Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Album of the Day

An Evening of Yes Music Plus, by Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, & Howe (1993): Ah, a title only a patent lawyer could love.

In the late 1980s, there was a fissure in the Yes camp. On one side was what is now referred to as "Yes West," which consisted of Chris Squire, Alan White, Tony Kaye, and Trevor Rabin. On the other side was a quartet of "classic" Yesmen - the aforementioned Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, and Howe. The ABWH project was planned as a Yes reunion or sorts, but Squire and White were intent on keeping use of the band name for Yes West. Lawyers wrangled, and eventually the Andereson led faction wound up with a name like a law firm and were eventually sued by the other Yes for using the Yes name in concert promotions (as in the title of this album).

Confusing? Yeah, a bit. Worth knowing in order to know what's going on? Depends on your interest in Yes minutiae. The performance preserved here doesn't really do any better on the best cuts from the ABWH album and I don't think the versions of the old Yes tunes here are definitive. The set suffers for the lack of Tony Levin, who filled the bass role in the studio (replaced here by the always capable, but Stickless, Jeff Berlin), as well as some deadly dated digital synth sounds from Wakeman and Bruford.

Worth a listen, but hardly essential. Good back story, though.

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