Jon Anderson’s on-again, off-again recording project with fellow Yes alums Rick Wakeman and Trevor Rabin is apparently back on again. The three are passing around demos, and even contemplating a tour together.
Anderson was a co-founding member of Yes, singing on 19 band projects between 1969-78 and 1983-2001. Anderson last appeared on stage with Yes in 2004, and officially departed four years later. He has since recorded a studio effort and live album with Rick Wakeman, who actually had five separate stints with Yes — in 1971-1974; 1976-1980, 1991-1992; 1995-1997 and 2002-2008.
Trevor Rabin joined Yes just before 1983’s 90125, a project that he led into platinum success on the strength of Yes’ lone No. 1 hit single “Owner of the Lonely Heart.” He remained with Yes through 1994’s Talk, developing a growing creative relationship with Anderson. Rabin never worked with Wakeman on a studio project while with Yes, however, though they duo did tour together as part of the eight-man concert series in support of the 1991 album Union. He later was a guest on Wakeman’s 1999 concept album Return to the Centre of the Earth.
Each has gone on to separate solo projects while talk of a new collaboration continued.
Anderson completed a new epic-length composition called “Open,” while Rabin issued Jacaranda, his first non-soundtrack solo effort since 1989. Wakeman is the focus of a new live project called In the Nick of Time, recorded with the New English Rock Ensemble in 2003 before never before released.
Anderson, in a new talk with CBS affiliate WZLX, says the trio has finally gotten to work on this long-awaited tandem effort.
“Rick’s recording as we speak,” Anderson said. “He said he’d send me some music this month or next month. And then I would send it to Trevor. We’d actually written a couple of songs, me and Trevor, and me and Rick have written a couple.”
Anderson also said that he’s also warming to an Anderson-Wakeman-Rabin tour, though he’d like the setlist to focus on their new songs — rather than simply reiterate past triumphs with Yes.
“If we make music that we really like, and we put it out there, we’ve got a good fan base who wants to see us do new music … I don’t think we’d want to go out just doing old music, I don’t see the point. I’d rather go out there and do some new music. Of course, you’d do old stuff that people want to hear — but you don’t rely on that as your show. You want to take some new music out there and have an adventure.”
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Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman and Trevor Rabin. Click through the headlines for more …
Anderson shares his thoughts on 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.”
RICK WAKEMAN – IN THE NICK OF TIME (2012): If there is a central image of prog rock’s excesses, it is likely the cape-sporting Yes man Rick Wakeman surrounded by a semi-circle of towering keyboards. But strip away at the pomp, the pageantry and, yeah, the cape, and there remains just as much musical brilliance, something you’re reminded of all over again with this never-before-released live date from 2003 with the New English Rock Ensemble. At times, In the Nick of Time has an almost unquenchable propulsion, as Wakeman works in furious bursts of creativity — moving from classically inspired fugues to gnarled rock squalls and back again, with all of these winkling squiggles of color in between.
ONE TRACK MIND: TREVOR RABIN ON ‘OWNER OF A LONELY HEART,’ ‘ANERLEY ROAD,’ ‘CHANGES': Trevor Rabin takes us inside the sessions for his first project with Yes, which produced the band’s first — and, so far, only — No. 1 hit single; talks about the electric feeling of marrying his music to film; and helps us sort out just how many guitars are featured on a memorable track from his new solo release Jacaranda.
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.