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Jon Anderson: Change We Must

Album Review

The Yes man’s triumphant orchestral release from 1994.

One of the more openly spiritual men this side of the monastery walls, Jon Anderson went on a retreat of silence in Kawaii under the tutelage of spiritual teacher Nana Veary. She wrote the book from which the singer’s seventh solo work takes its name, and 20 years on this buffed-up, remastered version shows it for the inspired, enlightening and utterly uplifting work that it is.

Anderson always approached Yes as a grand orchestra, and here the London Chamber Academy, under the estimable Christopher Warren-Green, helps him realise some first-rate string arrangements. With its insistent, driving pedal bass notes State Of Independence is ideal for the setting. The Kiss, Candle Song and the title track were also originally recorded with Vangelis, and really work in the acoustic milieu. 

Yes’s own Hearts gets a whole new lease of life, and his adaptation of John Adams’ 20th century modernist piece Shaker Loops proves his genuine commitment to the form. Run On, Jon may be a little too Downton Abbey-bland for comfort, but the overall quality control and production (Abbey Road via Watford Town Hall) are high end. 

As this bloody wonderful hippie says in the interview clip here, it’s about mankind progressing, rising above war and famine, and if we all tuned in to the music of the earth we’d understand. This is a good place to start.

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