‘I had lots of material': Jon Davison on the fast-paced sessions for Yes’ Heaven and Earth

Jon Davison found himself bouncing around half the planet, as Yes worked to complete its forthcoming studio effort Heaven and Earth. In fact, sessions continued right up until the group had to leave for its new tour.

Davison, who has been collaborating with Yes since 2012, began with work alongside Chris Squire, the only member to have taken part in all of the prog band’s many incarnations. That was in Phoenix. Next came a stint in Seattle with drummer Alan White. From there, Davison flew to the UK for writing sessions with guitarist Steve Howe and then travelled on to Wales for work with keyboardist Geoff Downes.

In the end, Yes had more material than could fit on the upcoming eight-track album, which Davison says will also have a special-edition bonus track.

“We all did a lot of writing on our own, especially myself,” Davison tells Prog Report. “I had lots of material. When we came together, we would try to combine the ideas, or expand the ideas. For example, Steve might have an idea and I would say: ‘Hey, let’s try this with it.’ We’d start blending things together, and expanding concepts — especially Geoff and I. We had a big prog piece but, unfortunately, we didn’t have time to finish it. So, that’ll probably be on the next album. We’ve got a bunch of extra material, too, that just didn’t make it because we had an insufficient time length for this album and things were just left undone.”

Ultimately, as the deadline grew near, Davison — who caught Yes’ attention while fronting Glass Hammer — split off with Squire to work on the vocal tracks, leaving Howe to focus on the the guitars. Downes and White sent tracks from Wales and Seattle, respectively. Producer Roy Thomas Baker, overseeing a Yes project for the first time since the late-1970s Drama era, will complete the mixing process, Davison says, and send the music for approval while Yes continues a tour that includes full-album performances of Fragile and Close to the Edge, as well as select tracks from Heaven and Earth, due July 8, 2014 via Frontiers Records.

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