REVIEW: Jon Anderson – 1000 Hands

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REVIEW: Jon Anderson - 1000 Hands

31 March 2019

Do you know the comic book series Astérix and Obelix? The story is set in Gaul, where Obelix as a baby fell into a cauldron of the Gauls' magic potion, causing him to be the only Gaul who is in a permanent state of superhuman strength. I think something similar must have happened to me as a kid, where I probably have been immersed into a cauldron of progressive rock. I kid you not. I'm a nineties kid, part of Generation Y, I'm not really supposed to listen to seventies prog, but somehow around 2000 instead of listening to Britney Spears, I transitioned into becoming a very enthusiastic YES fan. The album that all made this happen was "Homeworld The Ladder". Ever since, I'm a proghead, and YES still is one of my favourite bands. So, when the news was announced that JON ANDERSON was releasing a new album, named "1000 Hands", one that he wrote about 30 years ago, I couldn't be more excited. JON ANDERSON in the nineties meant that he went through a phase of experimentation, leading into the legendary album "Survival and Other Stories", on which JON ANDERSON added vocals and lyrics to music provided by guests. "1000 Hands" is a result of JON ANDERSON continuing his path of experimentation in his solo career. Starting this project up in the late 90s, and finalising it for everyone to hear in 2019.  A span of 30 years may have passed, does this mean that this album can withstand the sands of time?As the title may reveal, "1000 Hands", includes collaborations with many others. Among others it features contributions from many former YES band members including, notably, the group’s late bassist Chris Squire, as well as longtime guitarist Steve Howe and drummer Alan White, and keyboardist Rick Wakeman and guitarist Trevor Rabin. So what can you expect from "1000 Hands"? It sure is no YES album, but it definitely has that JON ANDERSON stamp on it, that we all have come to love. The album altogether sounds very relaxing, and is very uplifting, it has motives of the first song "Now" throughout the whole album, which is recurring motive. Throughout the album it's clear that JON ANDERSON's voice once again is soaring through the skies, and crystal clear. Are "1000 Hands" too many hands? Are there too many cooks in the kitchen? Most certainly not, the amount of guest musicians on the album is high, but the tracks, even though diverse, fit together like gloves and the sound overall is fantastically balanced out. Gospel, reggae, prog, rock, there are a lot of elements that you might think that wouldn't fit together, that JON ANDERSON masterfully combined. This album therefore might also appeal to a bigger audience, because there is a little bit for everyone in there. The span of 30 years makes this a mixture of interesting influences from different time period, but still having a relevant and modern touch to it, especially when it comes down to production. This is an album you want to put on when you're having a bad day, it will instantly send you positive vibes!  
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Tracklist1. Now2. Activate3. Ramalama4. First Born Leaders5. Now Variations6. Makes Me Happy7. I Found Myself8. Twice in a Lifetime9. WDMCF10. Come UpLineupJon AndersonGuestsSteve Howe / guitarLarry Coryell / guitarTommy Calton / guitarSteve Morse / guitarRick Derringer / guitarPat Travers / guitarBobby Koelble / guitarChristie Lenee / guitarTrevor Rabin / guitarRussel Chalk / ukuleleDon Oriolo / ukuleleMitch Corbin / banjoChick Corea / keyboardsJonathan Cain / keyboardsKeith Heffner / keyboardsRick Wakeman / keyboardsMichael Franklin / keyboards, ukulele, co-arranger, producerJeff Abbott / keyboardsBrian Chatton / keyboardsAntonio Esposito / keyboardsDariusz Grabowski / accordionBrian Snapp / flute, saxCharlie DeChant / flute, saxIan Anderson / fluteEdgar Winter / saxSteve Walters / trumpetBilly Boyd / trumpetBrian Scanlon / trumpetPat Gulotta / tromboneTower of Power / hornsJean Luc Ponty / violinRobby Steinhardt / violinJerry Goodman / violinCharlie Bisharat / violinOlga Kopakova / violinJason Thomas / violinPaul Fluery / celloKrissi Franzen / celloChris Squire / bassTim Franklin / bass, ukuleleStuart Hamm / bassAlan White / drumsBilly Cobham / drumsMatt Brown / drumsCarmine Appice / drumsPat Frost / steel drums, tromboneSteady Joseph / percussionEddie Metz Jr. / percussionNana Academy Youth ChoirZap Mama / backing vocalsBobby Kimball / backing vocalsOrlando Symphony OrchestraMichael Winslow / FxVoices of LindahlMichelle Jones, Brandy Moulden, Krissi Franzen, Kaitlin Higby, Paul Fleruy, T Franklin and Jennie Landau / Violectric