Friday, April 23, 2021

Focus - Focus (as Jan Akkerman & Thijs Van Leer) (1985)

Focus - Focus (as Jan Akkerman & Thijs Van Leer) (1985)

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Focus - Focus (as Jan Akkerman & Thijs Van Leer)
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Focus formed in mid-1969 by keyboardist, vocalist, and flautist Thijs van Leer, who recruited bass guitarist Martijn Dresden and drummer Hans Cleuver after he met them at sessions for the Jazz and Poetry radio program in Hilversum, Netherlands. The three went on to start a new three-piece band initially known as Thijs van Leer and the Rebaptised, playing a set formed mostly of cover songs by Traffic and original material mostly written by van Leer. In November 1969, during rehearsals at the theatre where van Leer performed as part of Ramses Shaffy's theatre group, they were joined by guitarist Jan Akkerman of the rock band Brainbox after Shaffy invited him to play with the trio. Van Leer later recalled the first try out session: "Jan came in and we jammed for hours, and it was really kicking". They then settled on the name Focus for the new band; Akkerman later said, "Focus is a Latin word that is the same in many languages. It means concentration, which is the meaning of what Focus does". Their first live gig as Focus followed at the Bird's Club in Rembrandtplein, and they soon secured a weekly residency playing two shows a night on two days. Early sets were mainly formed of covers, including "I Shall Be Released" by Bob Dylan, "A Whiter Shade of Pale" by Procol Harum and "Nights in White Satin" by The Moody Blues, mixed with original material, including van Leer's first song written with the group in mind, the instrumental "Focus".

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