgeous piece that slows things down just a bit and allows for Sudakow's haunting violin passages to permeate the landscape alongside the melodic lead bass of Bissonette. But be prepared, things don't stay mellow for too long, as just when you start to get lulled into a calm state, James blasts forth with some shredding, molten shards of violin fury alongside Gaziel's pounding drum beats. The blistering hoedown of "Red" is up next, a complex and heavy number with raging rhythms and intricate lead violin lines, somewhat of a cross between The Dixie Dregs, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Boud Deun, KBB, and King Crimson. Heavy and violent stuff indeed! The closing "Blue" is a bouncy fusion number, with spacey synth melodies, funky bass licks, and Sudakow's searing violin passages.

Chances are the name James Sudakow is going to be much talked about in the prog rock and fusion community shortly after the word of just how good this CD gets out. Green is a dramatic and exciting collection of instrumental songs that show just how scary a talent this violinist is. I for one would love to see him hook up with a hot guitarist and keyboard player, add in Gaziel and Bissonette, and you would have one of the most lethal fusion machines alive today.

Frighteningly good...

Track Listing
1 Black
2 Purple
3 Orange
4 Green
5 Red
6 Blue - Sea of Tranquility

"CD Review"

I’ve always loved hearing the violin incorporated into rock music. One of my first favorite bands was Kansas and I found out from an early on how beautiful the instrument could be in almost any context. There are quite a few very excellent players in the realm of progressive rock and just recently I was introduced to one more. James Sudakow, from California, has a rather unique style. Classically trained from age 4, he derives his main inspiration not from other violin players but from guitarists. On his web site, James cites his influences are folks like Jimi Hendrix, John McLaughlin, Dave Navarro and Vernon Reid. Although, he’s played all over the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas as a member of the bands Jerk Parade and Human Life Index, this is his first venture as a solo artist.

Green is an outstanding recording which I would describe as fusion with heavy doses of experimentation. Joining James for this project are drummer David Gaziel and bassist Matt Bissonette, brother of world-renowned drummer Gregg Bissonette. Also lending a hand with production and programming is Eric Zimmermann. Most tracks have a heavy, plodding feel with the rhythm section providing a very sturdy backbone. There are quite a few electronic elements that come up and at times and in several spots it sounds quite a bit like space rock.

Leading the way is, of course, the electric violin. Sudakow incorporates lots of stylistic enhancements normally reserved for guitarists like heavy distortion, hammer-ons, chunky rhythmic patterns, and it even sounds like he’s playing chords on the violin in several spots. I didn’t know that was possible! He also provides some smoother melodic sections and he can also do some intricate wailing on top of everything else. His playing is just an all-around treat to listen to, especially for violin fans. There’s a good deal of soloing here, as well as a substantial amount of creative and unusual improvisation. Sudakow manages to keep the events as interesting as possible at all times.

So, if you’re like me and have an affinity for violin in progressive rock, I earnestly recommend checking out this CD. James Sudakow is an extremely gifted player and has created a brilliant piece of music here. I haven’t heard anything from his other bands yet but if they are anything like this, they’re probably impressive as well.

- Progressive Ears

"CD Review"

I received this really interesting instrumental CD from electric violinist James Sudakow, titled Green. James primarily plays his violin through a Marshall amp to get a distorted effect. He’s joined by David Gaziel (drums), Matt Bissonette (bass), and Eric Zimmermann (producer and programming). The music is comprised of six instrumentals, all named after colors, including the title track, each having a distinctive sound.
The opening track, "Black" is a wild fusion treat, "Purple" has a spacey sound added to the fusiony vibe which kind of reminds me of Mahavishnu meets Tangerine Dream. While "Orange" is a more progressive rock sounding. number, the title track, Green, has a classical feel to it combined again with a Mahavishnu influence. Seems that James is a big fan of Mahavishnu, so much that I believe John McLaughlin would be amazed by James‘ playing.

"Red" is in my opinion the center point of the CD, which being the most complex and heavy of all the songs. The music is somewhere between Mahavishnu Orchestra, KBB, and King Crimson. The closer, "Blue" is a spacey fusion with some funky bass playing.

After listening thoroughly to Green, I feel James Sudakow will be a name on every progressive rock and fusion fan's mind when they think of electric violin. In closing this has been one of the best instrumental CDs I’ve heard and I recommend that fans new and old of fusion music, should get their hands on this impressive CD ASAP!

- Prognaut CD Reviews

"CD Review"

Electric violin player James Sudakow credits rock guitarists with giving him the inspiration to create his musical progressive rock expedition. The list is impressive, Jimi Hendrix, Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction), and Vernon Reid (Living Colour)\ are the top three six-string innovators that Sudakow points to as his mentors in sound.

Green is the title of Sudakow’s six-track CD. This instrumental assault of the senses focuses on six basic colors, all of course different in every way. The cover of the CD is very expressive with all the colors as well. Some folks may think right away because of the tie die image on the cover that this is something relating to jamband music, which would be way off base. Think of Jean-Luc Ponty on mescaline or David Ragsdale on speed, Sudakow is very different, in a good way.

“Black” is the opening track and it begins with some powerful and prolific drums that really get your blood pumping through your arteries, then Sudakow kicks it into high gear with some crazy violin playing, think of guitar shredding but with a violin. It is not that hard to imagine because after you listen a few times it starts sounding like a guitar. Then as you get towards the end of the recording and “Blue” starts, the violin sounds more synthesized, like keyboards. This is one example of the radical changes he takes the violin through from one composition to the next.

After taking all of it in you start to realize the concept behind this entire project-it is to show you the listener, all the different colors that the violin is capable of creating within the musical spectrum. It does not hurt that Sudakow has two band mates that know their chops; it fleshes out his overall sound nicely. David Gaziel (drums) and Matt Bissonette (bass) make for an outstanding rhythm section. Once I stopped for a moment to reflect upon it all after intently listening for the second time I realized that the three instruments combining their strengths started sounding more like an army of musicians.

This music requires several listens before you really understand what Sudakow is accomplishing through his music. I will be the first to admit that after hearing this the first time I was not too sure, but that just means I needed to listen again to get an entirely different outlook on another day. Without fail, this works for me, especially when a CD has merits like Green.

- Muzikreview.com

"CD Review"

Classically trained violinist James Sudakow has paired his training with his list in influential artists to create a little different take on violin fronted instrumental music. His taste for the sound of electric guitar is integrated into a cd full of what I would have to call hard rock instrumentals. Some of the songs seems almost a little on the new age side, with just a hint of Jean-Luc Ponty, but where Ponty travelled more into the realms of jazz, new age, and classic 70's fusion while featuring line-ups that dazzled fans with their own virtuostic contributions, James Sudakow stays in the front of his band, and is the main showman for the music being presented, and his band plays things fairly safe as a backdrop to James' playing.

His taste for rock music shows in some of the tonal sounds he gets from his violin, raunchy and raw, with some distortion, reminds a little of what Jerry Goodman was doing back in the days of Mahavishnu. As stated, this is a nice cd full of creative violin playing, the songs are fairly straight forward with limited arrangements that appeal to progressive fans, but it does show an artist that is taking some leaps into a musical genre that has a very limited amount of violinists. I for one truely enjoy hearing the tonal aspects of the instrument in rock, or fusion settings, and the scene could use some more talents like James Sudakow creating new music.

If James Sudakow continues in this style of music, I hope he takes a page from the other greats that found musical success having violin fronted music, and that is to find some world class musicians to play with, and let them shine, what violinists like Ponty, Lockwood, Seifert, Urbaniak, Goodman, O'Connor, Sloan, had going for them, is the creative backdrop of equally impressive musicians to not only inspire their own playing, but to compliment every aspect of the music they were creating. James has the talent, and some really nice ideas, I enjoyed some of the moments of this cd more than others, as my first exposure to his music, I was pleasantly impressed to know that there is another up and coming violinist coming up, so from here on out, my ears are wide open to hear what he does next.

- ProGGnosis

"CD Review"

Wow! "Green" is a creative instrumental CD that features the amazing electric violin work of James Sudakow. James' work with the electric violin is groundbreaking to us in terms of effectively using an instrument not typically associated with rock music. His violin screams as he flies up and down his fret board like a rock guitar virtuoso. The instrument with its amplified sound fits amazingly well on these progressive rock tracks. The backing band is tight and the recording quality is good as well. On tracks such as "Red," James' violin work is amazing. The percussive backing work on "Black" is particularly effective at providing an interesting mood to the electric violin work. If you enjoy rock guitar virtuosos, or listening to the amazing skill of an extremely accomplished musician, you will enjoy this CD. Pick up a copy today!
- Radio Indy

"CD Review"

James Sudakow is a classically trained violinist (since the age of 4) who draws upon electric guitarists such as Dave Navarro and Vernon Reid as influences. His latest release, Green, is a heavy and heady mix of pounding, often tribal rhythms and intense electric violin workouts that will leave the listener breathless on completion.

Sudakow is joined on this album by a solid rhythm section featuring David Gaziel on drums (both acoustic and electronic sounds are heard on Green) and long time session bassist Matt Bissonette (Joe Satriani, David Lee Roth, Julian Lennon, Steve Perry, Brian Wilson, Don Henley, Ty Tabor, Peter Frampton, among others). Bissonette and Gaziel are responsible for creating thick, pounding , rock-solid foundations for Sudakow’s electrifying violin explorations, and they handle this task with masterful skill. Sudakow himself is impressive, mixing Celtic and Arabic influences with a touch of classical tradition, tossing it all through thick layers of distortion and effects to create a tone that can easily be mistaken for an electric guitar.

Album opener “black” is a stomper of a track, with a pounding industrial beat and Sudakow’s keening violin soaring above the mechanical rhythms. Heavily Arabic in timbre, the track propels the listener forward inexorably before de-evolving in a wall of distorted feedback. “purple” is a more laid back track, Sudakow’s violin rising and falling in the mix as Gaziel and Bissonette create a mellow beat. Gaziel breaks the beat apart with well placed cymbal crashes, while Sudakow’s hive of bees violin mournfully wails an elegiac tune. “orange,” on the other hand, showcases a more traditional violin tone while Matt Bissonette’s loping, massive bass line battles for auditory dominence.

The perhaps intentionally limited tonal selection does lead to a bit of similarity from track to track; it’s hard, in a trio format, to continually mine new veins for sonic changes. This is helpfully balanced by the album’s shorter playtime; at 45:39, Green is not diminished by the limitations of sound and offers up a nice taste of the group’s (and Sudakow’s) abilities without overstaying its welcome. Personally, I’d love to hear James Sudakow in a larger band environment, where his violin might work with and against other lead/melodic instruments. I think the tension and interplay would make for some exciting musical moments, and I believe that Sudakow is more than capable of holding his own against almost any lead musician in any instrumental/fusion/rock band today.

Green is a fun, intense instrumental release, economical in length and arrangement, and a solid calling card announcing Sudakow as an instrumentalist to look out for.

Band Members:
James Sudakow – electric violins
David Gaziel – drums
Matt Bissonette – bass guitar - Progscape

"CD Review"

To read the review, please follow this link:

http://www.musicstreetjournal.com - Music Street Journal

"CD Review"

A bombardment of intelligible dynamic and musical energy, delivering a sound not easily comparable to one specific mood or movement of music. The album, "Green" takes you through, in full force, a wide spectrum of colorful ups and downs, rights and lefts, and everywhere in between. Describing colors in a literal and figurative sense, James Sudakow expresses his emotions wonderfully through what, at first listen, is easily mistaken for wildly intricate guitar virtuosity. But the mask behind the culprit of sound reveals a more unorthodox state of deliverance. After realizing the sound that carries the songs is a digitally effected, and genuinely wielded violin, the album boast an impressive sense for an intelligent diversity. Sudakow knows no bounds when unleashing his master piece of artistically configured spiritual sensibility, and he'll stop at nothing to ensure a solidified groupings of lighting fast arpeggiated beauty.
- New Age Reporter


The following tracks are from James' second all instrumental CD, THERE IS NO SOUND IN SPACE:

CD Total Length: 40:00
Individual Tracks:

Hail the Victorious Dead: 6:04
When I am King: 4:00
There is no sound in space: 5:28
Stardusted: 4:05
A moment of Silence: 3:25
Waiting for a miracle: 5:40
Strange orange glow: 3:42
The greatest life I've ever known: 4:50

The following tracks are from James' debut solo all instrumental CD, GREEN:

CD Total Length: 45:42
Individual Tracks:

Black: 8:21
Purple: 5:47
Orange: 9:43
Green: 6:26
Red: 10:14
Blue: 5:08



Named on Music Connection Magazine's "HOT 100 TOP UNSIGNED ARTISTS" in the Country (December, 2008), James Sudakow is a musician with a creative and innovative approach to the electric violin. As a third generation violinist, James was classically trained since the age of 4. Despite this classical upbringing, James’s inherent attraction was to Alternative Rock, Progressive Rock, Fusion, and Electronica – influenced by bands ranging from Nine Inch Nails, Jane’s Addiction, Chemical Brothers, and System of a Down to Mahavishnu Orchestra, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin.

James has adapted his classical training to significantly change the violin’s sound, capabilities, and applications and has been influenced specifically by a innovative rock guitarists, including Jimi Hendrix, Vernon Reid, John McGlaughlin, and Dave Navarro. Playing through a Marshall half-stack amplifier, James uses a combination of sounds ranging from clean melody lines to heavy rhythm sections to completely altered and distorted feedback and sound effects.

In January 2007, James completed his first solo all instrumental CD – GREEN - in which he created a unique sound – heavy and ambient – combining post progressive melodies, modern alternative rock, electronica, and the uniqueness of the electric violin. Music from GREEN received critical acclaim from numerous progressive rock and mainstream music magazines, websites, and e-zines Nationally and globally, including Music Connection, Progression Magazine, Relix Magazine, Jazz Magazine, and Strings Magazine, was featured in two MTV programs, a Summit Audio musical equipment video, and received radio play on a significant number of CMJ, progressive rock, and electronica radio programs Nationally and globally. In addition, high energy live shows with his trio have earned him strong praise:

"James Sudakow is a unique and electrifying artist. His material is so affecting it's spellbinding...This artist has the potential to blow away just about any audience in the world."
Bernard Baur
Music Connection Magazine
Musician’s Institute


In January 2009, James released his second all instrumental CD - THERE IS NO SOUND IN SPACE - with UNDER RADIO guitarist, Eric Zimmermann. The new CD release continues to feature the melodic and virtuostic electric violin in many styles and textures in tandem with electric guitar work and incorporates a heavy dose of industrial electronica rock. Music from THERE IS NO SOUND IN SPACE has received acclaim in over 20 music magazines and websites focusing on progressive, jazz, and rock music and has been featured on recent new products from Qualcomm / FLO TV. In 2009, James was also nominated for a prestigous "L.A. Music Award" - the longest running independent music awards program in the country - in the Producer's Choice category.

For booking, please contact:
Lisa Grissom
Toll-free @ (866) 749-0721

Guest artist on two Under-Radio commercially released CDs under Lion Records – Bad Heir Ways, 2004, and Under-Radio, 2002.

James was named in Music Connection Magazine's "Hot 100 Unsigned Artists" in the country

A feature article about James will appear in an upcoming issue of Jazz Magazine in Italy. The track, "Green" from the CD, will also be featured on the CD accompanying the issue.

"Purple" from the CD is currently featured on the Progressive Rock Hall of Fame 2008 Compilation CD.

James appeared in a feature interview in a recent issue (#54) of Progression Magazine (www.progressionmagazine.com)

"Red" from the CD was featured on RELIX Magazine's compilation CD in the Feb / Mar 2008 issue

Music from the CD has been added to play lists and libraries of over 70 World, New Age, and CMJ Top 200 Alt Rock stations Nationally (U.S.) and is in regular rotation on many of the stations

Tracks from the CD have been receiving radio play on over 20 internet and progressive rock radio programs globally

Tracks from the CD were featured in MTV's program, "The Kentucky Kid"

James Sudakow was nominated for an award for the South Bay Music Awards in the category of "Independent Rock Artist of the Year" for 2007

James was interviewed by the Progressive Rock review in Sydney, Australia. The entire interview can be heard on his website (www.evexp.com)

Music from the CD was on the New Age Reporter Top 100 Radio chart focusing on fusion, electronica and ambient music for 4 months at #57, #56, #56 and #27