Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe
Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe


3.5
great

Review

by e210013 USER (131 Reviews)
March 26th, 2018 | 11 replies


Release Date: 1989 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is a good release for prog rock in the 80's. But for an album with this caliber of artists, it should have been a much better release.

“Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman And Howe” is the self-titled debut and only studio album of Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman and Bill Bruford and was released in 1989. The album had also the participation of Milton McDonald, Matt Clifford, Tony Levin, Joe Hammer, J.M.C.Singers, Emerald Community Singers and Oxford Circus Singers.


Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman & Howe was a project of four ex-members of Yes, at time. They had played together in Yes in the early 70’s and with the only exception of Jon Anderson, the only remaining member of the line up of that period of time, they hadn’t been playing with Yes for many years. Although, conceived as to be a yes reunion, at that time, the rights of the name of the group was owned by Jon Anderson, Chris Squire and Alan White, but as Chris Squire and Alan White were still continuing with Yes along with Trevor Rabin and Tony Kaye, due to legal rights, it wasn’t possible to use Yes’ name by them. So, they decided only to adopt simply the first names of the members of the band.

About the cover for the album they decided to keep the same old tradition on Yes. The artwork for the album was also created by Roger Dean, as it was usual in the 70’s, when he designed almost all the albums covers for Yes.

Departing from Yes following the “Big Generator” album, Anderson prompted and inspired by his then wife, sought a return to, as he calls it, the “true” sound of Yes’ classic albums, “Fragile” and “Close To The Edge”. So, “Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman And Howe” was the result of it. It’s nowhere near as complex as some of those earlier albums, but it contains some nice pieces of music, and some attempts of great pieces of music, too. After recruiting three of the additional and previous Yes’ musicians to the fold, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe, they set out to record an album that captured the sound that they thought Yes had digressed from. Anderson originally wanted Chris Squire to join them in the recordings, a position that was taken up by Levin upon the suggestion of Bruford. If Squire had been present on this album it may have evolved into a uniquely different thing. You would probably have ended up with an album more in tune with “Order Of The Universe” as opposed to “The Meeting” and definitely nothing like “Teakbois”. So, the further union of these all five members of the classic era could have entirely changed the future of Yes, who knows?

Whilst this isn’t a traditionally Yes’ album, overall the sound of Yes remains present and instantly recognisable, despite some differences. “Themes” is a strong opener that evolves from pleasant piano beginnings into a largely triumphant finish. It’s an uplifting piece with some classic Howe fills and 80’s sounding keyboard bits and with electronic drums. “First Of Fire” is a small track which brings the music into a floating beats with dazzling keyboard and powerful vocal work by Jon. “Brother Of Mine” is one of the best tracks. It can be criticized for the new age lyrics, but is almost an epic instrumental piece. “Birthright” is a rare politically inspired song about nuclear testing in Australia. Here, everyone is enjoying themselves and even the electronic drum works relatively well. “The Meeting” is another nice track which features Rick’s nice piano accompanying Jon’s vocal in a mellow style. But this isn’t one of the most memorable tracks. “Quartet” is the nearest we’ll get to “Fragile”. It has the same piano led back bone as “Long Distance Runaround” and the oboe sounding key lines are plain nicely. This is a track where the bass line could have been mixed higher. “Teakbois” is the weakest track definitely. This is an uninspired song with some reggae influences with cheesy vocals and percussion. It should never have been a part of the album. “Order Of The Universe” is perhaps the best track. We are before a classic Yes’ song. Every single member of the band is perfect. The vocal work is very solid and it leads to one of Jon’s finest moments. “Let’s Pretend” is a nostalgic ballad very soft and acoustic. It’s a nice close for the album.


Conclusion: With the reunion of four of the best prog musicians ever, it seems that all the conditions were joined to have a great album. Still, despite be a good album, it’s far from be a great work and is a kind of a deception. From these musicians, that belong to the golden line up of Yes, only missing Chris Squire, we must expected much more. Tracks, “Themes”, “First Of Fire”, “Brother Of Mine”, “Birthright” and “Order Of The Universe” are al great tracks and the best of the album. Tracks, “The Meeting”, “Quartet” and “Let’s Pretend” are nice and beautiful but nothing more than that. But track “Teakbois” is outside of the context of the album. “Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman And Howe” looks more like an album of Anderson & Friends than an album of Yes. It sounds like an Anderson’s album with a touch of Bruford, when Wakeman’s keyboards sounds different and Howe’s presence is almost unnoticed and where, despite the quality of Levin, the absence of Squire is very noticeable too. Unfortunately, this album seems to me a real missed opportunity. In 1993 it was released a live album “Evening Of Yes Music Plus” and a DVD in 1994. It will be review by me on Sputnik.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)



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user ratings (36)
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
Divaman (4)
This is the Yes album that time forgot, but is it a good album? Yes!...


Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
March 26th 2018


2725 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

My prog journey through the world of Yes would be incomplete without this album. It's' true we have a very recent and excellent review ofr my friend Diva, but I needed to do this. After all, this is a kind of a lost album of Yes. Besides, two reviews aren't too much for this album and my perspective about the album isn't preciselly the same. I'm not so positive about it, as he is. I confess I hesitated to rate it with 3.0 or 3.5. Initially, I had given to it a 3.0, but since it has some really great tracks I changed to a 3.5.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
March 26th 2018


11280 Comments


This is a very good release that is over the average of the 80’s, in prog. But for an album with these artists it must would have been a much better release.


Your summary is weirding me out : [ it’s a good release that’s “over” the average of 80s prog? Better than the average 80s prog release?

But for an album with these artists “it must would” have been a much better release.

But for an album with this caliber of artists, it should have been a much better release.

Still sounds clunky and redundant no matter which way you reword it.

Might be time to consider a new summary, hope this helps find some clarity for your writing

Digging: Sutrah (CAN) - Aletheia

e210013
March 26th 2018


2725 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You're absolutely right. It did not make any sense. I've already changed it. Thanks, man. I really appreciated your very useful comment.

Divaman
March 26th 2018


4682 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Always glad to have your perspective, e. I saw these guys live when they toured in support of the album, with Tony Levin on bass, and it was a great show.

Digging: Meg and Dia - Happysad

Jethro42
March 26th 2018


15979 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@e21, your summary still looks weird. Your second sentence should go something like this; ''But for an album with this caliber of artists, it should have been a much better release.'' You cannot say ''it must would have been''

I agree with you when you say it's like an album of Anderson and friends. I think the album starts well and really shines with the coming of ''Brother of Mine''. After that they fall too much into ballads and New Age stuff a la solo Anderson's material. Well done, but they break the rock flow. Without ''Order of the Universe'', the second half of the album wouldn't leave the floor. On a positive note, band flirts with World Music and it's pretty cool.

Wakeman's choices of keyboards are often questionable on here. I would prefer vintage sounding from him. Howe's guitars are discreet, Levin's bass is played with sobriety and safely, and Bruford's electronic drums were all right for King Crimson, but they don't suit well into a ''Yes'' context.

Nice review buddy. As for my rating, just like you, I still hesitate between a 3 or a 3.5.



e210013
March 27th 2018


2725 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks, Diva. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity of see Yes live on a real live show. But, I own a copy on DVD of "An Evening Of Yes Music Plus", besides the copy on CD, but with Jeff Berlin instead of Tony Levin, and the show is really great. This concert video was recorded in 9 September 1989 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. I'll published a review about it, very soon.

e210013
March 27th 2018


2725 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"@e21, your summary still looks weird."

You're absolutely right. Sometimes when we write is a foreign language we don't realise the absurd of some mistakes. It seems our brain stops. I acept your suggestion. I've already changed my summary. Thanks, bro.

I agree with all you said. I'm not a great fan of electronic drums too and I don't like particularly of Wakeman's keyboards. I would prefer vintage sounding too.

Cheers buddy.

TheIntruder
March 27th 2018


445 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I would not expected you covered this album. It doesn't belong to Yes golden era and Diva did a good review recently. But you are right. Your Yes prog journey would be incomplete without it. Anyway is always nice to have more than only one review especially when there are different points of view. Nice work, too. Have a pos.

e210013
March 27th 2018


2725 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks Intruder.

Yeah, I needed to review this album, even if it's not an album that belong to their golden era. Besides, it isn't really a truly Yes' album, indeed. But it represents one of Yes' many music faces all over the years.

Cheers, pal.

TwigTW
March 27th 2018


3825 Comments


I do enjoy this, even if it isn't a classic. Things could only get better for Yes and its related projects after Big Generator. I hear as much Tormato on this as Anderson's wish for a “true” Yes classic sound . . . I agree with what Jethro said about the keyboards. They sometimes sound (to me) more like Geoff Downes, or Geoff Downes trying to sound like Rick Wakeman.

e210013
March 27th 2018


2725 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, the album is enjoyable especially for a prog album in the 80's. But with this kind of artists, it should have been a better album. Besides, how can an album recreates the classic sound of Yes with the use of electronic drums and the use of the sound of the keybords from the 80's? Where is the classic vintage sound? Both things don't work very well, indeed. Still, I also think this album is a real enjoyable work.

Thanks, Twig.



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