This new album was recorded in 2003, a year after Jan Dumée helped Thijs Van Leer launch the latest incarnation of progressive rockers Focus.
Part of the attraction of this CD is that Jan Dumée plays like Jan Akkerman c.1973 when arguably Akkerman was at his zenith. Given that Akkerman doesn't play the same way these days, (and who would expect him to, thirty years on) Dumée plugs a nostalgia gap brilliantly.
The Akkerman influence is immediately apparent on the opening and title track of this album - all violining swells and fluid runs. But other players such as Jeff Beck and Robben Ford come to mind as well as fellow countryman Eef Albers. And, as anyone who has seen the new Focus live will confirm, Dumée is no Akkerman-clone but an inventive player in his own right.
He's ably assisted throughout by some of his South American friends and this is the key to the vibe on this album. It's infectious, cosmopolitan, and quietly funky. A CD to raise the spirits, and while away the late night.
Jazz-rock in texture, the whole production (by Jan himself) is one of maturity and it never slips into the blandness that sometimes characterises this genre.
There must be something in the Rio de Janiero water, because at least two tracks on the album connect with Van Leer's solo opus 'Dona Nobis Pacem' - coincidentally recorded with South American musicians. 'Lilia' and 'For Tanja' could be Focus-outtakes circa 1975, just before Akkerman split.
When Jan really lets rip, as on 'Marockatu' it's pretty damn satisfying in a retro jazz-rock sort of way. Another standout, 'Ventos Solitarios', has more of an acoustic feel.
The good thing for us all is that Jan gets to rock it up in Focus but in the main on this solo offering he successfully expands some of his more mellow, introspective themes.
'Rio On The Rocks' should be sought out by the Focus faithful, but also by anyone who likes well-executed guitar-driven jazz rock.