Ahora Mazda


In 1965 jazz musicians Rob van Wageningen (flute, saxophone) and the brothers Peter and Winky Abbink (bass and drums respectively) are playing regurlary with other jazz musicians like Hans Dulfer, Henk van Es and Theo Taldik but also under the name of Free Art Group. In this group they play in the jazz tradition with the intention of free expression, inspired by musicians like Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra and John Coltrane. They also accompany poets during jazz and poetry meetings.

They are joined by Tony Schreuder (bass) in 1968, whilst they call themselves Group 67/68. Tony is a colleague of Rob from the record shop where both work. The arrival of a bass player makes Peter Abbink switch to guitar. During concerts in Felix Meritis they meet Ruud Tegelaar, manager of center Fantasio. He asks them to become the house band in Fantasio. By now their name is changed to Ahora Mazda, which comes from Ahoera Mazda, the god of light from the holy book Zend Avesta. The name is suggested by Tegelaar. Under the influence of Jimi Hendrix, Captain Beefheart and The Mothers Of Invention the music is changed from avant-garde jazz to psychedelic rock. Also the influences of world music play a part in the musical explorations of the new band. Percussion becomes an increasingly important ingredient and Rob also starts to play the kalimba (a thumb piano) and various oriental flutes. Lyrics both recited and sung are more and more interwoven into the musical trip. Not only do the play in Fantasio, but they also participate in the Provadya? tour and play regularly in Paradiso. They also appear at benefit concerts like Musicians for Vietnam. They are also be seen in double acts with bands like Shocking Blue, Groep 1850 and Circus.

Ahora Mazda, 1969

In 1970 there is some interest form the American record label E.S.P., but a deal is never been closed. However they do record an album for Bovema (on the experimental label Catfish, where also the first Solution album was released), with Joop Visser as producer. They don't record the long jam sessions they were known for, but they choose shorter, more arranged songs. The album is recorded in three days and released on May 31, 1970.

During 1971 Tony Schreuder and Winky Abbink are having more and more problems playing and rehearsing the music. At concerts they need the help of substitute musicians, like guitarist Jan Landkroon and Michiel Krijnen. Abbink is 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.

(sources: Oor Popencyclopedie, Nationaal Pop Instituut, Album sleeves, Nederpop)

Ahora Mazda