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Anderson Bruford Wakeman  Howe - Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe CD (album) cover


Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe


Symphonic Prog

3.21 | 328 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Review Nš 161

Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman & Howe was a project of four ex-members of Yes, at time. They had played together in Yes in the early 70's and with the only exception of Jon Anderson, the only remaining member of the line up of that period of time, they hadn't been playing with Yes for many years. Although, conceived as to be a yes reunion, at that time, the rights of the name of the group was owned by Jon Anderson, Chris Squire and Alan White, but as Chris Squire and Alan White were still continuing with Yes along with Trevor Rabin and Tony Kaye, due to legal rights, it wasn't possible to use the Yes' name by them. So, they decided only to adopt simply the names of the members of the band.

So, 'Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman And Howe' is the self-titled debut studio album of them and was released in 1989. It was also the only studio album released by them. Beyond Jon Anderson (lead vocals and backing vocals), Bill Bruford (drums), Rick Wakeman (keyboards) and Steve Howe (guitar), and as they hadn't no bassist, they decided to recruit the bassist of King Crimson Tony Levin, to Bill Bruford's proposal, because he knew him very well when they were both members of King Crimson. About the cover for the album they decided to keep the tradition. The artwork for the album was also created by Roger Dean, as it was usual in the 70's, when he designed almost all the albums covers for Yes.

'Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman And Howe' has nine tracks. All songs were written by Anderson, Howe, Wakeman and Bruford, except 'Brother Of Mine' written by Anderson, Howe, Wakeman, Bruford and Geoffrey Downes, 'Brithright' written by Anderson, Howe, Wakeman, Bruford and Max Bacon, 'Rock Gives Courage' written by Anderson, Howe, Wakeman, Bruford and Rhett Lawrence and 'Let's Pretend' written by Anderson, Howe, Wakeman, Bruford and Vangelis. The first track 'Themes' is divided into three parts, 'Sound', 'Second Attention' and 'Soul Warrior'. It's an uplifting piece with some classic Howe fills and 80's sounding keyboard bits, but the main suprise or I must say rather a shock, is the electronic drum sound, especially the snare, that divided opinions then and to my mind now as well. Definitely, this isn't my favourite cup of tea in terms of prog. The second track 'First Of Fire' is a small track which brings the music into a floating beats with dazzling keyboard and powerful vocal work by Jon. The third track 'Brother Of Mine' is divided into three parts, 'The Big Dream', 'Nothing Can Come Between Us' and 'Long Lost Brother Of Mine'. This is the first lengthiest track on the album. Here, the original Milton McDonald's rhythm guitar is a great bed for Howe to twiddle over with a truly classic Yes' sound with Anderson and Wakeman back on his home territory. The fourth track 'Birthright' is a rare politically inspired song about nuclear testing in Australia. Here, everyone is enjoying themselves and even the electronic drum work, works relatively well. The fifth track 'The Meeting' is another nice track which features Rick's nice piano accompanying Jon's vocal in a mellow style. It isn't one of the most memorable things on the album but, it overall, comes out well. The sixth track 'Quartet' is divided into four parts, 'I Wanna Learn', 'She Gives Me Love', 'Who Was The First' and 'I'm Live'. This is the nearest we'll get to 'Fragile' probably because its name checks most its songs. Part two has the same piano led back bone as 'Long Distance Runaround' and the oboe sounding key lines are plain nicely. This is also a track where the bass line really could have been mixed higher. The seventh track 'Teakbois' is the most ridiculous and weakest track on the album. This is an uninspired song with some reggae influences with cheesy vocals and percussion. It should never have been a part of the album. The eighth track 'Order Of The Universe' is divided into four parts, 'Order Theme', 'Rock Gives Courage', 'It's So Hard To Grow' and 'The Universe'. It's perhaps the best track on the album. Now and finally, we are before a classic Yes' song. Every single member of the band is perfect. The vocal work is very solid and it leads to one of Jon's finest moments. 9:02 minutes of solid music. The ninth and last track 'Let's Pretend' is a nostalgic ballad very soft and acoustic. This is the best election for a closer and leaves the door open for a new Yes' adventure. This is a nice way to close the album.

Conclusion: With the reunion of four of the best prog musicians ever, it seems that all the conditions were joined to have a great album. Still, despite be a good album, it's far from be a great work and is a kind of a deception. From these musicians, that belong to the golden line up of Yes, only missing Chris Squire, we must expected much more. The tracks 'Themes', 'First Of Fire', 'Brother Of Mine', 'Birthright' and 'Order Of The Universe' are al great tracks and the best of the album. The tracks 'The Meeting', 'Quartet' and 'Let's Pretend' are nice and beautiful. But the track 'Teakbois' is outside of the context of the album. 'Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman And Howe' looks more like an album of Anderson & Friends than an album of Yes. It sounds like an Anderson's album with a touch of Bruford, when Wakeman's keyboards sounds different and Howe's presence is almost unnoticed and where, despite the quality of Levin, the absence of Squire is very noticeable too. Unfortunately, this album seems to me a real missed opportunity.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 3/5 |


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