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Ahora Mazda iTunes Tracks

Ahora Mazda


A corruption of the name for Zoroaster. God of Zoroastrianism, a forerunner of Islam, “ahura” standing for mighty God and “mazda” for wisdom, Amsterdam’s AHORA MAZDA was a progressive/ psychedelic band with some jazz leanings and formed in 1965 when they were known as Free Art Group. Their material was written by Peter Abbink (vocals, guitar, keyboards, piano, Jew’s harp, cup muted trumpet, bells, rattle) who was originally the bass player and Rob van Wageningen (vocals, flute, tenor sax, percussion, slide whistle, kalimba); with Tomy Schreuder (bass, percussion – from Group 67/68 which Free Art Group became) and Peter’s brother Winky Abbink (drums) completing the line- up.
Their rare one and only LP, AHORA MAZDA (1970) {*7} started off song-based on ‘Spacy Tracy’, which ended its 8 minutes with experimental excursions on drums, percussion, piano and fuzz guitar. ‘Timeless Dream’ as the title suggests was a pastoral, reflective piece led by flute and guitar with a prominent bass line. The strong percussive element to their music gave them an ethnicity touching on world music demonstrated on the impressionistic instrumental extemporisation of ‘Dolle Mina In Oranje Vrijstaat’; similar in places to AMON DÜÜL. ‘Fallen Tree’ showed the group in full flow, especially in the extended flute section played very much in the style of IAN ANDERSON. There was also a lot of flute on ‘Power’, before ethereal electric guitar ran float above the energetic drumming. Guest tabla by Rik Lina was added to final track ‘Fantasio’ with Jew’s Harp, strange trumpet noises, whistle, jazzy sax and frenetic percussion conjuring up a weird Aboriginal atmosphere. (Fantasio was the name of the nerve centre of the hippy community where AHORA MAZDA was the house band).
As Free Art Group they soaked up the free jazz of the likes of Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane and SUN RA, and one can hear some of that influence on the LP. They even used sampled sounds from Amsterdam zoo, Tueareg drums and suchlike. The spirit of CAPTAIN BEEFHEART and JIMI HENDRIX was also very much in the group’s thoughts when recording the album. Vocals were not the group’s strongest point (on one of the songs they distorted the voice electronically) and the album was recorded over only 3 days at the end of May 1970; so lacks a bit of “polish” – part of its charm, perhaps – but one has to admire their ambition on this imaginative and varied album. When the CD and LP reissues finally came all the bonus material that could be conjured up consisted of five collective improvisations.
© MC Strong/MCS/PJ/Phil Jackson Apr2018

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