Focus – 8.5 (Beyond The Horizon)
The new album by celebrated Dutch progressive rock band Focus contains sessions recorded in 2015 recorded in between South American tours. Although Focus has always been known for its jazz explorations in its earlier recordings, 8.5 seems more jazz focused than other recordings.
The opening track “Focus Zero” showcases various forms of jazz and blues along with rock guitar and Thijs van Leer’s classical influences.
Track 2 is a mix of Latin jazz featuring Spanish-language vocals, with a mixed chorus of male and female jazz vocals. The Latin jazz is intertwined with classic Focus progressive rock guitar, whistling and electric guitar, and even blues rock. It’s a mix that works beautifully.
Track 3, titled “Rock Five”, composed by producer Marvio Ciribelli has plenty of unexpected twists and turns, ranging from classic Focus instrumental ballads, to jazz improvisation, quirky segments and spectacular flute work by Marcelo Martins.
On track 4, “Millenium”, the band combines Latin rhythms with guitar oriented jazz-rock fusion showcasing the talent of Jan Dumée.
“Inalta” (track 5) features Brazilian beats, brass and jazz flute improvisations.
Track 6 is titled Talking Rhythms. It’s a conversation between two drummers, Pierre van der Linden and Marcio Bahia.
The last track, “Surrexit Christus”, mixes jazz, classical and rock and includes three flutes plus a tasty bass solo by Bobby Jacobs.
The lineup includes Thijs van Leer on flutes and keyboards; Pierre van der Linden on drums; Jan Dumée on guitar; Bobby Jacobs on bass.
Guests include Marvio Ciribelli on keyboards and vocals; Marcio Bahia on drums; Arthur Maia on bass; Sergio Chiavazzoli on guitars; Marcio lott on vocals; Mylena Chiribelli on vocals; Thais Motta on vocals; Marcelo Martins on flute; Amaro Junior on drums and percussion; Flavio Santos on percussion; Fabiano Segalote on trombone; Adaberto Miranda on palmas; Rogerio Fernandes on bass; David Ganc on flute; and Mario Seve on flute.
8.5 is a great recording that shows Focus in a different incarnation, more jazz oriented, highlighting the flute and Latin American rhythms.