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Jon Anderson - Anderson / Wakeman: The Living Tree CD (album) cover


Jon Anderson


Prog Related

3.41 | 85 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars What an incredible journey Anderson and Wakeman take us on with this latest offering from the Yes legends.

This album is so intimate, personal and beautiful, it is actually deeply moving to hear Anderson and Wakeman together again. The soft vocals of Anderson are balanced with the serene tranquil tones of Wakeman, who is very restrained and subtle focussing on grand piano and sustained strings on keyboard. There are no drums, no bass, it is all keyboards and multilayered vocals. It is quite a melancholy experience listening to the sad tones and reflective nuances throughout. Anderson has been quite unwell so to hear him do what he is best at, after being replaced with inferior Benoit in Yes, is a truly uplifting journey. It takes a while to tune into this isolated stark musicscape that the duo creates, but it is worth the effort. The melodies are infectious and there are proggish moments. The music is an easy listening style, not a hint of rock or abrasiveness in the music. The musicianship is unaffected by bombastic Yes-ness, instead Wakeman compliments the vocals with unabashed class.

Each song is moving in its own way, none stand out in particular though I can mention I am really fond of Morning Star, and Anyway And Always with those haunting lyrics; 'you remember the signs, you are everything, you long to be, you are everything you want to be'. 23/24/11 has a soft beauty with keyboard strings and Anderson mixed to the forefront of the sound. The high falsetto still works as an instrument of power and peace. The lyrics are as enigmatic as ever; 'speak they will shine they will sing in your heart never let it be never let it sing, always the song for you, in the darkness there's always a song for you.' It seems that the dark trials Anderson has recently experienced are being evoked in these intimate tearful pieces. He sings about the sadness of war and its consequences and there is a sincerity that is chillingly true to the spirit.

The absence of extra instruments such as percussion or bass is effective and surprisingly in accordance with the atmosphere of light steady cadence and desolate raw emotions. Forever is a work of grace and beauty, the desperate angst of lost love or the hope of love lasting forever 'show me your moonlight show me your sunlight without them we are nothing, no one can ever love the way that you love'. Garden is even a little like Yes in its flavour, uplifting and brave on every track. It feels like a solo album in the regard that Anderson is pouring out intimate thoughts and Wakeman supporting him in this project adds to the power of the moment; a real blessing that the two could create more music together after such a long hiatus. The music is spacious and flowing, at times a grand piano and Anderson is all we hear.

This album is definitely not going to appeal to all fans of Yes I can understand that, as there is no rock or percussion or masterful union between accomplished musicians, instead we get one great musician, one great singer and we are left to fill in the gaps. The final track does feature a guest in the form of Jeremy Cubert on piano, but this is an exception. The entire album is gentle, reflective, intimate and surprisingly lightweight. Not an essential purchase but, it is Anderson returning to his craft; it is Wakeman pouring his soul into his playing; this collaboration is a sheer delight that has the power to lift the spirit or lull one into a lovely dream.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |


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