Saxlife | Saxlife Plays Yes: Total Sax Retain

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Rock: Progressive Rock Rock: Instrumental Rock Moods: Featuring Saxophone
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Saxlife Plays Yes: Total Sax Retain

by Saxlife

the timeless music of Yes re-interpreted by a quartet of saxophones. thirteen classic progressive rock wonders, including 'clap,' 'heart of the sunrise,' 'to be over,' and 'and you and i.' a joyful re-creation, presented with love from a fan.
Genre: Rock: Progressive Rock
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  Song Share Time Download
1. We Have Heaven
1:29 $0.99
2. Turn of the Century
7:45 $2.99
3. Hovian Fantasy
8:11 $2.99
4. And You and I
6:57 $2.99
5. The Big Medley
11:41 $2.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

Hi, my name is Jamison and I'm a Proton. (Hint: protons are positively-charged particles.) I've been a huge fan of music since I can remember, but no music has ever touched or affected me like the creative monolith that is YES. Whatever the current personnel, this is a band that is the epitome of the phrase 'The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.' (Or maybe that should be, 'The soul is greater than the hum of its parts'?)

This album is the culmination of almost 30 years of being a Yes fan. It has taken me 6 years to put it together. I know Yes' music pretty intimately, and I've tried to stay true to the spirit of the music without major embellishments, while keeping within the form of the classic sax quartet. All of what you hear is scored for 4 saxophones (soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone), except We Have Heaven which is scored for bari and a chorus of altos. Plus drums on a few, and guitars on one.

If you're a Yes fan, I hope you like it. If you aren't, this probably won't convince you. Do yourself a favor: Listen to Talk, Tormato, Magnification, and Close To The Edge (in any order, but all in one setting) and hear some of the most inspiring music of the 20th century. (You might want to include Tales From Topographic Oceans, The Yes Album, and Keys To Ascension II as well...) Heck, go get 'em all. And go see the band live. Hard to believe they're still doing it, 35 years later. Lucky us!

Float your climb!

1. We Have Heaven-a beautiful Jon song from "Fragile" that he multi-tracked, a perfect candidate for saxual re-creation. Brother George put down several drum bits that I didn't remember until it came time to mix.

2. Turn of The Century-the one that started it all, perhaps my all-time favorite Yes song. A tale of love, loss and ultimately hope, I can't even think about this one with out getting goosebumps. That's me on cymbals.

3. Hovian Fantasy-- my second arrangement, a bit more 'interpretive' in several sections than the others. The term 'Hovian' comes from a fan somewhere citing something as being quintessentially Steve Howe-like. Steve Howe is one of my all-time favorite musicians, stunning virtuoso chops combined with a quirky sensibility, FIRE and a truly unique musical voice. Here are some of his melodies that I've strung together. (Note that 'Arada' appeared on his '94 solo release "Not Necessarily Acoustic.") Look for the Monty Python reference.

4. And You And I-another long-time favorite. I chose to embellish the middle thematic section with my own orchestration, and improvised a bit where the guitar comes in-- it's way down in the mix, grab those headphones! Thanks to George for the guitar work (amazing how far three chords can get you!) and that's me on triangle.

5. The Big Medley-This one wrote itself, one night playing 'Yes DJ'. Many favorites here. Special thanks (again!) to George for the awesome drum energy-your exhuberance is obvious! (Note that when we recorded the drums, he had nothing to play to except a lead sheet, the song in his head and my frantic conducting, which he managed to ignore fairly successfully.)



to write a review

float your climb

This is no cheesy string quartet version of Yes...this is great!
The arrangements of these Yes songs are first class. It's wonderful to hear the complex music of Yes taken down to it's essential elements. The sax is such a good instrument for such a project. This is not the new droll fad of taking great rock bands and turning their music into processed cheese by a string quartet looking to make a buck. These arrangements ooze Yes with every note. This is a CD with heart and soul.

*****Pam G.

A Truly Splendid Interpretation Of Yes
Even those who aren't devoted Yes fans will love these tracks. Seldom have I found an artist who captures the sheer joy of a given music as Jamison Smeltz has done with "Total Sax Retain". This CD is a total pleasure to have and listen to.


What a great CD. The idea of Yes played on saxaphone was not one I relished. However, seeing reviews from people I know, I thought I'd have a listen. And I'm glad I did! Such meticulous artistry from Jamison and his brother George! Astounding and outstanding! If you are a Yes fan you need to add this CD to your collection.


It's out of curiosity that I bought this CD, being a long time YES fan. I never thought that the music of YES could be well rendered on sax...Well I was wrong!!! I had goosebumps like I was listening to the original, even a tear or two during Turn Of The Century. The arrangements are, to say the least, surprising, emotional and original, while being true to the music of YES. If you love YES, just buy this CD & you won't regret it!

Marcus R. Hartse

Great for collectors, interesting for non-collectors.
I had my doubts but bought two discs anyway. I began playing it questioningly but finished with a smile on my face. Perhaps an old collector such as myself might glean more from this presentation than a novice but a novice will find a good time at this musical disc performed by an individual who took the big step to show the world where he really stands in the world of Yes fandom. Another facet that is in the jewel of Yesworld.

Alan Terrill

Timeless tunes revealed
Nice little item - a novelty for sure, but it makes me appreciate the tunes that Yes have written, proving that they can exist as good tunes in a completly different context. I'm going to enjoy playing this to someone who hates Yes, and to see their reaction when I reveal these are all Yes tunes, but only after they've listened to it. I'm sure there are plenty who think Tobergraphic Oceans is a tuneless monstrosity, but the brief piece here proves it has a timeless melody. Good stuff!


Meticulous attention to the original music, a great Sax. interpretation.
Before listening to this CD my thoughts were - I don't like sax and - Yes on Sax? So imagine my great surprise when I heard this album and the amazing accuracy to the original works. I will not go into detail about individual tracks but describe a general feel about the CD.
Read the notes and you will see this CD took six years to come together, a meticulous process of replaying again and again and again until Jamison believed he had the music exactly right.
Jamison plays all the sax parts and the devotion and love to Yes, shines through. Before I heard this CD I never thought an accurate interpretation of Yes when the dominant instrument was sax alone, was impossible until I heard 'Saxlife' plays Yes. No vocals featured, so again the sax has to compensate, this particularly a tricky process on the multilayered 'We have heaven'....the result is layer upon layer of sax sound truely a work of genius. If you love 'Yes' you will love this CD..even more so if you also love Sax. Buy this CD you won't be disappointed.


Mellow Jello!
I'm a loooong time Yes fan and I really dig this CD! Excellent work. Two thumbs up. Highly recommended.

very good surprise
This album contains my favourite Yes Song "Turn of the century" It sounds magical here on this CD played on saxophone. The rest is also very good.The artist should continue, there are so many Yes Songsd which could sound well played on saxophone. Merci beaucoup :-)) OP

Brian McCarty

not your typical cover album
These arrangements of Yessongs for saxophone quartet are right on the mark. What an original and captivating concept! Recommended.
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