Alquin is a Dutch progressive rock group whose debut ‘Marks’ (1972) and ‘Mountain Queen’ (1973) are acclaimed albums of the classic progressive scene in Holland. On the debut Alquin sounded as an enthusiastic naïve band with many influences (from Pink Floyd to Soft Machine) with a mild touch and good melodic compositions and effective song-writing.
On their second album Alquin sounds more professional and the sound of the band is more balanced. The band now focuses on long compositions (whereas the debut was made up of a big collection of short pieces). The influences of jazz (perhaps from the Canterbury scene) are widespread, whilst Alquin has the format of a progressive rock group with many different melodic parts in every composition and expressive vocals. The style of the band is bit hard to nail down, but is comes down to combing jazz-rock jams with wind soloists and many melodic parts with some vocals and catchy melodies. To some extend the main themes of the longer tracks are a bit ‘epical’, having that larger-then-music effect. There are two long compositions, The Dance (13.03) and Mountain Queen (15.04) and some shorter tracks.
The use of many different instruments is attractive, adding violin, sax and flute to the normal rock equipment. The organ sounds and piano-playing of Dick Franssen can get very exciting, but during vocals sections he also some great subtle passages. The Les Paul guitar of Ferdinand Bakker is a great element of the music, his melodic style is derived from the age when bands would release instrumental singles. A good example of this is the short ‘Soft-eyed Woman’.
Conclusion. This a strong jazz-rock influenced progressive rock album, recommended to fans of eclectic prog, jazz rock and classic progressive rock in general. (by friso)
“Mountain Queen” is one of the best prog-rock albums of the Netherlands ever recorded !
Ferdinand Bakker (guitar, vocals, violin)
Dick Franssen (keyboards)
Hein Mars (bass)
Ronald Ottenhoff (saxophone, flute)
Job Tarenskeen (saxophone, percussion, vocals)
Paul Weststrate (drums)
01. The Dance (Fransen/Bakker/Tarenskeen) 13.04
02. Soft-Eyed Woman (Bakker/Tarenskeen) 2.39
03. Convicts Of The Air (Bakker/Fransen/Mars/Ottenhoff/Tarenskeen/Weststrate) 3.56
04. Mountain Queen (Bakker/Tarenskeen) 14.49
05. Don And Dewey (Bowman/LaFlamme) 1.28
07. Mr. Barnum Jr.’s Magnificent And Fabulous City (Bakker/Fransen/Mars/Ottenhoff/Tarenskeen/Weststrate) 8.15