ALTONA - Altona

Altona emerged from the excellent German jazz-rock fusion band Thrice Mice, who made one of my favourite albums of the genre in 1971. Three years later they released their first album under their new name, although the musical direction had changed little. Seven mostly instrumental tracks make up this record, all of them having plenty of guitar and sax, and with the band now expanded to a septet the horn section comes more to the fore. 'Can't Live Without You' opens the album in fine rocking style, and gives a foretaste of what is to follow. The whole album has an up-beat feel to it, with no slower tracks to break the rhythm. Tracks generally last five or six minutes, giving plenty of room for solos by all the band, with some especially fine playing evident on '7/4'. Where there are vocals they are in English, and the singer has a pretty good voice, making the songs easily the equivalent of many UK bands of the period. Originals are still quite easy to come by, but the CD re-issue is the best way to try this excellent album.