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JON ANDERSON

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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Jon Anderson biography
John Roy ANDERSON - Born Oct. 25, 1944 (Accrington, Lancashire, UK)

The name Jon ANDERSON is inextricably linked to that of YES, one of the most defining and influential bands in Progressive Rock history. Legend has it that ANDERSON worked on a farm and drove a taxi before creating his first band, The WARRIORS, with his brother Tony in 1964. From then on, the road ahead was paved for the next 30 years... and counting.

Although YES occupied the major part of his time, ANDERSON has contributed extensively to various artists' albums and projects over the years, lending his vocal talents to the likes of VANGELIS, KITARO, Mike OLDFIELD, John-Paul Jones, TANGERINE DREAM, TOTO, 4HIM, Jonathan Elias and BÉLA FLECK & THE FLECKTONES as well as to fellow YES member Steve HOWE on one of his solo albums. At time of printing, he was working with Igor Khoroshev (YES' new keyboard player) on Khoroshev's album entitled "True You True Me".

Despite his numerous engagements with YES and other artists, ANDERSON found the time to release 13 solo albums, quite wide ranging in style - from the fantasy land of "Olias of Sunhillow" (1976) to the contemporary pop/worldbeat of "The More You Know" (1998). Of particular interest to progsters is his debut solo album and masterpiece, "Olias of Sunhillow": an incredibly gorgeous work of epic adventures in mythical times and places. Laced with heavenly vocal harmonies and loaded with strings and keyboards (VANGELIS style), it features ANDERSON playing all the instruments himself. In the 'mildly interesting' category are: "Song of Seven" (1980) which is something of a compromise, considering that half of it is progressive and the other half made up of simple, radio-friendly tunes; "Animation" (1983) for its variety of musical roots and tempos; and "Toltec" (1996) with its distinctive Mexican/Native American flair - a concept album based on the work of author Carlos Castenada.

See also:
- Anderson - Bruford - Wakeman - Howe
- Anderson/Stolt
- Anderson-Ponty Band
- Jon & Vangelis

With the exception of "Olias of Sunhillow" however, r...
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JON ANDERSON discography


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

3.96 | 444 ratings
Olias of Sunhillow
1976
2.81 | 171 ratings
Song of Seven
1980
3.32 | 135 ratings
Animation
1982
2.52 | 106 ratings
3 Ships
1985
2.67 | 113 ratings
In The City Of Angels
1988
2.31 | 84 ratings
Deseo
1994
4.02 | 116 ratings
Change We Must
1994
2.31 | 61 ratings
Angels Embrace
1995
3.42 | 88 ratings
Toltec
1996
3.06 | 61 ratings
Earthmotherearth
1997
2.56 | 60 ratings
The Promise Ring
1997
2.95 | 72 ratings
The More You Know
1998
3.70 | 43 ratings
The Fellowship: In Elven Lands
2006
3.43 | 95 ratings
Anderson / Wakeman: The Living Tree
2010
3.69 | 88 ratings
Survival And Other Stories
2010
3.59 | 57 ratings
1000 Hands - Chapter One
2019

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

4.10 | 10 ratings
Live In Sheffield 1980
2006
3.67 | 12 ratings
The Mother's Day Concert
2007
3.13 | 15 ratings
Live From La La land
2007
3.19 | 24 ratings
The Living Tree In Concert Part One (Anderson/Wakeman)
2011

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

4.02 | 22 ratings
Tour Of The Universe
2005

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

2.22 | 12 ratings
The Deseo Remixes
1995
3.03 | 16 ratings
Lost Tapes Of Opio
1996
3.95 | 20 ratings
Searching For The Songs
2006
2.18 | 11 ratings
From Me To You
2006
4.33 | 3 ratings
The Lost Tapes
2006
3.26 | 20 ratings
Watching The Flags That Fly
2006

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

4.00 | 4 ratings
(The Autobiography of) Mississippi Hobo / Sonata of Love
1968
4.33 | 3 ratings
Never My Love / All of the Time
1968
5.00 | 4 ratings
Flight of the Moorglade
1976
3.15 | 11 ratings
Some Are Born
1980
3.13 | 4 ratings
Everybody Loves You
1980
4.50 | 4 ratings
All In A Matter Of Time
1982
2.46 | 5 ratings
All In A Matter Of Time / Spider
1982
3.24 | 6 ratings
Surrender
1982
3.22 | 4 ratings
Boundaries
1982
2.57 | 6 ratings
Cage Of Freedom
1984
4.25 | 4 ratings
Easier Said Than Done
1985
3.53 | 10 ratings
Shine - Mike Oldfield with Jon Anderson
1986
4.50 | 4 ratings
Michael Oldfield / Jon Anderson - In High Places
1987
4.00 | 3 ratings
Is It Me
1988
3.20 | 8 ratings
Hold On To Love
1988
5.00 | 1 ratings
Whatever You Believe
1988
5.00 | 2 ratings
Far Far Cry
1990
3.75 | 4 ratings
Jon Anderson / Kitaro - Island of Life
1992
3.41 | 13 ratings
Change We Must (single)
1994
3.71 | 7 ratings
Candle Song
1994
5.00 | 1 ratings
Maybe
1998
4.00 | 3 ratings
State of Independence
2005
3.22 | 8 ratings
The Lost Tapes Sampler
2006
4.50 | 2 ratings
Give Hope
2009
5.00 | 1 ratings
Unbroken Spirit
2010
3.68 | 27 ratings
Open
2011
3.06 | 11 ratings
Race to the End
2012
4.33 | 3 ratings
Brasilian Music Sound
2012
3.29 | 7 ratings
Makes Me Happy
2019
2.00 | 1 ratings
Go Screw Yourself
2020

JON ANDERSON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Animation by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.32 | 135 ratings

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Animation
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars Jon Anderson's 3rd solo album was released in 1982 (a year before the release of Yes' "90125" and during a time when he was collaborating with Mike Oldfield and Vangelis. With this album, Jon strives to make his sound quite accessible, but he does it without compromising his overall sound and style. He seems to touch on several different sounds and styles with this album making it more like his own album with the Vangelis influence less present as on his first solo album. The music ranges from a long progressive track (Animation) to reggae (Surrender), to latin (Much Better Reason), to acoustic (Boundaries). He does all this by using several different artists (Jack Bruce, Simon Phillips and David Sancious) to help him out as he did in the album "Song of the Seven", though this one sounds much more polished. He even used producers (Neil Kernon who worked with Hall & Oates, Tony Visconti who worked with David Bowie and T. Rex) that were used to working with popular styles.

Olympia - Upbeat with a guitar-led intro and then a bunch of synths come in. Anderson uses his familiar voice for a try at more accessible music. The squeals from the synth are a bit unnecessary along with the electronic blips and bleeps, but the track overall is good. The guitar continues to have a nice presence. Some mixed field recordings in the break.

Animation - This is the album's centerpiece even if it is at the beginning. It seems that the track is placed here purposely to appeal to the proggers who might expect some more complexity, and that's what you get here with this nine minute title track. The music weaves around some changing and complex rhythms, moods and styles. It could have fit pretty well on a Yes album, but the lyrics are definitely personal to Jon which is why it works better on a solo record. The last part of the track turns to a quiet, pensive sound with Jon's vulnerable vocals backed by piano and keys.

Surrender - Rolling percussion and twinkling synths bring in a mid-tempo track with a nice soft reggae backbeat returns to a more accessible style. Vocal layers are mixed in a choral feel.

All in a Matter of Time - Another mid-tempo song but this time with a nice flowing feel. Nice mix of guitar and synth here.

Unlearning (The Dividing Line) - A bit of a funky rhythm heavy on the bass and percussion makes for a catchy track and a good melody which isn't necessarily typical, but still accessible. Multiple vocal lines make for an interesting center section.

Boundaries - Twinkling keys and acoustic guitar bring this nice track in which sounds somewhat similar to "Wondrous Stories", and that's a good thing.

Pressure Point - Tricky percussion line and processed vocals bring this in and the melody line is a tad more complex this time around, so you could almost pass this one off as progressive. Nice harmonies and use of electronic effects.

Much Better Reason - Mid tempo with some latin-jazz leanings.

All God's Children - Percussion heavy with a steady beat and what sounds like a large choir for an uplifting track with a tribal flavor.

There is a lot of variety to this album and the songs are all very positive and bright as you would expect from Jon Anderson. Even though the progressive style is limited to 2 tracks, this is still an album I enjoy mostly because of the wide variety here which is accomplished while still making the album rather cohesive. Quite frankly, none of it sound too contrived (except for maybe the last track to a degree), so it manages not to get on my nerves after all this time. As a side note, there was a follow up to this album planned, but it never came to be with some material reworked into "90125". I would rate this as a 3.5 album, but I'll round it down because of the limited use of progressive style.

 Olias of Sunhillow by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.96 | 444 ratings

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Olias of Sunhillow
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Jon Anderson's first solo album was recorded and released in 1975-76, after the release of Yes' 'Relayer' album. After touring quite heavily for 5 years, the band thought that it would be a good time to take a break and that they would all work on their own solo albums (Anderson, Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White and Patrick Moraz was the Yes line-up at the time). 'Olias of Sunhillow' was Jon Anderson's solo album, but he would later release several others through his career.

Anderson wanted to release a concept album that was unlike anything Yes had done, yet that still told a story. His idea was a science-fiction tale that was inspired by the album cover artwork from Yes' 'Fragile' album which was done by Roger Dean. Using the flying ark from that album, he created a story of a magician named Olias who constructs an ark named the Moorglade Mover. The purpose of the ark was to fly the people of the planet Sunhillow to a new planet, which they do just before the planet disintegrates. The ark eventually lands on the planet Asguard.

All of the instruments and vocals on the album were performed by Anderson. However, the style on many of the tracks very closely resemble Vangelis' style, so much so that Vangelis' record label told him that they were unhappy with the fact that he played on the album, which he denies. However, Anderson does thank him in the credits, suspiciously enough. Vangelis does appreciate the album and is flattered that Jon was inspired by his style, but says that it does represent Anderson's style and talent a lot more closely.

The music on the album is beautifully orchestrated with a lot of synthesizer, but also use of middle and far Eastern instruments and styles which give it all a very mystical feel. The music is definitely non-traditional in a pop sense using a lot of progressive elements and styles. The harmonies are lovely and many times are densely layered to give it a chorale effect on several tracks. The original album was broken up into 8 tracks, however, 4 of those tracks combine two or more titles. The music tends to flow seamlessly on those tracks with combined titles, with obvious breaks between the main 8 tracks. The music usually does sound quite a bit like Vangelis' style on many of the synth heavy tracks and instrumental sections, and Anderson does cite him as an inspiration on this record along with Rick Wakeman and Patrick Moraz.

The music is also very positive sounding as is the case with most of Anderson's endeavor's. It is different from the typical Yes style, less heavy, and with a more balanced and simpler style, yet complex all the same. There is a nice use of percussion throughout the album, though it is also non-traditional in a popular sense, using folk style percussion (tribal) and also with several folk traditional instruments to help add to the mystical sense of the album. Sitar, harp, saz, mandolins and wooden flutes help with this element, yet there is also a heavy use of synthesizer and some (mostly rhythm) guitar.

This is quite a lovely album and one of Anderson's best solo projects. As he released several other albums through the years, he has veered closer to some pop-sounding albums and at other times, approached a more progressive style, but there is always that signature voice and singing style of his that ties them all together. Overall, he has managed to keep his solo albums unique and distinct from his music with Yes. Thus it makes sense to present these albums under his own name, but you can still easily tell that it is Anderson. This particular album is an impressive solo debut, especially considering that he felt a bit insecure in this album during its recording only allowing one other person to hear it. When he was finally satisfied with the result, it was released for the world to finally hear. And it is an excellent effort worth 4 stars.

 Deseo by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.31 | 84 ratings

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Deseo
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

1 stars I suppose an artist like Jon Anderson may have held an enduring affection for world music in general or Brazilian music in particular, but could not express it within the rigid (?!) confines of YES. He may have even been able to spell the names of a few of the guests who appeared, though Nascimento could pose a problem even for his own fans. He might even have a broad knowledge of the breadth and scope of the style of music plied on "Deseo".

I certainly hope the answer is "no" to all of these, because what's here is the worst type of Majority Co-opts and corrupts minority in an era that went back at least as far as "Graceland", and I don't know whether it's better or worse that Anderson was not nearly the first to adopt this practice. Then again, he could have learned a little from those "pioneers" instead of clumsily tracing their footsteps. Given these low standards, the highlight here is probably the title track which benefits from the emphatic vocal work of Cecilia Toussaint and Deborah Anderson. This deed is irrevocably reversed by the unintended parody that is "Latino". In case you have any doubts, being not prog is the least of this album's sins; its biggest seems to be a dire explosion of inauthenticity.

 Olias of Sunhillow by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.96 | 444 ratings

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Olias of Sunhillow
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by Artik

5 stars As You probably know Jon Anderson of Yes came out with his solo proposition "Olias of the sunhillow" as part of the five solo albums by all Yes members recorded after the Relayer album. He went totaly ambitious playing all the instruments and, of course, singing all the parts. The result is otherworldy. It took me a while to distinguish all the parts of the music as many of them operates on higher pitches plus many songs are interconnected which makes it not immediately accessible, but the learnig curve was totaly worth it. Breaking point was for me the third listen, when I deceided to hear it with the lyrics in my hand. The higher pitches (once tamed) make the sound sparkling and unique, the vocal melodies are as irreproachable as ever. Instrumental parts are not as complicated as in Yes, but the layers are rather dense and the mood is the main star here. Very cohesive and engaging album. 4,5-5stars rounded up to 5. Impressive! The vinyl gatefold booklet is a work of art too<3
 1000 Hands - Chapter One by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.59 | 57 ratings

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1000 Hands - Chapter One
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Originally released in March 2019 on Opio Media, Jon Anderson's latest album was reissued in July 2020 after he signed a deal with Blue Élan Records. The title relates to the large number of musicians involved, which include the likes of industry heavyweights such as Rick Wakeman, Ian Anderson, Billy Cobham, Jean-Luc Ponty, Steve Morse, Chick Corea, Steve Morse, Chris Squire, Alan White, Steve Howe, and many others while the origins of the album actually go back to the early 90's when he was working on a project which involved keyboard player Brian Chatton (who was with Jon in The Warriors before moving onto Flaming Youth). Jon involved some members of Yes on the recordings, but with the next tour coming up the tapes were put safely to one side and promptly forgotten about until producer Michael Franklin, who had also been involved in the sessions, suggested completing the album all these years later. Seven of the songs are co-written with Chatton, two with Franklin, and the other two by Anderson himself.

When listening to this album it is important to remember that Anderson has had an incredibly long career in music, and not all of that is classified as progressive, and to approach this with that in mind. I remember when I was at university that one of the favourite groups among my mates was Jon & Vangelis, especially the albums 'Short Stories' and 'The Friends of Mr Cairo', but none of them were fans of Yes, and this shows plenty of evidence of the diversity of his musical wanderings. Anderson has an incredibly distinctive voice, and even though he is now well into his seventies it shows no sign at all of waning and is as pure and clear as it has ever been. Musically there is a huge variety of styles within the album, and while it is fun to pick out individual musicians (Squire's bass is one of the easiest), what provides the continuity are those vocals, shining clear.

There are times where the music feels more like it is designed for cinema, others where it is plain silly ("Makes Me Happy" for example), others where it is truly progressive but for the most part this is a collection of songs and performances which will make fans smile. I have quite a number of Jon's solo albums, plus his various partnerships and collaborations, and this is one of the easiest to listen to and enjoy right from the off. There will always be those who bemoan the fact he isn't in Yes, and I must confess I sit in that camp as that band has never seemed right without him, and many of those Yes fans will say this is not an album they enjoy. But when asked if I would rather play this or the last Yes album, 'Heaven and Earth', there really is no choice as this is superior in every single way. This is something to which I will often return, as it is light, bright, and full of joy and great songs.

 1000 Hands - Chapter One by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.59 | 57 ratings

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1000 Hands - Chapter One
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Jon Anderson will forever be associated with Yes, titans of the genre this site is dedicated to. His was the voice which first got me into serious progressive music all those years ago in the heady mid-70's.

He has also released a number of solo albums, and it is fair to say that most people reading this will state that nothing has come close to topping the first one, Olias of Sunhillow, although my personal favourite is Change We Must.

1000 Hands is a project gestating for something akin to 20 years. Only Gabriel seems more pedestrian in completing new work.

The album features a cast of thousands, but is notable for having former Yes cohorts Howe, Squire, Rabin, Wakeman, and White involved. For those eager to see any classic lineup reunited, it must be said that this is the closest Howe will get to Jon these days.

It is an eclectic mix of music, but what does really strike one is just how good that wonderful voice still sounds. Anderson plays about with his familiar interests, namely spirituality, Native American sounds, the cod reggae heard here on First Born Leaders and once presented to embarrassing effect on Teakbois from ABWH, choral and orchestral arrangements.

It is a tad too diverse in my opinion to succeed wholly, although there is much to enjoy. The "Now" suite of music is split into three parts, and might have worked better as a whole piece, because it evokes some lovely sounds and arrangements, with Anderson really sounding as good as he ever has done. The album closing sequence gives you goosebumps, with Howe shining on classical guitar. Oh, what might have been, eh?

Ramalama is a fun track, full of grooves. The choral arrangements backing Anderson on First Born Leaders at the denouement absolutely rescue a track which commences with aforementioned cod reggae.

The other famous Anderson, Ian of Tull fame, plays a lovely flute backing track on Activate, and this together with some lovely string and choral pieces bring what would have been a somewhat rambling piece of lyricism in the first part to life. The track is almost 9 minutes long, and the closing half is nothing but a joy, full of life, sound, and a vibrant celebration of music and life.

In varying forums and reviews, the greatest criticism has been reserved for Makes Me Happy, an extraordinarily weird piece of pop music dedicated, naturally, to Janeeeeeeeeeeeee. The video accompanying this really has to be seen to be believed to appreciate the extent of how years of imbibing smelly weed can turn the mind upside down. Joking aside, my view here is that the track does, actually, make me smile, and that isn't such a bad thing, is it?

In much the same vein, only Anderson could really pull off a track such as I Found Myself. It is another love song, and the words will be familiar to any long time fan. Think of If Only I Knew from The Ladder, and you will be very close, but this does feature some fine violin, pulsating bass lines and pretty choral effects.

Twice in a Lifetime is a curious track, at once baroque, then something akin to a sea shanty at times. The violin playing on this is deeply moving, and it is here that I believe Anderson could have been far more adventurous, certainly given the time it took to realise this work. For this song would have been quite gorgeous had it been performed with a full symphony orchestra, rather than the bits and pieces it has. As it is, it is pleasant, but not a great deal more than that.

The other single release from the album is WDMCF, an acronym for Where Does Music Come From? This is another sort of maddening track for me. There are some wonderful vocal arrangements, more orchestration, and it was born from his chanting of a morning (as you do. A cup of tea normally does me, but it takes all sorts), but, again, this could have been so much more. It directly segues into the title track, 100 Hands (Come Up), and this, again, cries out, as with the previous tracks, for a full symphonic arrangement and live performance. It is far too bitty, the jazzy piano and double bass solos especially simply sounding completely out of place. There is a personal bias here. I have always loathed trad jazz, especially its pretentious sound patterns dressed up as improvisation, and this track sails too close to that particular wind for my liking. However, when the violin, keys, oboe, brass, and voices soar towards the end, the result is stunning, and a very frustrating shout out for what could have been.

To summarise, an album which has taken so long to produce should not sound, as much of this does, rushed. There are some lovely highlights, but they are too few and far between. In fact, that could almost be a narrative on Jon's entire solo career, and proves to me that old adage that great bands are made of a collective of genius, working closely together for a common goal. Thus Yes. Far greater together than apart.

I can only award this 3 stars. Good, but utterly non-essential. A shame, really.

 Change We Must by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.02 | 116 ratings

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Change We Must
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars To many listeners this album is a highlight in the rather uneven solo discography of our beloved YES-vocalist. I agree. The songs were skilfully arranged for a chamber orchestra, and the result is very balanced, elegant and nowhere near the usual cheesiness so often present in pop meets art music kind of crossover albums. The richly nuanced arrangements never get too pompous and they work extremely well together with Jon's voice which is as good as ever on this album.

Some of the songs are recycled from older albums, although I was originally - when reviewing this for a prog magazine in 2014 - only familiar with 'Hearts' from the Yes album 90125 (1983) and the Jon & Vangelis hit 'State of Independence'. The latter opens this album and features some use of a children's choir. There are also three piano- centred instrumentals, credited to Jon Anderson and David Tolley. Pretty nice, surprising move in a vocalist's album.

The greatest highlights are the romantically beautiful and yet not syrupy 'Chagall Duet' with French soprano Sandrine Piau, the intimately delicate 'Candle Song', originating from the final Jon & Vangelis album Page of Life (1991), and, most of all, the lovely, lovely title song 'Change We Must'. Its uplifting deep emotion indeed makes me feel some of the universal love that Jon is known for, and the same kids' choir is the cherry on top.

For those Jon Anderson fans who appreciate art music and delicacy, this album is a must, but undoubtedly some prog listeners may find it a bit too soft. The Esoteric Recordings' re-release features a 5-minute interview with Jon on this album and the title track's shortened single version.

 Olias of Sunhillow by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.96 | 444 ratings

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Olias of Sunhillow
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by Psychedelic Paul

5 stars JON ANDERSON needs no introduction, but the longstanding frontman of YES deserves an introduction anyway, so here goes..... He was born in Accrington, Lancashire in 1944. Anderson was a member of his brother's band, The Warriors, during the mid-1960's and he joined YES bassist Chris Squire's band, Mabel Greer's Toyshop in 1968. They changed the name of the band to YES later that same year. He was the lead vocalist on all but one of the YES albums from the first self-titled album in 1969, through to the "Magnification" album in 2001. The only exception was the 1980 "Drama" album which featured Trevor Horn on vocal duties. Jon Anderson was also the frontman on the "Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe" album, a YES album in all but name. He had a long-lasting musical partnership with Vangelis, recording four sophisticated albums of Electronica together as Jon & Vangelis:- "Short Stories" (1980); "The Friends of Mr Cairo" (1981); "Private Collection" (1983); & "Page of Life" (1991). He joined with fellow YES member Rick Wakeman in 2010 to record "The Living Tree" album. Jon Anderson's most recent collaboration was the "Better Late Than Never" (2015) album with Roine Stolt of The Flower Kings. This album, "Olias of Sunhillow" (1976), is the first of Jon's fifteen solo albums, with his latest album "1000 Hands: Chapter One", released as recently as 2019. His second album "Song of Seven" (1980) is also in the progressive mould, before he branched out into other avenues of music, such as regular Pop/Rock and New Age albums. "Olias of Sunhillow" is a concept album, recorded at a time when the concept album was King in the weird and wonderful world of Progressive Rock. The album tells the story of an alien race looking for a new world to colonise, following the destruction of their home planet in a volcanic catastrophe. Jon Anderson wrote all of the music and lyrics, and played all of the musical instruments featured on the album, so this really IS a solo album, in the true sense of the word. Let's don the flares, Afghan coat and platform shoes now as we travel back in time to those halcyon Prog-Rock days of the mid 1970's.

The album opens in dramatic style with the the sound of rumbling waves in the instrumental "Ocean Song". We then hear the exotic sound of a synth, which somehow conjures up images of the mystical East with its oriental vibe. This acts as a prelude to "Meeting (Garden Of Geda)", a buoyant and uplifting song that sounds like a more melodic and harmonic version of YES. The lyrics tell a story of a spacecraft embarking on a journey to escape a doomed planet:- "There stands Olias to outward to build a ship, Holding within all hope we retain, The frame will be so built to challenge the universe." ..... This is "YES lite" without the constant changes of tempo, sudden key changes and crashing chords that we've become so accustomed to over the years from classic YESSONGS. The "Olias of Sunhillow" album is still very much in Progressive Rock territory, but it's gentle and melodic Prog-Rock with a New Age oriental feel to it. Our journey across the universe continues now with "Dance Of Raynart, a beautiful instrumental number, featuring the gentle sound of a harp combined with mesmerizing keyboards. This leads us into "Olias (To Build the Moonglade), a passionately uplifting song full of optimism, as the alien colonists begin building their spaceship. Onwards now to the mysteriously titled 7-minute-long, three-piece suite,"Qoquaq �n Transic"/"Naon"/"Transic Tö". It's a gorgeous-sounding oriental instumental, opening to the sound of gently melodic swirling synths. This transposes into "Naon", a bright and breezy happy-clappy New Age chant, before returning to the redolent sound of the oriental synth in "Transic To". Our space colonists now embark on their journey across the universe with "Flight of the Moorglade", to close out Side One. This is an ebullient and uplifting song which is positively aglow with optimistic exuberance. Just take a look at these inspiring lyrics:- "The first to venture, First to gain, Exploring daylight, Clearer than the Talloplanic view." ..... No idea what the "Talloplanic view" is, but it sounds good and the joyfully intoxicating music is guaranteed to put you in jubilant mood and high spirits, without the aid of any alcoholic beverages.

We enter "Solid Space" now with the opening of Side Two. We're in full Symphonic Prog mode here with this rousing and restorative piece of music. It's a surging, tympanic and superlative song, bursting with glorious optimism. Okay, that's enough adjectives for now, so onwards we travel through space to "Moon Ra"/"Chords"/"Song of Search". Yes, it's another three-piece suite (no, not two armchairs & a sofa). "Moon Ra" is another New Age chant. If we weren't travelling through space, then this is the kind of jolly and vibrant song you might hear New Age revellers chanting as they dance around a tree (possibly naked) by the light of a silvery moon. This leads us onto "Chords", which, not surprisingly, is a song full of bright and uplifting, reverberating major chords to elevate the spirits up into the stratosphere and beyond. The three-piece suite concludes with "Song of Search", a hauntingly atmospheric piece of instrumental music to transport you to a higher plane of musical existence. This is soothing and sophisticated melodic prog that reaches the places that other prog-rock albums can only aspire to. We drift gently back to Earth now with the closing song on the album, "To the Runner", a joyous and jubilant hymnal melody. The music is all aglow with some positively inspirational and spiritual vibes. If only they played music in church as good as this, it might be enough to turn an atheist into a religious devotee!

You don't HAVE to be a YES fan to enjoy this album, because "Olias of Sunhillow" is a gently melodic and harmonic departure from the sound of YES, but if you ARE a fan of YES, then the familiar sound of Jon Anderson's voice may be enough to inspire you to go out and buy the album. It's still Progressive Rock, but it's Prog-Rock given a New Age oriental twist, in true Jon Anderson style. If I could choose just one word to describe the beautiful music contained within this marvellous album, it's Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

 1000 Hands - Chapter One by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.59 | 57 ratings

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1000 Hands - Chapter One
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Finally, after 9 years, Jon Anderson, the vocalist for Yes (at least most of the time) released his 16th full length solo studio album "1000 Hands ? Chapter One" in March of 2019. Jon has also invited over 50 musicians to help him out with this one so that he can concentrate on his vocals and composition. Among these musicians are several past fellow Yes members Rick Wakeman, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Allan White and Trevor Rabin. Other musicians include Chick Corea, Steve Morse, Pat Travers, Ian Anderson, Edgar Winter, Jean Luc Ponty, the Orlando Symphony Orchestra and so many others. The album consists of 11 tracks with a total run time of over 50 minutes, and according to the title, I would imagine there will be more chapters to this project.

Anyone that feared that Jon's voice would not be able to carry a new album needs not worry as his voice is as strong as ever. So are his compositional skills. As I expected, most of the tracks on this album depend on world music influences, but in amazing ways, and the songs on this album will lift you up out of any bad mood because of their positive and spiritual feel. Using tribal rhythms and traditional world sounds, this album will elevate you. On "First Born Leaders", Jon utilizes the choral group "Voices of Lindahl" to back him up effectives on the choruses. "Ramalama" uses an infectious groove and rhythms that will make you want to get up and dance. He becomes his own background singer on this track utilizing voice loops quite effectively to enhance the rhythms even more. The 8+ minute "Activate" moves to an acoustic sound with guitar and flute interspersed with natural sounds. As the track continues, additions of violin and shimmering keyboards continue as layers of music continue with very little percussion. Later, Jon increases the tempo smoothly in his singing and the instruments follow along until a regular beat is reached and more percussion is added. Everything reaches a huge climax and then ends on a soft and glowing feeling.

While it's true that the track "Makes Me Happy" is a bit corny, it still makes you happy. I suppose that he can be allowed one cringe-worthy song but who else but Jon Anderson can make you feel embarrassed for him and happy at the same time. Thank goodness that track is short and that he moves away from cragginess to a more lush and lovesly "I Found Myself" where he shares vocals and uses vocal effects along with the lead instrument being a violin. "Twice in a Lifetime" keeps things simple with violin and accordion giving the track a European/Romanian sound. This turns orchestral during the instrumental break. "WDMCF" uses vocal layering to create some nice harmonics and adds some programmed beats and orchestral instrumentation, adding organic percussion later. Another track exceeding 8 minutes follows in "1,000 Hands (Come Up)". As the previous track flows into it with a lovely piano interlude. This piano turns jazzy after a quick drum passage. A moderate drum pattern is established and the piano and other traditional percussion like steel drums add into this lyric heavy first section. The tropical jazz sound continues through an instrumental break that features a violin solo. The choral group featured previously joins in again later.

Jon's solo albums are usually far from the progressiveness of "Yes", and many times tend to fall far from the mark of true excellence that this album achieves. While it is true that this album is not really progressive (it is Prog-related after all), it is still quite an amazing album and is proof that Jon still has a great voice and is also an amazing composer. There are a few minor weaknesses, but it is infectious and beautiful, and it has a lot of positive energy, which is something we are used to as far as Jon Anderson is concerned. When he is free to express himself the way he wants to in his solo music, the spirituality and postiveness shine through even more. Sometimes, that works to his detriment in his solo albums, making them sound cheesy, but that is not the case with this album. This is the Jon Anderson album I have been waiting for, but since it lacks in progressive traits, for the purpose of this site it gets 4 stars, but personally for my own purposes, I would give it 5. Excellent album.

 1000 Hands - Chapter One by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.59 | 57 ratings

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1000 Hands - Chapter One
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I encountered Yes with Close to the Edge (1972), from there I went backwards in their discography and then became a close follower until Tormato (1978) which marked for me their downfall and in between I acquired Jon Anderson´s first solo release Olias of Sunhillow (1976) which is still my favorite Anderson solo project , but not over his Yes masterpieces.

Jon Anderson always presented me with a controversial issue: great composer & good lyricist but a hard to love, at least for me, vocal register and sadly, more than once, I actually think it twice to listen to him or Yes for the same reason.

This collection of songs which is going to be an ongoing one as far as I understand named 1000 Hands- Chapter One (2019), really fits the collectible tag and in some way that is what it aims for. An eleven track album displaying an All Stars guest list playing alongside Mr. Anderson´s musical ideas and vocals.

Music composition wise his well known late solo musical language prevails and some minor brushes with his past one , no big surprises from there, but the merge of different rhythms and styles on a single album and of course the before mentioned collaborator´s performances.

Some very good moments (track 4 -Activate & track 11- Now and Again), good acoustic arrangements all over but some other moments are not so enticing or memorable.

3 PA ´s stars.

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

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