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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)

3.21 | 387 ratings
Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe
1989

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

3.44 | 114 ratings
An Evening of Yes Music Plus
1993
3.84 | 30 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)

2.61 | 17 ratings
Quartet (I'm Alive)
1989
3.83 | 6 ratings
I'm Alive
1989
2.50 | 2 ratings
Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe
1989
3.86 | 14 ratings
Brother of Mine
1989
2.93 | 19 ratings
Brother of Mine (2)
1989
2.39 | 13 ratings
Order of the Universe
1989
3.50 | 2 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
 An Evening of Yes Music Plus by ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE album cover Live, 1993
3.44 | 114 ratings

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

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 490

"An Evening Of Yes Music Plus" is the debut live album of the musical project of Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman And Howe. It was recorded live at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, in California USA, in 1989, when they toured their eponymous debut and only studio album "Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman And Howe". However, it was only released in 1993. Like as happened with almost all Yes' albums and with their self-titled studio album, the art cover for the album was also created by Roger Dean. It features a painting from him which was titled "Floating Islands".

The line up on the album is Jon Anderson (lead vocals), Bill Bruford (drums and percussion), Rick Wakeman (keyboards) and Steve Howe (backing vocals and guitar). But, the album has also the participation of three other musicians, Tony Levin, who performed bass on their eponymous studio album as well as on the most of the live tour. Still, he fell sick during this tour and was replaced by Jeff Berlin, a bassist very well known by them because he had already worked with some of band's members. Julian Colbeck, a well known former professional keyboard player that usually collaborates with several bands and musicians such as with Yes and Steve Hackett, the ex- guitarist of Genesis. He participates on this album with some additional keyboards. Milton McDonald, a very well known session guitarist who plays with many artists and that participates on this album with some additional vocals and extra guitar work too.

"An Evening Of Yes Music Plus" contains material from their self-titled studio album, songs from past Yes' albums and excerpts from Rick Wakeman's solo albums. The album opens with "Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra" which is based on a classical oeuvre of Benjamin Britten, and represents the introduction of the live show that substitutes the popular Igor Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite" usually used by Yes to open their live shows. From their self-titled studio album we have "Birthright", "Themes", "Brother Of Mine", "Order Of The Universe" and extracts of "Teakbois". From "Time And A Word" we have extracts of the title track. From "The Yes Album" we have "The Clap", "I've Seen All Good People" and "Starship Trooper". From "Fragile" we have "Mood For A Day", "Long Distance Runaround", "Heart Of The Sunrise" and "Roudabout". From "Close To The Edge" we have "And You And I" and "Close To The Edge". From "90125" we have extracts of "Owner Of A Lonely Heart". From Wakeman's albums we have extracts of the albums, "Gone But Not Forgotten" of "Coast Of Living", "Catherine Parr" of "The Six Wives Of Henry VIII" and "Merlin The Magician" of "The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table".

If you've seen Yes all over the years, most of these songs will be, no doubt, be very familiar to you. The performance of the entire band is spot on, Anderson especially in fine form and Howe, as always, giving a virtuoso performance. Although Wakeman's choice of modern keyboard tones at times borders on cheesey, the guy still blazes through these new and classic tracks. In addition, the set opens up with some great solos spots which are always very fun to hear.

This album certainly has that Yes sound mostly due to the fantastic vocals of Anderson. He sounds great all over these CD's. Wakeman is also a dominant force here. Still, his keyboards and synthesizers have a more 80's sound which stands to reason as the album was originally released in 1989. Of course, I can't forget about Howe. Still, his playing is quite restrained, there are many beautiful acoustic moments to be found and he does let loose occasionally like on the rocking "Order Of The Universe", a feel good, up tempo tune with a heavier section featuring fiery work from Howe and Bruford. Other highlights include the poignant "Brother Of Mine" featuring Anderson's patented soaring timbre and the some super and catchy tracks where Howe's acoustic guitar is quite sublime. Remember, the album as a whole is a relaxing listen. Still, you will find no "Gates Of Delirium" here which is completely understandable given the decade this was made. The bottom line is the band sounds tight and progressive and made many Yes fans happy with this album.

Conclusion: We can consider this live album divided into three parts, the solo tracks, the ABWH's tracks and the Yes' tracks. The solo tracks are in my opinion very good and much better than the solo tracks on "Fragile". The ABWH's tracks represents some of the best musical moments of that album and are for me much better performed live than performed on studio. The Yes' tracks include some of Yes' best works, and the live version of "Close To The Edge" is absolutely great and surprising and is probably, in my opinion, the best live version released by them. When I reviewed ABWH's album I agreed with Easy Livin, when he said that the album was a missed opportunity. On this album I agree with Gatot when he says that this is an underrated live album. This is one of the best live albums of Yes and is also one the best live albums I've heard in my life. The individual live performance of Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman and Bill Bruford are completely irreproachable and absolutely unforgettable. The live album has also an amazing sound quality.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe by ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.21 | 387 ratings

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

Review by Dapper~Blueberries

2 stars I have listened to a lot of records, a lot a lot of records. I have listened too a lot of good, and a lot of bad. This year alone I listened too uncountable amounts of records, each different from the last. Some of these records are by Yes, the famous Prog rock band. I listened to them all, the first LP, Close to the Edge, Relayer, Then and Now, Union, The Ladder, 90125, I have been too them all, and I heard them all. However like most bands, their discography was kinda mixed but usually speaking, their classic line up in their Prog days was usually considered the best. Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford, Rick Wakeman, and Steve Howe, however like most bands, this line up wouldn't last long. Members come and go and that is just life. But this album has the names of the original quartet, the fab 4, the boys. I was pretty excited and had high hopes for this album. I want to hear what my boys had to offer so I clicked play.

Right from the bat, the first song Themes was pretty promising. Sure it was sorta 80s like, that was too be expected but it has promise. And then Fist Of Fire, and after that Brother of Mine, and then?yeah. I wasn't really expecting something like the 70s but, I wasn't expecting this. The drums are pretty basic, Jon's vocals can get kinda annoying, the guitar is kinda weak and the pianos while good, just aren't really worth more than that. But this album also has some good in it. The songs are pretty fun too listen too, they are pretty upbeat for the most part, and they definitely get the whole Yes flow across. But despite that, I don't know, this is a weird album.

I haven't felt this mixed about an album in so long and I am just confused? I don't know whether to dislike or like this album. And I don't think I ever will.

 Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe by ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.21 | 387 ratings

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

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

2 stars 2.5 stars. Just a huge disappointment given who is playing on here but I understand it's 1989. The last really good YES album prior to this is "Drama" in my opinion which doesn't compare to their classics. This is a tough listen for me with Bruford's electronic drums and Wakeman's plastic sounding high pitched synths. Fans must have been hopeful though back in the day after a couple of commercial sounding YES albums in "90125" and "Big Generator" here was the classic lineup without Squire(my favourite) but replaced with Tony Levin who I'm a big fan of. Three tracks over 9 minutes would have first caught the eyes of the classic YES fan but when they spun it, well this is I guess a modernized sounding YES and it does not sound good. A lot of cheese and sugar here. Check out the World music sound on "Teakbois" if you dare(haha). A ballad in "The Meeting". I'm sorry but "Fists Of Fire" makes me laugh. I don't want to get any more insulting other than to say these guys knew better didn't they? I do adore that album art though.
 An Evening of Yes Music Plus by ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE album cover Live, 1993
3.44 | 114 ratings

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

Review by Prog Zone

4 stars Review - #22 (Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe - An Evening of Yes Music Plus)

An Evening of Yes Music Plus is Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe's first live album which was released in 1993. The album is a recording of a concert performed at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California, on September 9th, 1989. An Evening of Yes Music Plus was initially broadcast on the King Biscuit Flower Hour radio program and as a pay-per-view special in the United States. In addition, a special mention must be made for the magnificent album painted by Roger Dean titled Floating Islands. The album features Jon Anderson on lead vocals, Bill Bruford on drums, Rick Wakeman on keyboards, Steve Howe on guitar, Jeff Berlin on bass, Julian Colbeck on additional keyboards, and Milton McDonald on rhythm guitar. Throughout the album, Bill Bruford utilizes an electronic drum kit which adds a unique and distinct sound to the album along with the drumming proficiency that he is known for. With Bill Bruford on drums, the album demonstrates the first time he has ever performed Close to the Edge and And You And I in a live setting due to his departure from the band after recording the album they were written on entitled Close to the Edge in 1972. Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, and Rick Wakeman are also performing better then ever with no sign of any deterioration. Additionally, musicians Jeff Berlin, Julian Colbeck, and Milton McDonald all do a terrific job with their respective instruments.

The album opens with Benjamins Britten's Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra which can be viewed as Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe's version of the Firebird Suite. Benjamins Britten's Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra then transfers into Jon Anderson's solo which features a combination of Time and a Word, Owner of A Lonely Heart, and Teakbois performed with Milton McDonald on acoustic guitar and Julian Colbeck on keyboards. The combination of melodies presented works quite well here while also managing to feature various eras of Yes. Soon after, Steve Howe's solo begins with a blend of The Clap and Mood for a Day which demonstrates Steve Howe's incredible skill with guitar. Like I said earlier, his guitar skills are just as impressive as ever and show no sign of worsening! The track then transfers into Rick Wakeman's solo performance which contains fragments of Gone but Not Forgotten, Catherine Parr, and Merlin the Magician. This solo performance is unquestionably my favorite solo segment I have heard him do in both Yes and Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe's live discography, it cannot be said to be anything less than a work of genius. Astonishing from start to finish! Rick Wakeman then introduces Long Distance Runaround on keyboard before the entire band comes in to join him. The live rendition of the track features a brilliant combination of electronic and acoustic drums in addition to Jon Anderson's breathtaking vocals. Not to mention, the backing vocals provided here works surprisingly well in replacement for Chris Squire's iconic backing vocals. At around the halfway point the introductory guitar riff from Heart of the Sunrise is performed which shifts into a drum solo by Bill Bruford using a blend of acoustic and electronic drums. The drum solo is undoubtedly one of the best I've heard in a while, but I didn't expect anything less due to it coming from the drumming mastermind himself. Seamlessly, the track transfers into Birthright which is played almost identically to the studio version found on Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe's self- titled album. A special mention must also go to the keyboard duo of Rick Wakeman and Julian Colbeck on this track. The vigorous energy found throughout is truly spectacular. The next track, And You And I is just as magnificent as ever. During live performances of this song, it can be somewhat difficult to reach the grandness which is originally found on the studio version during the Apocalypse section. However, this live adaptation is one of the few that is able to do it successfully. Also, Bill Bruford's drumming is consistently excellent during the course of the track with incredible drum fills throughout. The only complaint I have about this live rendition is that Steve Howe's guitar seems to be too low in the mix, especially when he is using his pedal steel guitar. Rick Wakeman also has a solo in the track that is genuinely dazzling. After a round of applause, the band commences I've Seen All Good People which is yet another great performance of a classic. The All Good People section of the track is where my attention continually goes to. Steve Howe's lead guitar in addition to Milton McDonald's rhythm guitar are both performed very well. This is on top of Rick Wakeman getting a magnificent keyboard section which is full of energy. This live rendition of I've Seen All Good People remains to be one of their best to date.

It can be extremely difficult to have a truly successful live rendition of Close to the Edge due to the masterful nature of the studio version, but this live rendition is surely one of the best! Every musician is at their peak here with each section having a similar yet unique feel to the studio version. Shortly after concluding Close to the Edge, the band begins Themes with an ascending keyboard melody from Rick Wakeman. This is a solid live rendition which adds prolonged instrumental segments in addition to a modified drum pattern which differs to the studio version. Jeff Berlin's bass work on Themes is powerful in combination with the rhythm section. Then Brother of Mine opens with Jon Anderson's angelic voice which is soon accompanied by a wonderful guitar riff coming from Milton McDonald. Brother of Mine is certainly the best Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe track featured on An Evening of Yes Music Plus while containing a passion from the band which is genuinely felt. However, similar to And You And I Steve Howe's guitar is a bit too quiet in the mix but still doesn't take away from the wonderful guitar work he provides through the track. Heart of the Sunrise is up next which showcases both Steve Howe and Milton McDonald giving yet another marvelous guitar performance. In addition, Jeff Berlin provides a solid bass solo during the first few minutes of the track which is particularly melodic. This seems to be a common praise throughout the album, but Jon Anderson's vocals are incredible. His ability to hit various ranges is exceedingly impressive with the grandness being especially built up due to the combination of musicians supporting him. Yet another Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe track begins shortly after the ending of Heart of the Sunrise titled Order of the Universe. This is an excellent live rendition but doesn't stray as far from the studio version as some of the other tracks do. However, I happen to really enjoy the immense momentum found throughout which brings out the impressive rhythm section. With only two tracks left, it isn't all that surprising the band chooses to perform both Roundabout and Starship Trooper as the closing tracks. Both Roundabout and Starship Trooper receive phenomenal live renditions with extended segments and unbelievable musicianship. The ending of Starship Trooper titled The Würm is nothing less than breathtaking. Interestingly, the band would repeat a similar live rendition of Starship Trooper during their first Keys to Ascension album which remains to be the band's definitive live version in my judgment. The live album then ends with applause from the crowd, celebrating this fantastic live performance.

An Evening of Yes Music Plus remains to be one of the most unique live performances "Yes" has done to date. The album encompasses a wide range of musicians in addition to a solid setlist containing a multitude of highlights from Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe's self-titled album and Yes' vast catalogue of music. For reference, anytime I purchase a copy of Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe's self-titled album as a gift for someone, I always purchase a copy of An Evening of Yes Music Plus to go along with it. I believe that should demonstrate the quality of music found within this album appropriately. An excellent addition to any progressive rock collection! "You don't need anybody in the complicated life... you crossed over the river."

 Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe by ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.21 | 387 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 titled 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 titled 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 titled 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 titled 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! "So give it all the love you have, never be afraid to show your heart!"

 Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe by ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.21 | 387 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
3.21 | 387 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
3.21 | 387 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.

 An Evening of Yes Music Plus by ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE album cover Live, 1993
3.44 | 114 ratings

BUY
An 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.

 Live at the NEC by ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE album cover Live, 2010
3.84 | 30 ratings

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Live at the NEC
Anderson - Bruford - Wakeman - Howe Symphonic Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

3 stars One of two official live releases from the multi-leg 1989-1990 ABWH tour, Live at the NEC was recorded just a month and a half after the show that would be released as An Evening of Yes Music Plus. In fact, they only played four shows between the two dates memorialized on CD. Live at the NEC is largely superfluous but for a couple of details that have been widely discussed: it features bassist Tony Levin (Jeff Berlin had appeared on An Evening of Yes Music), and it contains two more songs.

In terms of the change in bassist, Levin is a bit more appreciated by Yes fans, but Berlin is just as good, and while each of these CDs is an engrossing listen, neither rivals the best Yes live albums, and neither gets many spins from me anymore.

An Evening of Yes Music is a better recording than Live at the NEC, so it makes sense that it was chosen for contemporary release. But complicating the question of which is better overall is the fact that Live at the NEC contains what is probably the best version of 'I've Seen All Good People,' the Chris Squire instrumental which is always (as far as I know) played as a medley with 'You're Move.' Keyboardist Rick Wakeman and guitarist Steve Howe are absolutely on fire. For whatever reason, this song isn't included on An Evening of Yes Music.

Without "I've Seen All Good People," Live at the NEC would be fall a bit short of three stars, but with this great performance, a three-star rating is warranted.

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

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