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Anderson - Bruford - Wakeman - Howe

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Anderson - Bruford - Wakeman - Howe Quartet (I'm Alive) album cover
2.61 | 18 ratings | 3 reviews | 22% 5 stars

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 1989

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Quartet (I'm Alive) (3:27)

Total Time 3:27

Line-up / Musicians

- Jon Anderson / vocals
- Bill Bruford / drums
- Rick Wakeman / keyboards
- Steve Howe / guitars
- Tony Levin / bass, Stick

Releases information

Released in 1989, under Arista Records. Single.

Thanks to progkidjoel for the addition
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ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE Quartet (I'm Alive) ratings distribution

(18 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(28%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (22%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE Quartet (I'm Alive) reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Guillermo
2 stars This single has a different version of the last part ("I`m Alive") of the "Quartet" song from ABWH`s abum, maybe done for radio playing. I never listened to this single version being played in radio stations in my city. But the differences are: some electronic drums playing by Bill Bruford; an extended instrumental section with some solos by Rick Wakeman and Steve Howe; a different ending with an added fade out; some mixing differences in comparison to the original version; some added extra backing vocals at the end of the song.

This version does not sound bad...but I prefer the full lenght version from the album with all the other sections of "Quartet" intact and with all the original arrangements. So...this single is maybe mainly interesting for the most die-hard fans and collectors of ABHW`s recordings who want to have in their collections all the music which was officially released from this band.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars The core quartet was alive!

The quartet of Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford, Rick Wakeman, and Steve Howe released this single in 1989 to promote the album they recorded together that year (a Yes album in all but name). This single is interesting for fans in that it is not simply an edited version of I'm Alive which was featured on the full-length album as the final part of the four-part suite Quartet, but an alternative version of the song. The final minute or so of this single version is different from the album version.

I don't own this single but the single version of the song has been included on the second bonus disc of the 2CD reissue of the Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe album by Gonzo Multimedia. This bonus disc also features the other singles that were released from that album including single edits of Brother Of Mine, Order Of The Universe, and the non-album single b-side Vultures In The City.

Review by patrickq
3 stars My version of this is (or was... I haven't seen it in years) a cassette single with two songs: "I'm Alive," the single edit of "Quartet," and "Let's Pretend," both taken from the self-titled album by Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe. Let's pretend that "Let's Pretend" isn't even on this cassette; after all, it's a single, and to me, the b-side can only add value to the a-side (or vice versa).

The album version of "Quartet" is a nine-and-a-half minute cautionary tale about what can happen if you leave Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman unsupervised for too long. It's an unnecessarily long medley of four generally upbeat but cloying songs that themselves are too long. Wakeman's compositional strong suit is in arrangement, interpretation, recapitulation, etc. - - not in pure composition. Anderson's is similar; he has an incredible knack for developing melodies to go along with preexisting compositions. Each has written very good songs on his own, but each is usually more effective in a collaborative setting. And historically, the Anderson-Wakeman writing team tends to amplify the worst aspects of both of its members: Anderson's earnest sentimentality and Wakeman's let's-toss-some-chords-together-so-I-can-solo-over-them philosophy.

And so it is with "Quartet." At 7:03, the third part of the medley, "Who Was the First," ends, and after about one second, "I'm Alive" begins. Anderson sings his usual lyrics over Wakeman's piano and faux strings, winds, and really faux brass. There's also a little bit of acoustic guitar in the background, presumably supplied by Milton McDonald, not Steve Howe. In fact, I doubt either Howe or drummer Bill Bruford got within a five-mile radius of the album version of "Quartet."

So anyway, I dutifully picked up the album's VHS companion, In the Big Dream, and I was shocked to hear the version of "I'm Alive" that accompanied the music video. Shocked at how good it was, and then shocked again that the band didn't use this version for the album.

It's almost a completely different version from the last 2:19 of "Quartet" on Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe. The piano and fake brass synth are still here, and the first verse and chorus seem to be the same. But even during these early parts of the song, Wakeman's other parts are improved, and Steve Howe's electric guitar is playing along, though way in the back of the mix. The second verse is entirely different from the album version, and who appears but Bill Bruford, playing a basic kick-stick beat on his Simmons electronic drumkit. The beat kicks in a bit on the chorus, after which Howe is finally cranked up as he and Bruford crash Wakeman's twinkly-piano party to indicate that, at least for its last minute, this is going to be a Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe song. To be fair, Wakeman himself also joins the fun with a quick lead-synth part. The coda features a great choral part, completely unlike the album version, with backing vocals by Anderson and at least one other vocalist whom I don't recognize. Although the "I'm Alive" single rendition outlasts the album version by a minute, I would've welcomed even more of the music offered in the coda.

To be fair, even in this wildly improved version, "I'm Alive" is still an elfin little song that probably doesn't appeal to many fans of Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, or of Yes (from which the members of ABWH were drawn). And also to be fair, I guess I need to recognize that when I criticize the composition of a piece, as I did that of "Quartet," I might really be talking about the arrangement. That is, the single version "I'm Alive" is still the same song, just presented differently.

The single is long out of print, and the single version of "I'm Alive" is now included on the Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe CD. But I believe it rates three stars: a very nice piece of art rock.

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