Exposé Online banner

Focus — Focus X
(FWUS043, 2013, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-07-15

Focus X Cover art

Focus today, ten studio albums and 40+ years on from their 1970 debut, is still very much recognizable as the same band, due to the long term guidance and helmsmanship of keyboardist, flautist, and chief composer Thijs van Leer. He doesn’t sing as much anymore (guest singers join for the one main vocal track, and the spoken parts on the jazzy closer “Crossroads”) and absolutely no yodeling, but his writing is stronger than ever. On board is bassist Bobby Jacobs, who has been with the band for a good dozen years, also serving as producer; drummer Pierre van der Linden, who played with the band on their classic albums Moving Waves, Focus 3, and Live at the Rainbow has been back on board since their last album, New Skin. The newest member is hotshot guitarist Menno Gootjes, the latest in a long succession of carefully selected and versatile guitarists to fill the jazz and rock counterpoint to van Leer’s classicism and funkiness in their sound. The album kicks off with “Father Bacchus,” a seemingly obligatory Gootjes penned re-take on the basic “Hocus Pocus” sound, but from there the disc gets a lot more interesting. “Message Magique” written by Ben van der Linden is a positively beautiful and overtly melodic classical piece with an unforgettable melody. Van Leer’s funky flute work and vocalizing come to the fore on the rocker “All Hens on Deck.” “Amok in Kindergarten” is another standout, offering a warm and melodic rock bridge between jazz and classical worlds, with cooperative piano and guitar work that begs for repeat plays. There are many more excellent works herewithin, and this may well be Focus’ finest album since the band reformed in the mid-90s.


Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Focus, Thijs van Leer

Latest news

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Various Artists - Thousand Days of Yesterdays - A Tribute to Captain Beyond – For most of us, Captain Beyond is a sort of footnote in the history of progressive rock, having achieved little apparent success or recognition for the three records they released between 1971 and...  (2001) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues