Looking at the music of Dutch rock band Focus, started in the late sixties by Thijs Van Leer (b /31/03/48) with Jan Akkerman (b 24/12/46). Van Leer still performs and records under the name today (official site here). Akkerman's site here.

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20190511

Focus Family Album Pie Chart


Track by track 129


Archive number: 129
Title: Amok in Kindergarten
Main Album: Focus X
Track number: 4
Genre: Jazz Instrumental
Studio: Fieldwork Studios, Schoten, Belgium (Mixed at B-Spot Studio; mastered at Tube Mastering)
Length: 5' 00"
Composer: Thijs van Leer
Musicians: Thijs van Leer – Hammond organ, piano; Menno Gootjes – Guitars; Bobby Jacobs – Bass; Pierre van der Linden – Drums
Producer: Bobby Jacobs, Geert Scheijgrond
Mastered: Andy Jackson
Mixed: Bram Bol
Label: Eastworld Recordings 
Date of recording/release: November 2012
Alternative version: Two early versions appear on a rare van Leer solo album called Home Concert. The first is a short piano piece and the second long piece features flute and piano.
Notes: First a sombre mood is set by the cymbals and drums with piano, organ and bass (00:00-00:52) before the guitar comes in too with the jazz melody that meanders along until 02:02 when the guitar takes more of a lead. This continues until 03:49 when something more like the earlier theme is taken up. This is a demanding piece on a demanding theme.
A note on the Dunblane School Massacre (from Wikipedia)
The Dunblane school massacre took place at Dunblane Primary School in Scotland, on 13 March 1996, when Thomas Hamilton, who lived five miles from the school, shot 16 children and one teacher dead before killing himself. The massacre occurred in the school gym where 28 children had been gathered for a PE lesson. Several staff were present. He also fired shots into a nearby classroom where the pupils had been instructed tolie on the floor. A total of 32 people sustained gunshot wounds inflicted by Hamilton over a 3 or 4 minute period, 16 of whom were fatally wounded in the gymnasium, which included Gwen Mayor and 15 of her pupils. One other child died later en route to hospital. It remains the deadliest mass shooting in British history.
Following the massacre two new Firearms Acts were passed, outlawing private ownership of most handguns in Great Britain. The gymnasium at the school was demolished on 11 April 1996 and replaced by a memorial garden. Two years after the massacre on 14 March 1998, a memorial garden was opened at Dunblane Cemetery, where Gwen Mayor and twelve of the slain children are buried.
Van Leer's piece is one of several musical reponses to the event.

Track by track 128

Archive number: 128
Title: Victoria
Main Album: Focus X
Track number: 3
Genre: Prog Rock Instrumental
Studio: Fieldwork Studios, Schoten, Belgium (Mixed at B-Spot Studio; mastered at Tube Mastering)
Length: 5' 28"
Composer: Thijs van Leer
Musicians: Thijs van Leer – Hammond organ, piano, flute; Menno Gootjes – Guitars, Vocals; Bobby Jacobs – Bass; Pierre van der Linden – Drums
Producer: Bobby Jacobs, Geert Scheijgrond
Mastered: Andy Jackson
Mixed: Bram Bol
Label: Eastworld Recordings 
Date of recording/release: November 2012
Alternative version: This track was originally recorded in 1970 with a vocal in Dutch penned by Lennaert Herman Nijgh. The lyric tells the story of a man accused of rape who is knifed by the girl's father! An edited version of the instrumental appears on The Focus Family Album
Notes: The track begins with a solo piano intro. At 00:10 the drums break in and then the guitar led band when the chorus comes (00:52-01:16). The chorus features a background vocal repeating the name Victoria. The verse (to 01:55) and chorus (to 02:18) are then repeated. The break down then comes, featuring organ, flute and a little muted flute before returning to the theme just before the three minute mark. A verse and some chorus work follow until 03:56 when a jam comes in with real jazz flute and some guitar. This plays out to the end of the track.

20190510

Track by track 127

Archive number: 127
Title: Focus 10
Main Album: Focus X
Track number: 2
Genre: Jazz Rock Instrumental
Studio: Fieldwork Studios, Schoten, Belgium (Mixed at B-Spot Studio; mastered at Tube Mastering)
Length: 5' 28"
Composer: Thijs van Leer
Musicians: Thijs van Leer – Hammond organ, piano, flute; Menno Gootjes – Guitars, Vocals; Bobby Jacobs – Bass; Pierre van der Linden – Drums
Producer: Bobby Jacobs
Mastered: Andy Jackson
Mixed: Bram Bol
Label: Eastworld Recordings 
Date of recording/release: November 2012
Alternative version: None
Notes: This is the title track and the tenth in the eponymous series. The drums again briefly introduce the guitar led band. The tune is a playful jazzy, even at times a quirky and teasing, one. The tune has something of a French feel to it. Beginning at 00:02 it goes on to 02:28 before the flute joins in. This flute section then goes on until around 03:40 before being chiefly supersededed by the guitar although it does make some brief comebacks. At 05:02 the piece breaks down and first only piano and organ play and then for the final 33 seconds just solo jazz piano to close the track.