This delightful Dutch band had its roots in 1965, when Rob van Wageningen (flute, saxophone) and Peter (bass) and Winky Abbink (drums) brothers played together in a band called Free Art Group, along with other musicians. This band played music, mostly inspired by classic and avant-garde jazz musicians, namely, Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra and John Coltrane.
In 1968, they were joined by Tony Schreuder in bass, renaming themselves Group 67/68, and Peter Abbink switching to guitar. During concerts in Felix Meritis they met Ruud Tegelaar, manager of center Fantasio, who offered them to become the house band in Fantasio. They also changed their name once again to Ahora Mazda, a corrupt version of the chief deity of Zoroastrianism, Ahura Mazda. (Zarathustra religion is also called "Mazdaizm.) The name was suggested by Tegelaar.
The band was known for their long jam sessions, but they recorded shorter and more arranged songs for their self-titled debut (and only) album. The album was recorded in three days and released on May 31, 1970.
During the next year, Tony Schreuder and Winky Abbink had some problems playing and rehearsing. At concerts they needed the help of substitute musicians, like guitarist Jan Landkroon and Michiel Krijnen. Abbink was replaced by Paul van Wageningen, who played drums in Groep 1850
. Because of these difficulties and the lack of atmosphere that came with the substitutes the band ceased to exist.
Their music is a reflection of the "spacy" music (as implied by the name of the first track in the album) in Netherlands, yet, they owe more to the Kosmische Music scene of Germany than the symphonic approach of their fellow countrymen such as Focus
, and of those which were yet to come, like Kayak
. Though the tracks are relatively short (the longest clocking shortly over 9 minutes), they still retain the "jamming" and "experimental" features, which are landmarks of the kosmische Krautrock sound. The CD reissue adds 5 shorter bonus tracks, which still have the same characteristics.
Highly recommended for psyche/space/krautheads!
Bilek Guler, Istanbul