Former Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin has completed a new instrumental solo effort called Jacaranda, with a release date set for May 8 via Varese Sarabande Records. There are also plans for new album with fellow Yes alums Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman.
Jacaranda, Rabin’s first all-new solo release since 1989’s Can’t Look Away, will feature Tal Wilkenfeld, Vinnie Colaiuta, Lou Molino III and Trevor’s son Ryan. Rabin, in an interview with Guitar International, said the album will have a rootsier feel — something that might surprise fans of his “Owner of a Lonely Heart”-era work with Yes.
For instance, the project will include some dobro work. In fact, it features “a lot of bluegrass, jazz, and a bit of, not sure what to call it!,” Rabin said. “I’m very happy with my solo album. … It’s all instrumental, and I had a blast doing it.”
There are plans, Rabin said, to tour behind Jacaranda. As for that proposed studio effort with Anderson and Wakeman, Rabin adds: “We haven’t started yet. But Jon, Rick, and I are really itching to do it.”
The South African-born Rabin served as a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter with Yes from 1982–1994, as the chart-topping single “Owner of a Lonely Heart” helped propel 90125 to 6 million in sales — by far the most commercially successful of any album by the British prog-rock legends.
Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Trevor Rabin, Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman. Click through the titles for complete reviews …
Part of a disappointing, four-years-in-the-making followup to the smash 90125, this synth-washed song is one of Big Generator’s few saving graces — echoing some of Anderson’s most passionate calls for peace, but updated for a new generation. “It was controlled by Trevor Horn and (Yes co-founder Chris (Squire),” Anderson told us. “I just wrote lyrics and sang my part. That’s the way they wanted it. … But, on stage, ‘Shoot High Aim Low’ was magical.” Co-written with Rabin, who effectively vocalizes in counterpoint to Anderson, “Shoot High, Aim Low” reached No. 11 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. Rabin acquits himself well on guitar too, offering a series of crisp asides including a nifty Spanish-themed section. The tune ends with Rabin, prophetically, singing: “We didn’t get much farther.” Anderson took another hiatus from the band not long after.
YES, “IT CAN HAPPEN” (90125, 1983): You might have expected more from 90125, an early-1980s effort that found the band’s rhythm section reuniting with vocalist Jon Anderson. Initial keyboardist Tony Kaye was back; even producer Trevor Horn was a former Yes-ster. But new guitarist Trevor Rabin was no Steve Howe. And Horn (what’s with all these Trevors, anyway?) swaddled everything in a glitzy, then-current synth sound. Rather than reigniting Yes’ seminal erudite groove, 90125 more often came off as glossed-over MTV-era replica, a signpost heralding the band’s slow slide into prog rock-pop commercialism. How crazy ironic is it that 90125, featuring so many Yes alums, sounded at times almost nothing like, you know, Yes? So, I go in wanting to dislike it. I mean, I have the old albums. There’s no Steve Howe, and all. Even so, this new amalgam sometimes clicked. I mean, the Fab Four-inspired “It Can Happen” — with its sparkling vocal interplay, the whack-job lyric and that nifty sitar riff — still makes my heart slosh in my chest.
JON ANDERSON AND RICK WAKEMAN: THE LIVING TREE IN CONCERT: PART ONE (2011): Anyone expecting the cosmic prog-rock journeys of this duo’s work as members of Yes must have been a little disappointed — and not just with the spare instrumentation. More striking than the lean, guitar-free musical structures was how intimate, even grounded this concert performance was. If anything, though, this album speaks to both the individual trials and the shared will to overcome for both singer Jon Anderson and keyboardist Rick Wakeman. Each has had to grapple against some terrifying health problems, even as Yes continued on without them.
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