Jon Anderson, having just completed a lengthy American solo tour and with more shows to come in South America, is creating a similarly brisk pace — four years after he split with Yes, the legendary prog rock band he co-founded in the late 1960s with bassist Chris Squire.
He’s also planning a sequel to last October’s opus “Open” — called “Ever” — and a new album for the summer.
With “Open,” Anderson took his boldest step yet in reclaiming his own corner of the Yes legacy, offering a conceptual opus filled with as much sun-filled wonderment as it had thrilling musical twists. And, at a positively 1970s-ish 21 minutes long, the tune showed Anderson — after a lengthy series of health problems, following decades spent fitting his muse into the Yes’ more recent ever-dilating prog-pop — was bursting with ideas again. His follow up is expected to boast much the same narrative sweep.
Anderson released “Open” via download in 2011, much to the delight of Anderson’s online fans, who number more than 9,000 on Facebook and almost as many of Twitter. He says he will likely take a more traditional route for the new studio project — Anderson’s first sincewhich was issued on Gonzo MultiMedia.
“I told my friend, ‘find me a good record company and we’ll put it out,’” Anderson tells E Talent Showcase. “It’s different these days, because you can choose to just put it out there on the Internet or you can use a record company to promote you.”
As for the album project’s theme?: “It’s a coordination of songs and tranquil ideas that have been hovering around me for the last couple of years,” Anderson says.
His upcoming South American tour dates: Sept. 11, 2012: Auditorio Nacional Adela Reta, Montevideo, Uruguay; Sept. 14: Teatro Positivo, Curitiba, Brazil; Sept. 15: Teatro Santa Isabel, Recife, Brazil; Sept. 19: Teatro Castro Alves, Salvador, Brazil; Sept. 21: Centro Cultural Joao Nogueira, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Sept. 26: Palacio das Artes, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Jon Anderson. Click through the titles for complete reviews …
Anderson spoke about a broad range of topics – from key musical memories with Yes to the recuperative qualities of painting, and the role the Internet might play in reviving rock music’s long-dormant progressive spirit.
Too often, it was like Anderson didn’t want to make a solo record that sounded too much like Yes. As interesting as these sideroads no doubt were, they gave few clues to how his own voice fit into the wider topography of the band. And they often were so idiosyncratic that only the deepest, more committed fans had the will to follow along. That is, until Survival and Other Stories, a rousing return to form that finds Anderson coming to terms with his own storied history, even as he transcends it.
ONE TRACK MIND: JON ANDERSON, “OPEN” (2011): When Jon Anderson told us earlier in the year that he was writing more “Yes-style music” these days, this — even more than his well-received subsequent solo release — was what most people had in mind: A conceptually epic piece, filled with wonderment, musical twists and a theme as broad as it is hopeful. Quite frankly, this is what Jon Anderson does. And it’s terrifically engaging, after too long spent fitting his muse into the ever-dilating strictures of Yes’ modern-day prog-pop, to hear Anderson doing it again.
Anderson shares unique insights into some of his more memorable tracks, and a few deep cuts, as well. Go inside the creative process as Anderson and Co. complete the epic Side 1 opener to 1974′s Relayer. Get insights into working with Vangelis, and find out why Anderson made another pass at the closing track from 90125 for a solo project almost 10 years later. And, of course, there are the lasting mysteries of “Roundabout.”
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.