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Focus

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Focus is a Dutch progressive rock band founded by classically trained organist/flautist Thijs van Leer in 1969, along with guitarist Jan Akkerman.

They are one of the most well-known and influential rock bands from the Netherlands. They successfully fuse inspired jazz, rock, and blues improvisation, classical musical structures, and accessible pop melodies into a powerful and instantly recognizable sound.

Akkerman’s technical mastery of the guitar and the often unpredictable brilliance of his improvisations were the perfect counterpoint to Van Leer’s extensive knowledge of musical styles and disciplined approach to composition. Van Leer’s tongue-in-cheek musical references include the reworking of motifs from an early Monteverdi opera in the extended piece “Eruption” on the Moving Waves album, the contrapuntal passage in the middle section of “Carnival Fugue” on the Focus 3 album, the Renaissance-era harmonic progressions in “Anonymous II” (also on Focus 3), and the quote from the first chorale of J.S. Bach’s oratorio St. Matthew’s Passion in the track “Father Bach” on “Mother Focus”.

Focus are possibly best known for their “Hocus Pocus”, a top 40 hit from the Moving Waves LP, which included inspired bits of yodeling (believe it) and explosive guitar work.

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