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Abraxis - Abraxis CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.07 | 11 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars A mid-Seventies jazz/fusion band from Belgium, the superb Abraxis boasted musicians from other jazz-rock groups of the decade such as Pazop, Placebo and Waterloo, with keyboardist Charles Loos and bassist Jean-Paul Musette known to some prog fans as being members of Belgian band Cos, performing on their first album `Postaeolian Train Robbery' (but departed before the follow-up `Viva Boma'). Released in 1977, their fully instrumental debut is an enjoyable and impeccably performed mixture of flute dominated jazz, Canterbury inspired fusion, '70s funk and even a pinch of Zeuhl! As much of their music here was dominated by piano and flute, it gives `Abraxis' a frequent Focus-like quality in parts, actually quite classical and grand in a few moments here and there. Canterbury bands like Gilgamesh and the instrumental passages of National Health also come to mind, and definitely parts are still identifiable as Cos, although in a firmer jazz sound without the avant-garde vocal qualities and loopier elements of that band.

Brief opener `Clear Hours' is a more fusion-flavoured version of something that could have come off the first Camel album, a breezy and immensely likable tune with constantly twisting guitars, grumbling bass, peppy electric piano spirals and loopy synth trills all duelling back and forth with quickie little call-and-response soloing runs between each-other. The gently melancholic flute, dramatic piano and overall classical sophistication of the four-part sixteen-minute suite `Valse De La Mort' reminds instantly of the classic Seventies-era Focus albums, whimsical and reflective one moment, stirring with spontaneous improvised manic bursts the next. Humming bass, fiery nimble guitar licks, dreamy shimmering keyboards and rambunctious drumming all have their moments to shine in this exquisite piece.

`Sweetank' opens the second side and is the highlight of the disk, a delirious and splintering jazz-fusion tantrum crammed with funky swallowing Zeuhl-like bass, wiry electric guitar, glistening electric piano, huffing flute and loopy electronic breakdowns over thrashing drum spasms. Sadly it's over in barely 4 minutes, just a teasing fling that leaves you craving more! `Billy the Keith' is a laid-back romantic simmer-down with a slightly syrupy melody (but it's oh-so charming all the same), `Jeronimo' is a cheerful runaway electric piano and cheeky flute-peppered interlude, the almost seven minute `Bolle Winkel' is another lengthier fusion workout where all the musicians get ample soloing moments to shine, and the fleeting closer `Arhumba' is a playful piano/flute powered ditty.

Needless to say, the musicianship is consistently outstanding throughout `Abraxis', with the entire 37 minute LP flying by without a trace of inferior material emerging. A true obscure reissued gem that could not be more welcome, if a Canterbury/jazz-fusion flavoured mix of Focus, Camel and Cos with a pinch of Zeuhl sounds intriguing to you, track it down immediately!

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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