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Jon & Vangelis - Private Collection CD (album) cover

PRIVATE COLLECTION

Jon & Vangelis

 

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3.15 | 104 ratings

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TCat
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Vangelis' discography in the early 80's revolved less around his solo albums and more around some of his most iconic soundtracks along with projects with other artists. Three of the albums released during this time was this collaboration between Jon Anderson and himself (named simply as Jon & Vangelis) and this also allowed vocals/lyrics to be better brought into Vangelis' distinctive style. The third album of this particular collaborative effort is called "Private Collection". This one has six shorter tracks and one very long epic track, most of which is very beautiful music that quite effectively spotlight the talents of the two artists. Where "Mr. Cairo", the previous album had a more concept driven affair, this one seems to be more about the individual tracks.

Italian Song - A simple song consisting of Jon singing in Italian and Vangelis providing minimal synths and choral effects.

And When the Night Comes - A staccato and rhythmic background is established before Jon begins singing. This time the song is much more accessible with a chorus/verse structure and with the lyrical subject about love along with the clichés we've come to associate with popular music. The only guest on the album comes along in the second half of the track: Dick Morrissey on saxophone, and this gives the track a warm and Kenny G-like atmosphere. A little too sappy at that point, but at least Vangelis' contributions make it listenable.

Deborah - Probably the duo's most well known track. It's a beautiful and appealing melody, simple, yet lovely. At first, the vocals are accompanied by a piano with reverb, something we have grown accustomed to with Vangelis' style. Symphonic effects are added in as the song progresses along with the passion. In the end, it becomes like a lullaby with a heart-rending melody added to Vangelis' coda to the tune.

Polonaise - This track remains quite peaceful and simple with Jon's vocals being the centerpoint of the track, but after the halfway mark, it suddenly becomes more regal with the dramatic use of percussion for a short section before calming again at the end. The melody here sounds classical-European-inspired. Vangelis adds another coda on this one which simply repeats the main melody with his synths.

He is Sailing - A nice, floating and steady rhythm brings this in immediately with staccato synth riffs and a mostly one note verse and a chorus with a nice hook that meshes quite well with the persistent rhythm. Soaring synth melodies add in the patches between the vocal sections. Excellent track that gives a very positive vibe and Vangelis' contribution stands out quite well making things extremely appealing to listen to. It's music like this that constantly draws me to both artists as it elevates my spirit (in a good way, not a religious way at all).

Horizon - This makes up the entirety of Side 2 as it is nearly 23 minutes long. It starts off with a repeating synth/percussive pattern with a distinctive moderate rhythm that follows a descending chord pattern. It draws you in quite well and this repeats for a few minutes before Anderson's vocals start. The melody here is a bit more complex than the previous tracks, but it is still quite accessible. The vocal melody soon gets more repetitive later as the voice and synths throw in little improvised embellishments as it floats along for several minutes. About halfway through, the chordal and rhythmic pattern breaks down in a somewhat climactic way as the song changes direction. Now it becomes quite ambient and peaceful as the track seeks to develop (or at least make a variation) of the original theme. This quieter section relies more on the treated piano to provide melody while synth effects flow around it. Eventually, more vocals come in with a new melody, some washes of sudden dynamic outbursts flood over the ambience, but are only short dramatic waves as the ambient section continues, but it does eventually build to quite a cinematic ending.

Jon & Vangelis would not do another collaborative effort again until 1991, about 8 years later. In the meantime, Jon Anderson would continue his work with Yes while Vangelis resumed work on his own discography, producing soundtracks and also other collaborations. This album, however, is a shining jewel in the discographies of both artists and seems to be a little underrated. Yes, there are a couple of weak tracks ("And When the Night Comes" and "Polonaise"), but they are still okay and the other tracks outshine them enough to not affect the entire album that much in my opinion. This is a beautiful album that should be a part of the library of fans of either one of these artists and other music collectors.

TCat | 4/5 |

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