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Focus And Friends - Focus 8.5 / Beyond The Horizon album review

Album Review

Bossa nova and 16th century classical? Focus go far out

Given that Focus X came out in 2012, followed by _Golden Oldies_ in 2014, you might be wondering why the Dutch prog veterans named this latest release Focus 8.5. The material here was recorded in 2005 while the band was on tour for Focus 8. Between live dates they went into the studio with producer Marvio Ciribelli and a group of Brazilian musicians and this was the result. At the time Focus was composed of flautist Thijs Van Leer, the sole founding member left in the roster, plus Pierre Van Der Linden on drums, Bobby Jacobs on bass and Jan Dumee on guitar and vocals.

A new palette of latin rock colours for Focus’ prog.

The guest musicians are big players in the worlds of Brazilian jazz and samba, although they’re likely to be unfamiliar names beyond South America. That’s not to say they don’t do sterling work and they bring a new palette of colours to Focus’s prog. Van Leer’s flute is still a key voice in the band and is usually in charge of delivering the melody, but beneath that there’s a bubbling cauldron of different influences.


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