Title - 'A Life in Yes: The Chris Squire Tribute'
Artist - Various
For those not in the know, Chris Squire was an English musician, singer and songwriter best known as the bassist and a founder member of the progressive rock band Yes.
He was the longest-serving original member, having remained in the band until his death and appearing on every studio album released from 1969 to 2014.
Born in Kingsbury, London, Squire took an early interest in church music and sang in the local church and school choirs. After he took up the bass guitar at age sixteen, his earliest gigs were in 1964 for the Selfs, which later evolved into the Syn.
In 1968, Squire formed Yes with singer Jon Anderson; he would remain the band's sole bassist for the next 47 years. Squire was widely regarded as the dominant bassist among the English progressive rock bands, influencing peers and later generations of bassists with his incisive sound and elaborately contoured, melodic bass lines.
In May 2015, Squire announced a hiatus from Yes after he was diagnosed with acute erythroid leukemia, and subsequently died on 27 June at his home in Phoenix, Arizona.
The just-released A Life in Yes: The Chris Squire Tribute (Purple Pyramid / Cleopatra Records) is a heartfelt and masterful musical salute to the longtime bassist of prog rock.
Produced by Squire's friend and frequent collaborator Billy Sherwood with amazing contributions from Todd Rundgren, Steve Porcaro (Toto), Annie Haslam (Renaissance), John Wesley (Porcupine Tree), Sonja Kistina (Curved Air), Patrick Moraz (Yes/The Moody Blues), Steve Stevens, Dweezil Zappa, and more!
1. Jon Davison & Patrick Moraz - 'On The Silent Wings Of Freedom'
2. Steve Hogarth & Larry Fast - 'Hold Out Your Hand'
3. Annie Haslam - 'Onward'
4. David Sancious & Steve Stevens - 'South Side of the Sky'
5. Sonja Kristina - 'The Fish'
6. Steve Porcaro & Steve Hackett - 'The More We Live - Let Go'
7. Jon Davison & Tony Kaye - 'Parallels'
8. Nikki Squire & Dweezil Zappa - 'Owner of a Lonely Heart'
9. Todd Rundgren, John Wesley & Tony Kaye - 'Roundabout'
10. Candice Night & Brian Auger - 'Don't Kill the Whale'
11. The Prog Collective - 'The Technical Divide' (Bonus Track)
12. Chris Squire - 'Comfortably Numb' (Bonus Track)
This quite stunning tribute album begins with the free flowing 'On The Silent Wings Of Freedom' by Jon Davison & Patrick Moraz and the pace, or quality, never lets up thereafter. A brilliant track from Yes' Tormato album, that's backed by the Squire cut 'Hold Out Your Hand' from Steve Hogarth & Larry Fast.
Next up is a real beauty in the form of 'Onward' with Renaissance's Annie Haslam at the vocal helm and that's backed by both David Sancious & Steve Stevens' version of 'South Side of the Sky' (from Fragile) and what has to be the best cut here, for me, Sonja Kristina on 'The Fish.'
The reason I say that is because with this collection of fine musicians all paying tribute to not only one of rocks greatest musicians, but some very difficult-to-replicate songs (in both instrumentation and vocals), what I am finding is that most of the versions here are note for note; tone for tone recreations of the original songs.
Which is to be somewhat expected, sure, but the one exception is the aforementioned 'The Fish,' which Sonja and company has, thankfully, taken some liberties with.
Moving on and next up is the soaring Steve Porcaro & Steve Hackett rendition of 'The More We Live - Let Go' (which must also qualify as the most philosophically Buddhist Yes song to date), Jon Davison & Tony Kaye on 'Parallels,' and then a brisk, flirtatious run at 'Owner of a Lonely Heart' from both Nikki Squire & Dweezil Zappa.
Todd Rundgren, John Wesley & Tony Kaye then bring forth a very dedicated musical grouping of 'Roundabout,' whilst Candice Night & Brian Auger bring the melodies back for another cut from Tormato, 'Don't Kill the Whale.' The album then rounds out with two Bonus Tracks: The Prog Collective super group on 'The Technical Divide' and then Chris Squire himself comes to the fore on a track he covered for a Pink Floyd tribute album (Back Against The Wall), 'Comfortably Numb.'
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