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IAN ANDERSON

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


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Ian Anderson biography
Ian Scott Anderson - Born August 10, 1947 (Dunfermline, Scotland)

Leader/founder of JETHRO TULL and veteran of the 60's blues-rock scene, this eccentric and highly charismatic minstrel who used to get the most incredible sounds from his golden flute is now in his late 50's, yet shows no signs of slowing down. Indeed, he keeps on touring and churning out albums despite a totally apathetic music industry. In 1983 he decided to go solo and has since graced us with four new albums.

In general, his solo material closely resembles that of traditional JETHRO TULL, although it tends to be more serious and more instrumental. "Walk Into Light" (1983) features Peter John Vetteese (EURYTHMICS) on keyboards; the album suffers from a poor 80's production but Vetteese's rhythmic and catchy play complements Anderson's mellow vocals rather well. "Divinities: Twelve Dances with God" (1995) is the least TULL-like of the lot: basically a classical album, it is totally instrumental and its spiritual theme runs the gamut from Indian to Russian to Celtic Folk. "The Secret Language of Birds" (2000), a rather acoustic album, returns to the 70's roots and dons some particularly memorable melodies. "Rupi's Dance" (2003) is the one that most closely celebrates the old TULL days and will likely be the TULL fans' favourite. Anderson's gentle, self-deprecating wit and knack for writing simple, yet endearing melodies shine through out.

Recommended for JETHRO TULL followers and for progressive folk fans in general.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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IAN ANDERSON discography


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IAN ANDERSON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.83 | 146 ratings
Walk into Light
1983
3.56 | 146 ratings
Divinities - Twelve Dances with God
1995
3.68 | 181 ratings
The Secret Language of Birds
2000
3.70 | 160 ratings
Rupi's Dance
2003
3.75 | 433 ratings
Thick as a Brick 2 (aka: TAAB2)
2012
3.58 | 216 ratings
Homo Erraticus
2014
2.74 | 34 ratings
Jethro Tull - The String Quartets
2017

IAN ANDERSON Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.97 | 68 ratings
Ian Anderson Plays the Orchestral Jethro Tull
2005
3.31 | 27 ratings
Thick as a Brick - Live in Iceland
2014

IAN ANDERSON Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.88 | 39 ratings
Ian Anderson Plays the Orchestral Jethro Tull
2005
3.38 | 15 ratings
Thick as a Brick Live in Iceland
2014

IAN ANDERSON Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

IAN ANDERSON Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 6 ratings
Fly by Night
1983
5.00 | 1 ratings
Ring Out Solstice Bells
2004
2.20 | 5 ratings
The Thin Ice
2007

IAN ANDERSON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ian Anderson Plays the Orchestral Jethro Tull by ANDERSON, IAN album cover Live, 2005
3.97 | 68 ratings

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Ian Anderson Plays the Orchestral Jethro Tull
Ian Anderson Prog Folk

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 572

"Ian Anderson Plays The Orchestral Jethro Tull" is the debut live album of the Jethro Tull's frontman Ian Anderson, as a solo artist, and was released in 2005. It features the Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt Orchestra, conducted by John O'Hara. It was recorded from a live show at the Rosengarten in Manheim, Germany in 2004. This concert was part of a series of concerts with the same name. Anderson and the orchestra toured Europe and USA throughout 2004 and 2006. It was also released a DVD that contains the same songs, precisely in the same order, and also released in the same year.

The line up on "Ian Anderson Plays The Orchestral Jethro Tull" is Ian Anderson (vocals, flute, bamboo flute and acoustic guitar), Florian Opahle (acoustic and electric guitar), John O'Hara (keyboards and accordion), David Goodier (bass guitar and glockenspiel) and James Duncan (drums and percussion). The album had also the participation of the Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt Orchestra. The album has also the participation of three of the members of the orchestra, as soloists, Kathrin Troester (flute), Sibylle Wähnert (basson) and Astrid Cienia (oboe), in some songs on the album.

The Anderson's debut live album leads the charge through 2 CD's of past and present of many Jethro Tull's classics, as well as a few solo favourites from his career, once again following a popular trend of mixing rock with the classical music. Of course, there's no doubt that the music of Jethro Tull would be a perfect fit for this format, and the resulting set is a lot of fun, offering up varying versions of the songs that almost all of us know very well and that we love too.

As you can see by the track list, there are plenty of classic songs here, as well as some of the holiday tunes that Jethro Tull has recorded. From the Jethro Tull's tracks, we have: "Bourée" of "Stand Up"; "Wondr'ing Aloud", "Cheap Day Return", "Mother Goose", "Aqualung", "My God" and "Locomotive Breath" of "Aqualung"; "Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of The New Day" of "War Child"; "Up The Pool", "Life Is A Long Song" and "Living In The Past" of "Living In The Past"; "Budapest" of "Crest Of A Knave"; "We Five Kings", "Pavane" and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" of "The Jethro Tull Christmas Album". From the Anderson's solo tracks, we have: "In The Grip Of Stronger Stuff" of "Divinities: Twelve Dances With God"; "Boris Dancing" of "The Secret Language Of Birds"; "Eurology", "Calliandra Shade (The Cappuccino Song)" and "Griminelli's Lament" of "Rupi's Dance".

Anderson is a great showman, and while he may not have the great voice he had 20 or 30 years ago, he still brings what would be a fairly calm orchestral evening to greater heights thanks to his very energetic stage presence and with witty commentaries. I love the version of the classic "Mother Goose", completed with bassoon, oboe, and accordion, as it gave a wonderful flavour to the piece. Of the orchestral tracks, there's a ton of highlights, namely "Budapest", "Living In The Past", "Life Is A Long Song", "My God", "Locomotive Breath", and the holiday's pieces "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "We Five Kings", are especially timely. In short, this is really an excellent live show with great fun too.

So, here we have "Aqualung", "Locomotive Breath", "My God", and many other Jethro Tull's favorites that received the orchestral treatment, as do J. S. Bach's "Bourée" and the European Christmas carol "God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen". The arrangements are all tasteful and great. They sound perfectly natural given the classical influence that has been a part of Anderson's work for so long. Of course, these performances aren't classical music in the strict sense of the word, but practically all of them are now great progressive rock classic pieces. Joining Ian and the Orchestra we have James Duncan, David Goodier, John O'Hara, who also is the conductor, and Florian Opahle. They form a fine unit, and while they may not be Jethro Tull, they certainly have a handle on the songs and work perfectly well with the Orchestra.

Conclusion: "Ian Anderson Plays The Orchestral Jethro Tull" is mainly focused on three studio albums of Jethro Tull "Aqualung", "Living In The Past" and "The Jethro Tull Christmas Album", plus several songs that belong to his solo career. All songs are great and magnificently performed. Some songs are only performed by the band's members but most of all are also performed by the orchestra. I must confess that I was deeply surprised by the brilliant production, the excellent sound quality, and most of all, by the incredible re-workings of the old songs, which would be a perfect fit for this format. I also must confess my surprise by the familiarity that we can feel between Ian Anderson, the band members and the orchestra. We can see a huge respect for him. This is highly recommended for all Jethro Tull's fans and as Ian Anderson's recent forays into the classical music. Unfortunately, we can't see some new Jethro Tull's musics, but at least here we have some live, alternate re-editions of some Jethro Tull's classics done up by the leader Ian Anderson, to keep us busy. Here, we are in presence of one of the better "rock meets orchestra" projects available.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Rupi's Dance by ANDERSON, IAN album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.70 | 160 ratings

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Rupi's Dance
Ian Anderson Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

3 stars Rupi's Dance is Anderson's 4th solo album, following the wonderful Secret Language Of Birds by 3 years. It has many of the same wonderful ingredients and song structures of Secret Language, but also some new twists that aren't as successful. Mainly, the songs that follow the stripped down, quaint, and solo-ish songs found on the former album work well. The songs in which Anderson decided to go for bigger band arrangements do not. First, the acoustic based songs that succeed are the folky title track "Rupi's Dance", the up beat and infectious melodic album opener " Calliandra Shade", along with " A Week Of Moments" and "A Hand Of Thumbs". Less successful of the acoustic based songs are "Old Black Cat", "Photo Shop" and "Two Short Planks". The melodies and rhythms of these songs are pleasant enough, but lyrically, they fall way short of the standard that Anderson set for him self in the past.

What doesn't work at all are the solo acoustic and full band hybrid songs such as "I Get Lost In Crowds", with it's jarring electric guitar riffing choruses, and "A Raft Of Penguins", with it's forced orchestral string embellishments. The two instrumentals, "Eurorolgy" and "Griminelli's Lament" are trite and come off as album filler, even though Anderson may been enamored with them.

This is not a terrible album by any means, but Rupi's Dance falls short of the excellence displayed by it's predecessor. 2.5 stars rounded up to 3.

 The Secret Language of Birds by ANDERSON, IAN album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.68 | 181 ratings

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The Secret Language of Birds
Ian Anderson Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars Now that The Zealot Gene album by Jethro Tull has arrived, its time to brake out a few other contemporary, or near contemporary albums by Ian Anderson to see how they stack up. The best of these is easily The Secret Language Of Birds from 2000. All of the it's songs are performed mainly by Anderson and Tull keyboardist Andrew Giddings, with Ian performing with his standard array of acoustic stringed instruments, flute and hand percussion. Giddings handles electric bass as well as all acoustic and electric keys. The melodicism evoked by these two chaps cannot be understated, and Anderson has written a wonderful selection of upbeat acoustic based songs.

Folky in nature, each song has different world music motifs, be they Celtic, Indian, Russian folk, Spanish or even neo classical. There's certainly no rockers here. which results in a relaxing close listen to some of Anderson's best lyrics as a solo artist. Standout tracks are "The Secret Language of Birds", "The Little Flower Girl", "Postcard Day", "The Water Carrier", "A Better Moon" and "Sanctuary". But in truth, all are worth a listen in this very consistent solo effort from old Ian. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

 Thick as a Brick 2 (aka: TAAB2) by ANDERSON, IAN album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.75 | 433 ratings

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Thick as a Brick 2 (aka: TAAB2)
Ian Anderson Prog Folk

Review by Antonio Giacomin

5 stars Thick As A Brick 2

After everything I said praising "Thick As A Brick", what is here to be said about this second part that appeared after forty years ?

First of all, it pales in a musical comparison, it doesn´t get close in this criteria. Is it a reason for despair ? Absolutely, NOT. "Thick As A Brick" is a six star masterpiece, even a "common" masterpiece would pale at its side. The music in TAAB2 represents a kind of challenge in order to be appreciated; in the same way I consider the album "Minstrel In The Gallery". It takes a very long time for you to get use with and for it to really grow on you. Not obvious melodies; everything is subtle, but variety throughout the songs are assured, and Mr, Anderson´s skills hardly fails us.

But I am giving it five star; and what are the reasons for it ? Ok, I could say "Thick As A Brick" is a six stars album, so its not so extraordinary follow up TAAB2 could deserve five; but this is good for a joke, not for justifying a masterpiece status. What must be said in this moment is that the concept in TAAB2 matches and is as good as its older brother. When Mr. Anderson took the decision of composing a story regarding what could have happened to Gerald Bostock after forty years after the events reported by the "St. Cleves Cronicles"; and performed it in the way he performed, the music started to matter less.

This is a way for things to go. TAAB2 has also a masterpiece status. Hardly someone would conceive a better follow up for "Thick As A Brick" concept. And, if you do not consider its musical content up to this status, just subtract some from its older brother. Even with this lost TAAB1 will continue to be a masterpiece?

 Divinities - Twelve Dances with God by ANDERSON, IAN album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.56 | 146 ratings

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Divinities - Twelve Dances with God
Ian Anderson Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

2 stars The main thing about instrumental albums, in any genre, is that the music must, or at least suggest, a story without lyrics. This is done by different means, such as dramatic changes in the music, switching to softer passages before switching back, etc., along with melodies powerful enough to connate moods, feelings, and actions.

Unfortunately, Ian Anderson's venture of combining his flute with orchestral music misses that mark. As the sole lead instrument, a flute is very one dimensional when compared to other instruments, be they acoustic or electric. And only most the profound songs can shine in that configuration. "In the Grip of Stronger Stuff" and "In The Moneylender's Temple" fall into that category. The rest of the songs fall into the category of musak, with pleasant melodies sprinkled with vague world music motifs, that boringly dominate the rest of the album. The lack of rock instrumentation on these songs is definitely a problem, but that is probably a band aid cure. Looking at an all instrumental album like Peter Gabriel's Passion soundtrack, the quality of those songs totally dispenses with the need for rock instrumentation. So, it's the song compositions on Divinities that are really the problem.

Anderson's compositions do better in a conventional rock song format, with lyrics, and that's where he should stay. Charlie may have stolen the handle, but at least we know that he didn't fall off the train.

 Walk into Light by ANDERSON, IAN album cover Studio Album, 1983
2.83 | 146 ratings

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Walk into Light
Ian Anderson Prog Folk

Review by Lupton

2 stars This album marks a radical departure from the Classic Jethro Tull sound which in itself is not such a bad thing as the band were starting to sound a little tired with "Stormwatch".Of course it is a solo Anderson project so it would be unfair to compare it to a Jethro Tull album. In Fact the album starts of promising with "Fly By Night" and has a very proggy complex arrangement. Unfortunately it is really downhill from their.There are a few engaging moments like the instrumental break in the title track but overall those awful keyboards and the even more awful drum machine which I so hate really makes this album dated. I am not against electronic sounding albums per se but it really does not suit Ian Anderson's style and unlike the earlier album "A" which managed to cleverly combine a very synth heavy sound with the Classic Tull sound this album just sounds rather cold.So while certainly not the worst thing he produced (take a bow "Under Wraps" -ughh) it really is far from his best work.

My rating 2.5stars

 Thick as a Brick 2 (aka: TAAB2) by ANDERSON, IAN album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.75 | 433 ratings

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Thick as a Brick 2 (aka: TAAB2)
Ian Anderson Prog Folk

Review by mariorockprog

5 stars 4.5: The fifth album by Ian Anderson and I considered it his best solo album. It is really good balanced and keep you entertained all the way in the album. He maintained his unique folk style mixing it with excellent flute and guitar riffs that makes the music so progressive in the way of changing rhythms all the time, so you never going to get bored. Vocally, I don't know how he achieves to maintain the same voice from his classic years and as always how he sung make the music very delight-able, because he also change the way he do it and add melodies to the music. Finally, a excellent addition to any prog listener, and so close in quality to his masterpiece former album.
 Thick as a Brick 2 (aka: TAAB2) by ANDERSON, IAN album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.75 | 433 ratings

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Thick as a Brick 2 (aka: TAAB2)
Ian Anderson Prog Folk

Review by The Jester

3 stars Review # 83. Thick as a Brick was released in 1972, and it was the answer of Ian Anderson to critics and media when they were 'accusing' Jethro Tull of having become a Progressive Rock band. (That's the story I know at least). I believe the whole idea was extremely sarcastic, but finally, TAAB became one of the best and most famous albums ever recorded by the band. On the album's 40th anniversary, Ian Anderson decided to release Thick as a Brick 2. The sequel...

The truth is that further the title and very few tunes that brings to the mind the first album, these two albums are quite different. Thick as a Brick 2 is a concept album, it contains 17 tracks, that most of them are between 2-4 minutes long. (Only exception the song 'A change of horses' that is 8 minutes long).

But the songs are so cleverly placed in order, that the final outcome is very nice. Here Ian Anderson tells the story of the 8-years-old poet 40 years later. The story also includes a few different options of our poet's future, given with the so familiar sarcastic way of Ian Anderson.

For me, part 1 of the first Thick as a Brick was a masterpiece! Here you will not find any masterpiece I'm afraid, just a well-structured album.

His voice is in a good form, (or the studio engineers did a very good job), the songs are above average, and the record as a whole is enjoyable. I think 3.0 stars is a good rating for this album...

 Thick as a Brick 2 (aka: TAAB2) by ANDERSON, IAN album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.75 | 433 ratings

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Thick as a Brick 2 (aka: TAAB2)
Ian Anderson Prog Folk

Review by Jzrk

4 stars I'm not looking to write an extensive album review here. I have read a lot of the reviews here on site.I just wanted to say that I had listened to this when it came out being a big fan of the original.2 is a pretty good album and follow up to the original after all these years.Could it have been better?Yes.But I think over all it happens to keep the spirit of the original and offer up some of that good old Tull like instrumentation and Ian's witty folk vibe.So worth an occasional listen to when I am in that Tull mood.I happened to listen to Homo Eraticus lately which brought me back to this again.I have read a lot of here like Homo Eraticus better than this,but for me I like this a little better.Maybe because it is pretty much Tull full on.
 Walk into Light by ANDERSON, IAN album cover Studio Album, 1983
2.83 | 146 ratings

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Walk into Light
Ian Anderson Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

2 stars In a perfect world...

Ian Anderson's obsession with early eighties' synths and drum machines reached it's climax with the 1982 Tull album Under Wraps and this solo outing from Anderson titled Walk Into Light. I don't resent Anderson's gravitation towards the music machines of the New Wave, but I do resent his sticking his nose into a musical area that he didn't help to form and develop. If I had to guess, Chrysalis label mates Ultravox would seem to be the prime motivation for Ian's new sound but you could toss in everyone from the Eurhythmics to Erasure as influences.

This outing finds Anderson paired up only with future Annie Lennox keyboardist Peter-John Vettese, while Anderson mans a Lynn drum machine and sampled bass to go along with his occasional and rare sprinkling of acoustic and electric guitars and his ever present flute which, strangely, seems right at home with plastic synth tones.

The songs themselves are not bad and some would have made excellent Tull material if they were written and recorded some 5-8 years earlier, especially "Made In England", Trains", and "Black and White Television." What is probably most annoying to me is the lack of pure musical experimentation or flight of fancy soloing that would have at least shook up the songs from their laid back pacing and carefully measured delivery. Anderson was still in fine voice at this juncture and thoughts of what could have been seem to haunt this era of his work.

To conclude, Walk Into Light would not have been comparable to the artist's work that helped to influence it. In a perfect world where Jethro Tull had never existed before Ian's first solo outing, Walk Into Light would have had no place next to the output from Ultravox, Eurhythmics and Erasure simply because it was not really Anderson's forte and, more importantly, it was simply not as good. 2 stars.

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