Jon Anderson, original voice of Yes, celebrates 50 years of “Close to the Edge”

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The legendary singer, joined by members of the Paul Green Rock Academy, will perform the album in its entirety at select shows through August.

Jon Anderson, co-founder and original vocalist of founding prog titans Yes, is set to hit the road this month for a number of dates through early August. Joined by members of the Paul Green Rock Academy, the band will perform Yes’ 1972 album “Close to the Edge” in its entirety, alongside a mix of hits, fan favorites and surprises.

Anderson’s relationship with Paul Green dates back about two decades when the School of Rock founder introduced himself and his students to Anderson backstage at a Yes show in Philadelphia, Anderson said. The free press of the new school by telephone in June.

“He [Green] asked if I would be interested in coming to Philadelphia and working with children. I said, ‘Not really,’” Anderson recalled with a laugh.

But a month later, Anderson received a tape that included Green’s students performing a version of Yes’ “Heart of the Sunrise” which is “one hell of a piece of music to play,” according to the legendary singer. Anderson was impressed.

“It was pretty brilliant, to be honest,” Anderson said. “I called Paul [Green] and said, “Hey, these kids can play!” He said, ‘Yeah, I told you they were good!’ »

Anderson developed a relationship with the students, performing with them while filming “Rock School”, a 2005 documentary chronicling Paul Green’s School of Rock in Philadelphia. The film’s production coincided with that of the popular film “School of Rock” starring Jack Black which was based on Green’s school. Anderson also began working with children in school, teaching students about stage presence, he said.

“You’re a rock guitarist,” Anderson recalled telling the students. “It’s showbiz!”

The students worked hard to learn and rehearse Yes’ “Close to the Edge” in its entirety. The album, which turns 50 this year, is certainly one of Yes’ most celebrated works among fans and critics alike, and successfully weaves intricate instrumental compositions and synthesized soundscapes amid brilliant harmonies. and unforgettable melodies. The disc’s title track, which is around 18 minutes long, is truly an immersive sonic experience.

Anderson recalls “drafting” ideas with guitarist Steve Howe after the release of the 1971 album “Fragile,” which included “Roundabout,” one of Yes’ best-known tracks. The singer worked with Howe to further develop their tracks; stretch a composition to encompass the entire face of a vinyl record. The duo, alongside bassist and Yes co-founder Chris Squire, drummer Bill Bruford and Rick Wakeman on keyboards and synthesizers, engineered, rehearsed and recorded the 18-minute title track piece by piece. Creating the album took about 6 weeks, according to Anderson.

50 years later, “Close to the Edge” has certainly stood the test of time and proven to be highly influential in artistic and progressive music.

“Music is eternal,” Anderson said. “It survives.”

Alongside the album, fans can expect to hear Yes classics and fan favorites, plus some fun surprises including covers and mashups.

In addition to working with the students, the legendary singer also worked on an album of solo material.

“Years ago I made an album called ‘Olias of Sunhillow,'” Anderson said. “I locked myself in the garage for three months and made an album… and went mad, playing all the instruments and everything. That’s what I’ve been doing for two years. »

Additional information on Jon Anderson’s upcoming dates with the Paul Green Rock Academy, including their performances at Paramount in Huntington, NY on July 13 and the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, NJ on July 14, can be found at www.jonanderson.com.

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