Jon Anderson

Deseo

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Jon Anderson's voice immersed in South American music might seem an unlikely match, but the rich and vibrant tones of Deseo provide a strikingly fresh setting for the singer. Augmented by well-known artists from across South and Latin America, the Yes vocalist seems content to recede into the background on many of the tracks, retaining a native flavor with stellar cameos from Maria Conchita Alonso, Boca Livre, Milton Nascimento, and many others. The songs, which generally clock in around three-and-a-half minutes, are warm and upbeat, mixing English, Portuguese, and Spanish vocals with propulsive percussion, acoustic guitars, bass, and synthesizers. The melodies are lovely and atmospheric, uncomplicated but evocative. The best tracks don't necessarily feature Anderson in a starring role: "A-DE-O," "Bridges," "Danca Do Ouro," and "Café" feature the vocalist in a supporting role, but listeners may find themselves too entranced by the beautiful harmonies to notice his absence. While the singer does take center stage on a number of songs with pleasant results -- "This Child," "Floresta," and especially "Bless This" (with Deborah Anderson) -- a few tracks leave Anderson exposed, notably the lightweight "Latino" and the ill-advised posturing of the opening "Amor Real." However, these occasional missteps are easily overlooked in lieu of the disc's innumerable charms. The artist had experimented with world sounds on earlier albums with his Yes mates -- "Teakbois" from Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe and "Angkor Wat" from Union come to mind -- but Deseo marks a genuine willingness to step outside of his own idiom. Thus, the connection between Jon Anderson and the music on Deseo isn't always clear, but the singer wisely shares his sense of discovery with the listener, allowing the music (and not the musician) to shine.

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