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CD REVIEW: Nelson Rudiak - Winnipegosis

by: Cyrus Rhodes





Artist:  Nelson Rudiak
Album: Winnipegosis
Label: Phase One Recording
Website: http://www.nelsonrudiak.com/
Genre: Jazz/Funk/Rock/Blues
Sounds Like: Return to Forever, Spyra Gyra, The Crusaders, David Sanborn, Oingo Boingo
Technical Grade: 7/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7/10
Commercial Value: 6/10
Overall Talent Level: 8/10
Songwriting Skills: 7/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: BBQ Boogie, Nothing up My Sleeve, Thanks Buddy, Aarf Again

Weakness: No release date. ambiguous liner notes, Marketability .



3 piece Jazz/Rock band headed up by Nelson Rudiak just released their latest CD entitled “Winnipegosis” in 2012. Rudiak hails from upstate New York. This latest effort is a wide ranging collection of instrumental jazz/rock/blues compositions from one of upstate New York’s most versatile artists. Rudiak plays all instruments (saxes, guitars, bass, keyboards, synths and rhythmic programming) on the disc except drums. It's important to point out Rudiak is literally a one man band with a few very brief exceptions playing everything except drums and a small trumpet part by his son and a brief guitar part by guitarist Dave Fibiger.


The CD quickly takes to flight with short melodic intro piece “BBQ Boogie” which quickly serves up an upbeat Jazz-Rock groove that serves up driving rock rhythm, smooth musical flow and hooky melody that peaks and valleys its way through to musical fruition. I love the solo guitar segment on this piece. Track 2 “Godzilla Sings the Blues” shifts gears a bit with its awkward yet infectious slamming rock groove meshed with mesmerizing melodic hooks and full tilt musical swagger. This piece is quite impressive demonstrating amazing curve ball versatility. Track 3 “What’s the Catch”  is an easy going jazz/rock ditty with carefree vibe, hypnotic Saxophone, well as well placed percussive accents and hypnotic melody. Right from the start I can tell “Nelson Rudiak and company is something special and unique. I would classify this music as Jazz - Fusion with a slamming rock backbone with a slight aftertaste of Ska. Despite the Jazzy soundscapes the songs themselves are crafted very much like rock songs. As a result this catalogue is much easier to follow unlike some Jazz-Fusion. Although there are no vocals I hear music personalities reminiscent of classic Return to Forever, Spyra Gyra, The Waitresses, The Crusaders, David Sanborn, and perhaps a splash of Oingo Boingo without vocals. As this CD slowly unfolds it’s obvious this 6 piece feels quite comfortable just letting it all hang out musically. As to be expected the CD offers a rich melodic horn foundation, but also provides a slamming low end rhythm section offering a unique musical style & persona. Along the way you will notice things like impressive Baritone & Alto Saxes, Keyboards, Trumpet, Jazzy Guitar, sporadic percussive accents meshed against a slamming rhythm section. The writing and playing abilities of this band are clearly above the bar. Rudiak is clearly a musical mastermind as he pretty much plays everything except drums on this CD. Equally as impressive is the carefree and fun vibe one gets from listening to this CD. All songs are short & sweet musical experiences each one possessing a unique signature groove and personality. From hypnotic “You Not You” to melodic “Aarf Again” to mesmerizing “Nothing Up My Sleeve” to pulsating “Band Aids For an Atomic Bomb” to jamming “Thanks Buddy” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with “Winnipegosis” the perfect finale statement for a CD like this

There is no released date anywhere on the CD? Looking at the detailed liner notes there is no mention of who the Engineering team is (Recording, Mixing, Mastering) Pretty unorthodox not to mention. Although I like the music I’m not sure how marketable this CD would be to a mass audience.


Winnipegosis  by Nelson Rudiak is one of the most amazing and refreshing musical production I’ve heard this year. From start to finish it has no weaknesses that I can see under my microscope. It has everything from amazing playing, superb writing, unique signature sound and groove, and last but not least it’s just a whole lot of fun to listen to. Praise goes out to the artists out there that can show us something pure and genuine beneath their veil of vanity. Nelson Rudiak is one of those artists that let's it all hang out, they let the chips fall where they may and it shows. At the end of the day the music of Nelson Rudiak is a rare find, and their music shines brightly like a priceless gem.   


Cyrus Rhodes