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Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman

The Living Tree

Review by Gary Hill

Going into this album it’s pretty easy to know what you are going to get. Combine the keyboards of Rick Wakeman with the vocals of Jon Anderson and you have the concept. This is pretty, lush and evocative.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Living Tree (Part 1)

Wakeman’s piano leads off here intricately and other layers are added to the mix before Anderson’s voice joins. This is pretty and mellow, and also very tasty. There’s a classical element to it.

Morning Star
Bouncing and symphonic in nature, this rocks more. It has plenty of intricacies and alterations and changes. There are multilayered vocals and cool changes. At times it feels almost like it’s set in a groove.
House Of Freedom
Pretty and delicate, Wakeman’s piano accompanies Anderson’s vocals as the track gradually builds in a pretty manner. It stretches out and works through a number of modes and motifs.
Living Tree (Part 2)
As the title suggests, this is essentially a continuation of the musical themes opened on the first track. It’s a powerful tune.
Anyway And Always
This might be my favorite tune of the whole set. There are a lot of emotion and killer musical themes here. A powerfully dramatic movement comes in around the two and a half minute mark.
23/24/11
The musical elements here are intricate and beautiful, yet the vocals seem more bare and the effect is great. Somehow there’s a beautiful vulnerability to the vocal performance.
Forever
Here is a pretty love song that’s based mostly on just piano and vocals.
Garden
Piano leads out here. It builds gradually and is quite pretty.   Of all the music here, this one seems to stay closer to its origins than any of the other stuff. It’s pretty, but doesn’t grow very far.
Just One Man
Here’s another intricate track that works through a number of changes. Both Wakeman and Anderson put in some killer performances. It’s powerful in play.
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