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ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Anderson - Bruford - Wakeman - Howe picture
Anderson - Bruford - Wakeman - Howe biography
Active between 1988 and 1990

ABWH was born when Jon ANDERSON envisioned working again with his former YES bandmates, ouside the confines of the Trevor RABIN/Chris SQUIRE-led "90125" lineup. He began collaborating with Steve HOWE, with whom most of the classic YES material, including "Close to the Edge" had been written, and soon they enlisted old mates Rick WAKEMAN & Bill BRUFORD into the fold. Pointedly refusing to take any group name other than "YES", they decided their own quite famous surnames would do just fine. With the contribution of Tony Levin on bass (at BRUFORD's suggestion), the band was in place & ready to reclaim the YES legacy in all but name.

The album "Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe" was released in 1989 to enthusiastic responses from prog fans. Gone were the radio- friendly, "Big Generator"-type, tracks; this was a full-blown return to the soaring YES epics of old; with the very first lines of the album boldly stating Jon's intent to once again set his music free from the enslaving corporate bonds which had held it for so long.

"Begone you ever-piercing power-play machine; killing all musical solidarity..."
The album was the most solid piece of work to come out of the YES camp in years. It sold well, and a very successful tour followed, with the band playing to sell-out crowds & ressurecting some old favorites that had not been performed in many a moon. The future seemed bright for ABWH, whereas YES seemed to be in a kind of limbo... Alas, when there is money to be made, solidarity cannot last for long. While working on the followup to their debut album, Anderson contacted Rabin for help in adding some writing to the album. Rabin & Anderson began a dialogue with the record company that led to the idea of combining the two warring YES factions; thereby giving rise to the grand debacle that was to become "Union", and signaling the end of ABWH. BRUFORD once commented that 'ABWH could have been a very interesting band... if theyd've spent more than five seconds on it'...

D. Michael D'anna II

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

3.23 | 375 ratings
Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe
1989

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

3.40 | 110 ratings
Evening of Yes Music Plus
1993
3.86 | 28 ratings
Live At The NEC
2010

ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

2.92 | 19 ratings
In the Big Dream
1989
3.47 | 42 ratings
An Evening Of Yes Music Plus (DVD)
1994

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

ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.89 | 17 ratings
Quartet (I'm Alive)
1989
3.80 | 5 ratings
I'm Alive
1989
2.50 | 2 ratings
Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe
1989
3.41 | 13 ratings
Brother of Mine
1989
3.04 | 18 ratings
Brother of Mine (2)
1989
2.29 | 12 ratings
Order of the Universe
1989
3.00 | 1 ratings
Order of the Universe (2)
1989
0.00 | 0 ratings
An Evening of Yes Music Plus (Sampler)
1994

ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe by ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.23 | 375 ratings

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Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe
Anderson - Bruford - Wakeman - Howe Symphonic Prog

Review by Prog Zone

4 stars Review - #1 (Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe - Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe)

Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe was a progressive rock band active from 1988 to 1990 that comprised of four past members of Yes, in addition to bassist Tony Levin. He truly does seem to play on everything! After the disappointing Big Generator album that got released by Yes a few years earlier, Jon Anderson decided to regroup with some of his fellow bandmates as he felt continually inhibited by the commercial and pop-oriented direction of Yes in the 1980s. The band only released one studio album, Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, in June of 1989. With all these phenomenal musicians present, they were likely to reach greatness from the start. Jon Anderson had the largest contribution on the album with the songwriting in addition to supervising the album's mixing sessions at Bearsville Studios with mixing engineers Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero. Overall, I am actually very fond of this album; it has a certain warmth to it that isn't found all that much. In addition, I don't believe there are any duds here, all the tracks are exceptionally solid.

The first track on the album is Themes which is comprised of three sections entitled Sound, Second Attention, and Soul Warrior. The track begins with cascading keyboards that eventually explode with the sound of Bill Bruford's electronic drums. These electronic drums appear to be a somewhat controversial subject when discussing this album. Some people believe their inclusion ruined the album and some don't mind. I am somewhat torn between these two stances. Their inclusion varies in effectiveness throughout the entire album, however, in the majority of tracks they are used tastefully. At points they are even used to improve the overall quality of a track. When concerning Themes, I believe they assist with the atmosphere the band was attempting to create. Therefore, I don't mind their inclusion all too much. This song is definitely progressive in my eyes, while containing a new age feel that is present through most of the album. The track is complex and has some great instrumental moments coming from the entire band. Fist of Fire is up next and actually seems to seamlessly transfer from the last song. What an interesting track, not to mention a darker ambiance found here that I didn't really expect. There are also some great keyboards here from Rick Wakeman that make me really miss when he wasn't in Yes. Overall, it's a solid track that has marvelous atmosphere throughout. Brother of Mine happens to be one of my favorite songs "Yes" would create in the 80s, if not my favorite. It contains three parts entitled The Big Dream, Nothing Can Come Between Us, and Long Lost Brother of Mine. From Jon Anderson's majestic vocals to the terrific bass work from Tony Levin this track is basically perfect! However, all of the musicians are at their peak here. Not to mention, I sincerely enjoy the lyrics Jon Anderson choose to write for this song that carry a new age feel. There is also a terrific keyboard and guitar section at six and half minute mark that is definitely the most "prog" moment on the album. It is interspersed with the lyrics "long lost brother of mine" which draws on an unrecorded Asia track "Long Lost Brother of Mine" written by Steve Howe and Asia keyboardist Geoff Downes. It is coherent from start to finish containing a great flow throughout. It is an excellent track that changes melodies in a way that feels natural. A masterpiece that will surely grow on you if you give it a chance! The next track is Birthright which has some nice acoustic guitar work from Steve Howe in addition to having a grand atmosphere throughout supported by atmospheric keyboards. It is a solid track that I particularly enjoy. It contains some great instrumental sections and really builds up at the three and a half minute mark. The music here isn't as necessarily complex as some of the other tracks on the album, but is still a great track that truly lives up to the sentiment of it being grand. Furthermore, it contains some solid percussion from Bill Bruford throughout.

The next track, The Meeting, is a duet between Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman. Both sound incredible here and unbelievably moving. I consider this to be one of the highlights on the album, holding sensitive yet powerful moments. Not necessarily progressive, but just a great track in general. Quartet is yet another multi-part suite encompassing four different sections entitled I Wanna Learn, She Gives Me Love, Who Was the First, and I'm Alive. This is a softer song track which features even more wonderful acoustic guitar work from Steve Howe. Interestingly, Jon Anderson includes fragments of lyrics and names of Yes songs such as The Gates of Delirium and Awaken. A nice surprise for Yes fans when listening to this track. The melodies found here are lovely, however, my favorite would have to be I'm Alive which is extremely beautiful. Though, I do wish that this part featured a more cohesive transition. A great song that is soft yet powerful, fantastic! Teakbois seems to be criticized by most reviewers on this website but I personally don't mind it all that much. It is an interesting Latin influenced prog song that is in fact quite good, it just may not appeal to most Yes fans. Furthermore, there are numerous delightful melodies in addition to some great keyboard parts on the behalf of Rick Wakeman. Not nearly as bad as most make it out to be, if you want to hear plain awful just listen to Man in the Moon for reference. Order of the Universe is yet another piece of music containing multiple parts entitled Order Theme (Victory Song), Rock Gives Courage, It's So Hard to Grow, and The Universe. This track is the most "rocking" found on this album and happens to be one of my favorites. The beginning Order Theme is absolutely incredible, I adore it! It includes a great keyboard melody from Rick Wakeman backed up with guitar and bass. Despite it going on for nearly three minutes, I wish it could have gone on for even longer. As the vocals come in, the track begins to feel a bit like one that would be found on the Union album, but better. Jon's vocals can even be heard to be almost yelling at points. It's a wonderful track that is extremely solid vocals which can in fact be said for the entire album. Lastly, we have the album closer of Let's Pretend which has an additional writing credit for Vangelis. It's a ballad that is a nice closer to this fantastic album. Furthermore, Steve Howe's guitar work is beautiful and extremely moving. It's nothing mind-blowing yet is seems to fit as a perfect closing piece on the album.

Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe is a truly successful project that stands as a highlight within the bands discography. It is satisfying from start to finish with very few bumps in the way. They are able to combine quality musicianship and great songwriting during a time where pop was the craze. Highly recommended as an excellent addition to any prog rock collection!

 Brother of Mine (2) by ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1989
3.04 | 18 ratings

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Brother of Mine (2)
Anderson - Bruford - Wakeman - Howe Symphonic Prog

Review by PrimeReviewsMusic

4 stars Review - #35 (Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe - Brother of Mine 2)

Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe was a band that was active between the years of 1988 and 1990. It encompassed four past members of Yes, including bassist Tony Levin. This is another variant of the Brother of Mine single released the same year. However, this version doesn't contain the full track of Brother of Mine. Instead, only including the Brother of Mine (Single Version). This single version is a solid adaptation of the full version. However, the full version remains superior. I believe this is a fair trade off due to the other songs found here. The next track, Themes, remains exactly the same as the album version. Themes itself is a great track that feels extremely unique, containing some new-age elements throughout. Lastly, Vultures in the City is a track not found on their self-titled album. This track actually reminds me somewhat of Birthright, which is a solid song in of itself. When listening I was surprised by the quality found here. Not to mention, some great guitar work coming from Steve Howe throughout the entire song. These are the types of singles that I consider to be the strongest, containing highlights from the album in addition to providing music that cannot be heard anywhere else. I believe this is the quintessential single for Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, an excellent addition to any progressive rock collection!

 Quartet (I'm Alive) by ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1989
2.89 | 17 ratings

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Quartet (I'm Alive)
Anderson - Bruford - Wakeman - Howe Symphonic Prog

Review by Dream_Nebula

5 stars This would is one of my favorite singles of all time. It was released in 1989. I understand that this song isn't that "prog" but I still love it. The added drums and keyboards (towards the end) that were not in the original are also done extremely well. Anderson's vocals really shine here. I always really love the piano/keyboards. I also really enjoyed the bass playing by Tony Levin. This track always gives me a great feeling. The artwork by Roger Dean is great. I think anyone who likes Yes music or just likes progressive rock in general should hear this fantastic single.

Overall - 4.5/5

 Brother of Mine by ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1989
3.41 | 13 ratings

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Brother of Mine
Anderson - Bruford - Wakeman - Howe Symphonic Prog

Review by PrimeReviewsMusic

3 stars Review - #34 (Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe - Brother of Mine)

Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe was a group active between 1988 and 1990. It encompassed four past members of Yes, including bassist Tony Levin. This single includes both the original album version of Brother of Mine and the single version of Brother of Mine. I personally consider the track to be the best found on their self-titled album. It is coherent from start to finish containing a great flow throughout. Furthermore, the track contains some spot on vocals from Jon Anderson in addition to fantastic guitar work coming from Steve Howe. Jon Anderson's ability to duet with Tony Levin is particularly noteworthy. Not to mention, this is one of Bill Bruford's best performances during the course of the album. It is an excellent track that changes melodies in a way that feels natural. Concerning the single version, it is actually a solid adaptation of the full version. However, the full version remains to be the superior. Therefore, it becomes somewhat pointless if you already own the full album. Depending on your collection the meaningfulness of this single can change. Overall, I think that the single Brother of Mine (2) is the superior version. Nevertheless, this is a wonderful song that would be an excellent addition to any prog collection!

 Order of the Universe by ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1989
2.29 | 12 ratings

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Order of the Universe
Anderson - Bruford - Wakeman - Howe Symphonic Prog

Review by PrimeReviewsMusic

2 stars Review - #33 (Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe - Order of The Universe)

This is yet another single released by Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe in 1989. It contains two different versions of Order of the Universe in addition to the track Fist of Fire. The two edits found here are basically inferior when compared to the full version found on the album. They are interesting to hear if you are a fan, however, they become somewhat pointless if you already own the album. Out of both of the versions present, I do prefer Order of the Universe (Long Edit) due to it containing more of the Order Theme which I absolutely adore! The next track entitled Fist of Fire is a nice addition to the single. However, it is the same version presented on the album and is not shortened or extended. A solid track with great atmosphere throughout. I would consider this single would be best intended for fans/collectors due to the two additional versions of Order of the Universe. Not to mention, a wonderful album cover by Roger Dean.

 Quartet (I'm Alive) by ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1989
2.89 | 17 ratings

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Quartet (I'm Alive)
Anderson - Bruford - Wakeman - Howe Symphonic Prog

Review by PrimeReviewsMusic

3 stars Review - #32 (Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe - I'm Alive)

Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe was active from 1988 to 1990 and encompassed four past members of Yes, including bassist Tony Levin from King Crimson. He truly does seem to play on everything! This single only contains one song entitled Quartet (I'm Alive). This track encompasses the last part of Quartet found on their self-entitled album. In addition, the song featured here is not simply an edit of the album track, but a different mix of the track all together with new instrumentations throughout. Furthermore, the last 80 seconds or so is basically a new part of the song. In some ways, I feel as if this version was attempting make this track appeal to a wider audience by adding some electronic drums played by Bill Bruford that weren't there originally. This comes across as a second thought rather then a thought-out decision. This version of the song will surely be an interesting listen for fans, but I definitely prefer the version present on the album despite the extended outro containing some nice keyboards from Rick Wakeman.

 Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe by ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.23 | 375 ratings

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Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe
Anderson - Bruford - Wakeman - Howe Symphonic Prog

Review by SteveG

3 stars This album gets quite a mixed reception by prog fans, unfortunately. It's certainly not in the vain of early classic Yes albums like Fragile or Close To The Edge. I don't think that was the intention of Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford, Rick Wakeman, and Steve Howe when they reunited to record this album, so they get a pass in that regard. Anderson had grown weary of the short song pop direction of Yes over their last albums, 90125 and Big Generator, and wanted to return to longer multi suite songs, and this album does indeed have them.

As far as the actual sound of the album, it is not light years away from those pop oriented Yes albums courtesy of Bruford's electronic drums, Wakeman's 80's synth tones and guest bassist Tony Leven's plodding playing. What is different is that the songs are just better than those found on Yes's last album Big Generator and Anderson's peace and love themed lyrics are presented in mostly high energy formats with "First Of Fire", "Brother Of Mine", "The Meeting", "Quartet", and 'Order Of The Universe" being infectious sing along anthems. The only big misstep here is the over the top Latin and Caribbean inflected "Teakbois", which naturally comes off as corny, but is light years better than "Illegal Alien" by Genesis.

With a string of solid, if not classic songs, Anderson - Bruford,- Wakeman - Howe is firmly a 3 star album, but it's upbeat optimism helps to put it's rating a half star higher. In the modern climate of this world that's a very welcome attribute. 3.5 rounded down to 3.

 Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe by ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.23 | 375 ratings

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Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe
Anderson - Bruford - Wakeman - Howe Symphonic Prog

Review by chiang

4 stars Love this one. This is not classic Yes, but is more Yes than "Big generator" or "90125". I love this one more than "Going for the one" or "Tormato". IMHO it is close to "Union" (obviously) and the closest you can get to classical Yes until "Keys of Assention" OK, I'm a hardcore Anderson-Howe fan, absolutely love Bruford and my favorite keyboard player is Wakewman. Drums and bass interplay is wonderfull (Tony Levin was a great idea). "Brother of mine", absolutely in the "Yes mode", is great. (the video that acompanies it is also great, sorry it's difficult to get. I got it on VHS, ha-ha). I also love "Themes" "Birthright" and "Order of the universe. "Fist of fire" is OK, and "The meeting", "Quartet" and "Let's pretend" are pretty Anderson's love songs. The only track i don't like is the strange to me and absolutely non "Yes" style: "Teakbois".

 Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe by ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.23 | 375 ratings

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Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe
Anderson - Bruford - Wakeman - Howe Symphonic Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The first four songs on Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe are very good, so I'm sure I was ecstatic that day back in 1989 when I first got this CD and I'd just finished the first 25 minutes. The fifth track, "The Meeting," is not very good, but that's OK, right? Even all those years ago, I couldn't have been naive enough to think this album wouldn't have a song like this: sappy, simple schlock.

But sadly, Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe is mostly downhill from there.

The album opens with the semi-prog of "Themes," a medley of three, well, themes, including "Second Attention," in which lead singer (and ABWH mastermind) Jon Anderson declared his independence from Yes, of which ABWH is an acknowledged spin-off (their 1993 live album, released after the band was folded back into Yes, was called An Evening of Yes Music Plus). Anderson's claim that Yes had become too commercial for him has always struck me as dubious - - but I digress.

The concise, minor-key rocker "Fist of Fire" follows, and then it's the lead single, "Brother of Mine." When I first heard "Brother of Mine" on the radio, I tuned into the third and final part and wasn't sure if I was hearing Asia - - it turns out that this originally a tune written by former Asia guitarist Steve Howe (the H of ABWH) with his pal, Asia cofounder Geoff Downes. And then we have "Birthright," the Howe-Anderson song about the impact of nuclear testing on indigenous peoples of Australia. So far, so good: the first four songs on Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe are a good balance of pop and rock, soft and hard, keyboard-based and guitar-centric.

The late 1980s and early 1990s was a particularly fruitful time for Howe as a songwriter (for example, check out his album Turbulence), so it's too bad that more of his material wasn't included on Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe. Instead, the remainder of the album is largely written by Anderson and keyboardist Rick Wakeman, two fine, upstanding men who often bring out the worst in each other when they co-write music. Examples here include "The Meeting" and "Quartet" (though "I'm Alive," the single extracted from "Quartet" and revised and extended, is very good).

And it gets worse - - much worse. After those two songs, which combine for fifteen minutes without Howe or drummer Bill Bruford, is "Teakbois," a song so ill-advised that it needs its own paragraph.

First of all, the word teakbois appears to be something entirely made up by Anderson. The song would be bad enough without the ridiculous Caribbean arrangement and the diction with which Anderson apparently tries to mimic tropical speech. I guess the times were different, or maybe Anderson is just so spacey that no one can be too offended by what, in the hands of anyone else, would be seen as cultural appropriation.

Howe returns as a songwriter (at least apparently - - all of the songs are credited to Anderson, Howe, Wakeman, and Bruford, plus additional writers as appropriate) for at least part of "Order of the Universe," the eighth of the album's nine songs. There's nothing wrong with the tune, which to me sounds just as "commercial" as the music Yes was producing heretofore.

Finally, the album closes with "Let's Pretend." Other than some very uninvasive keyboards, way back in the mix, "Let's Pretend" is performed by Anderson and Howe, but is a song Anderson wrote with his off-and-on collaborator Vangelis; if Wakeman had accompanied Anderson, "Let's Pretend" would be tough to distinguish from "The Meeting." That's not good.

To summarize: Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe opens with some very good music, but devolves less than halfway through. On the bright side, Bruford and bassist Tony Levin are stellar on this album - - in terms of drumming, Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe is one of my favorite albums ever. But overall, this one is really just for Yes fans, or maybe fans of Jon Anderson or Bill Bruford. I'd direct casual Yes fans to ABWH's An Evening of Yes Music Plus, which has live versions of most of the good material on Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, or to the Yes box set In a Word, which includes the studio versions of "Brother of Mine" and "Fist of Fire," the latter in an alternate, and much-improved version.

 Evening of Yes Music Plus by ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE album cover Live, 1993
3.40 | 110 ratings

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Evening of Yes Music Plus
Anderson - Bruford - Wakeman - Howe Symphonic Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The performance on this CD is, more or less, Yes with bassist Jeff Berlin replacing Chris Squire. Given that Squire has always been my favorite member of Yes, you might think I'd have a problem with that. As it turns out, though, Berlin does a fine job. (And it's my understanding that Squire was having health and addiction-related problems in the late 1980s - - so even if Squire was included in this project, Berlin may have been preferable anyway.)

Interestingly, Berlin is serving as a substitute on An Evening of Yes Music Plus, for Tony Levin, who had fallen ill during the tour. Levin would re-join for the next leg of the tour, which is documented on Live at the NEC, released in 2010.

The setlist of An Evening of Yes Music Plus is divergent, to say the least: after an opening medley, the rest of the show is made up of songs from two periods: 1971-1972 and 1989. The centerpiece is "Close to the Edge," which, prior to this tour, hadn't been performed by Yes in over a decade - - and which Bruford had never performed live. The rendition on An Evening of Yes Music Plus is different from live versions from the 1970s, but is nonetheless one of the highlights of the album. Other Yes songs that are done especially well are "Starship Trooper" and "Heart of the Sunrise." The ABWH original "Brother of Mine" also stands out.

I've mentioned Jeff Berlin's bass playing, but really, all of the performers are top-notch. In particular, keyboardist Rick Wakeman and drummer Bill Bruford are excellent, and between the two of them account for most of the liberties the band takes with the material on An Evening of Yes Music. Guitarist Steve Howe provides some blistering solos, particularly on "Starship Trooper." The vocals are also strong throughout.

Yet I can't consider An Evening of Yes Music Plus "essential" per the Prog Archives guidelines. As good as the performances are, there are better performances of each - - in fact, a majority of these songs are on the classic Yes live album Yessongs.

So, a good album, and one worth having; but hardly essential to a respectable progressive-rock collection.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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