Atsushi Yokozeki Project
1993 release from Universal. Re-issued in 2010 from Krescendo Records.
Atsushi Yokozeki – Guitars.
Kelly Hansen. David Glenn Eisley. Ray Gillen. Cherie Currie. Jeff Pilson. Kim Carnes (backing vocals tracks 5 and 7).
Brad Gillis. Jake E. Lee. Graig Goldy.
Guest bass guitarists:
Tim Bogert. Rudy Sarzo. Jeff Pilson. Greg Chaisson. Chuck Wright.
Carmine Appice. Frankie Banali. James Kottak. Bobby Blotzer. Ken Mary.
Artist location: Tokyo, Japan.
3.5 out of 5 stars rating.
Reviewed by David.
- Tears Of Sphinx (instrumental).
- More Than Enough (feat. Kelly Hansen).
- Straight From The Heart (feat. David Glenn Eisley).
- Camel (instrumental, Brad Gillis, guitar).
- All The Way To Heaven (feat. Jeff Pilson).
- Silence, Storm And Sunrise (instrumental).
- A Little Bit More (feat. Cherie Currie).
- Heartbreak (feat. Ray Gillen).
- Mama Again (instumental, Jake E. Lee, guitar).
- Raid (instrumental, Graig Goldy, guitar).
While you may not be familiar with Japanese guitarist Atsushi Yokozeki, you will likely know most, if not everyone else, involved in this record.
Originially released with little fanfare in 1993, this little known gem had a limited release, despite the talented group of artists presented on the album.
Gathering an impressive passle of guest singers and musicians for the ride, Yokozeki gives us five vocal tracks, interspersed amidst the five instrumental tracks, with the likes of Kelly Hansen (ex-Hurricane, Foreigner), David Glenn Eisley (Giuffria, solo), the late, great Ray Gillen (Black Sabbath, Badlands), Cherie Currie (ex-The Runaways) and Jeff Pilson (ex-Dokken, Foreigner) joining him to provide the vocals.
And that is just the singers, the guest musicians are basically a who’s who of melodic rock artists. Take a look at the list of musicians near the top of the page to see the incredible talent included on the record. A truly impressive line-up to be sure.
I will start with the high points of the record, which are the vocal tracks. The first vocal is provided by Kelly Hansen previously of Hurricane but probably most widely known now as the frontman for Foreigner. The song, ‘More Than Enough’, is the strongest of the album in my opinion. An outstanding rocker with a classic AOR feel to it. Hansen sounds superb here and gives us a fine vocal performance for this wonderful song.
The next one up is ‘Straight From The Heart’ featuring the voice of David Glenn Eisley of Giuffria fame. This is another fantastic track and actually has a bit of a Giuffria vibe to it.
Reaching track five brings us to the one and only ballad of the album, ‘All The Way To Heaven’, sung by none other than ex-Dokken and current Foreigner bassist Jeff Pilson. Though most widely known for his bass playing, Pilson is no stranger to singing lead vocals. Having fronted projects such as the great Lynch/Pilson project, War & Peace and the T&N album ‘Slave To The Empire’. He has a great voice and sounds excellent on this beautiful ballad. Kim Carnes provides backup vocals for the song.
The Runaways’ Cherie Currie is the next guest vocalist on the album and gives a wonderful performance on the rocker, ‘A Little Bit More’, and once again we have Carnes on backing vocals.
The late Ray Gillen of Black Sabbath and Badlands fame gives us an incredible vocal, as he always did, on the hard rocking ‘Heartbreak’. The man had an amazing voice and is sorely missed in the rock world, but he left us with many fine albums and performances and this is one of them. A great track with sensational vocals.
Now all that is left is instrumental tracks. I will be honest, this is where the album loses some of it’s luster. I have no problem with instrumental tracks, if they are good. Unfortunately these tracks just bring down what would otherwise be a phenomenal record in this case and are the sole reason for the lower rating.
With the strength of the five songs with vocals I can’t help but wish Atsushi had given us just a couple of more in place of so many instrumental tracks. However, that is not to say that the instrumental tracks are bad. He has a group of guest guitarists with him, all outrageously talented, and they all do a superb job. The instrumentals just get a bit boring after a while to me as they tend to sound rather similar.
That being said, the album is very strong and the vocal tracks alone were worth it for me. If you enjoy the instrumental tracks strewn throughout the record then you may rate this one higher then I did. Regardless of that, the album is a great little undiscovered gem that contains music begging to be introduced to fans of the genre with a guest list of some of the most well known musicians in the business.
While I do wish it were a little better on the instrumental tracks, I still would highly recommend this one just for the vocal tracks. There are some excellent songs here.
‘More Than Enough’.
‘Straight From The Heart’.
‘All The Way To Heaven’.
‘Silence, Storm And Sunrise’.
‘A Little Bit More’.