Jon Anderson's first project following his departure from Yes was to reunite with the equally airy Vangelis for a collaborative effort as Jon and Vangelis. Short Stories actually marks their second collaboration -- the first took place on Vangelis' 1975 album, Heaven and Hell, with the track "So Long Ago, So Clear." The pair returns to that song's successful formula of combining Anderson's otherworldly voice with Vangelis' pithy melodies in a few spots on their debut together, notably for the popular single "I Hear You Now" (which recalls Vangelis' "To the Unknown Man") and the middle section of "Far Away in Bagaad." Otherwise, Short Stories favors amorphous arrangements that feature wisps of melody and little more (a style that has its precedent on Yes' Tormato rather than their own solo work to date). The effect can be, frankly, underwhelming -- "Curious Electric" and "Each and Everyday," for example, seem content to settle for the happy accidents of collaboration rather than fusing their individual sounds into a cohesive whole. Despite a handful of nearly memorable moments, including the playful "Thunder" and the charming "Love Is/One More Time," the pair would have had more success sticking to their established idioms -- after all, China and Olias of Sunhillow were good albums -- rather than trying to meet in some equidistant, ethereal plane. Given the record's paper-thin arrangements, an appreciation for the music of Vangelis and Jon Anderson is no guarantee that Short Stories will please.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Connolly