Jon Anderson – 1000 Hands: Chapter One

Jon Anderson – 1000 Hands: Chapter One

Musical legend that is Jon Anderson releases a new album which has been thirty years in the making. There will be a lot of debate regarding this album, comments like, ‘well it’s not Yes’, ‘all his solo albums bar two have been poor’, ‘you would be a fool to review it’, etc. Now perhaps some of these points may be valid, but surely the point of a solo album is to stretch yourself and try to create something new outside the constraint of the band setting, and to be forthright about it, Jon has not been a Yes member for a number of years. For me, though the main purpose of listening to music is to like and enjoy it, despite other people’s opinion, all of which are valid I might add. What really matters is how you personally feel about it, so with that in mind I will outline what I feel and you can investigate and make up your own mind if you wish.

If you are expecting a Yes sounding album (Jon’s unique vocals aside), you might be disappointed. What he has presented has a bright and happy feel, with a lot of variety to most of the songs. There is an air of positivity, maybe the hippy dream and ‘new age’ ideals in some of the lyrics may not be to some listeners liking, but if you are able to accept that these are some of the core themes of Jon’s beliefs there is much to enjoy here, just sit back and enjoy the music he has created. The title 1000 Hands reflects the many guest musicians that Jon invited to help him create these songs over the years, there are many notable names in the long list, which incidentally has taken me a longer time to type than the review itself. The PR information was not very forthcoming on who plays on what, so you have to listen and try to identify where these musicians play. There is scant information even after web research (or maybe I am not that good at it!), but there are some moments in the album where it does seem obvious who is playing, although not always. This does not matter, the quality and standard of musicianship is very high, and in a way, this lack of information helps with the listening experience, enabling you to just enjoy the togetherness of the vast array of players.

Most of the eleven tracks here are of shorter length, up to five minutes, with just two clocking in at nine minutes plus, all totalling a satisfying fifty-two minutes. The opening track, Now, is a simple acoustic offering, a beautiful song, leading us into Ramalama, which has a positive and lively feel with eastern touches and some excellent rolling drums which feature nicely. It is also notable that the background vocals appear to be Mongolian throat singers, which provide a wonderful counterpoint to Jon’s vocal styling.

The variety of sounds continues with First Born Leaders, here we are offered a Caribbean feel which is enhanced by the use of steel drums. Come Up has a great jazzy feel to the piano which adds interesting textures, Twice In A Lifetime has some wonderful violin moments. There is a French feel to the music at times, the use of what appears to be a harpsichord changing the style again within the same song.

Overall, there is a nice variety to the songs on offer with an almost pop-like presentation, easy and accessible, but repeated plays demonstrate the depths hidden within these recordings. If you are not expecting songs in the Yes style there is much to enjoy here. I personally enjoyed this album, bright and cheerful with a feel-good factor, and that is one of the main purposes of music, is it not? Open your mind, give it a listen, you may like it.

01. Now (1:16)
02. Ramalama (3:52)
03. First Born Leaders (5:21)
04. Active (9:24)
05. Makes Me Happy (3:54)
06. Now Variations (1:10)
07. I Found Myself (5:08)
08. Twice In A Lifetime (5:27)
09. WDMCF (3:43)
10. 1000 Hands Come Up (9:24)
11. Now And Again (3:38)

Total Time – 52:15

Jon Anderson – Vocals, Composer, Arranger
~ with:
Steve Howe – Guitar
Larry Coryell – Guitar
Tommy Calton – Guitar
Steve Morse – Guitar
Rick Derringer – Guitar
Pat Travers – Guitar
Bobby Koelble – Guitar
Christie Lenee – Guitar
Trevor Rabin – Guitar
Russel Chalk – Ukulele
Don Oriolo – Ukulele
Mitch Corbin – Banjo
Chick Corea – Keyboards
Jonothan Cain – Keyboards
Keith Heffner – Keyboards
Rick Wakeman – Keyboards
Michael Franklin – Keyboards, Ukulene, Co-arranger/Producer
Jeff Abbott – Keyboards
Brian Chatton – Keyboards
Antonio Esposito – Keyboards
Dariusz Grabowski – Accordion
Brian Snapp – Flute. Saxophone
Charlie DeChant – Flute
Ian Anderson – Flute
Edgar Winter – Saxophone
Steve Walters – Trumpet
Billy Boyd – Trumpet
Brian Scanlon – Trumpet
Pat Gulotta – Trombone
Tower of Power – Horns
Jean Luc Ponty – Violin
Robby Steinhardt – Violin
Jerry Goodman – Violin
Charlie Bisharat – Violin
Olga Kopakova – Violin
Jason Thomas – Violin
Paul Fluery – Cello
Krissi Franzen – Cello
Chris Squire – Bass
Tim Franklin – Bass, Ukulene
Stuart Hamm – Bass
Alan White – Drums
Billy Cobham – Drums
Matt Brown – Drums
Carmine Appice – Drums
Pat Frost – Steel Drums, Trombone
Steady Joseph – Percussion
Eddie Metz Jr. – Percussion
Nana Acadeny Youth Choir
Zap Mama – Backing Vocals
Bobby Kimball – Backing Vocals
Orlando Symphony Orchestra
Michael Winslow – Fx
Voices of Lindahl:
Micael Jones, Brandy Moulden, Krissi Franzen, Kaitlin Higby, Paul Fluery, T Franklin, Jamie Landad – all violectric

Record Label: Opio Media
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 21st March 2019

Jon Anderson (1000 Hands) – Website | Facebook