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Azahar Elixir album cover
3.52 | 32 ratings | 5 reviews | 16% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Campos de Azahar (3:59)
2. ?Que malo hay Señor Juez? (4:38)
3. !Es que esto no tiene nombre! (5:50)
4. Mercaderes (4:39)
5. Un hombre cansado (3:44)
6. Cantaros de fuego (3:32)
7. Viaje a Marruecos (11:26) :
- a) Flipados
- b) Que no me vean
- c) Colgados de la rama gorda

Total Time: 37:48

Line-up / Musicians

- Dick Zappala / vocals, Solina, Fx (7)
- Antonio Valls / electric, acoustic & Spanish guitars, mandolin, Fx (7)
- Gusatovo Ros / Roland synth, Mellotron, Fender Rhodes, grand piano, Solina (5)
- Jorge Barral / bass, percussion, acoustic (4) & Spanish (2) guitars

Releases information

Artwork: Florencio Vázquez

LP Movieplay ‎- 17.1235/6 (1977, Spain)

CD Fonomusic ‎- CD-1402 (1997, Spain)
CD Fonomusic ‎- 5046703222 (2003, Europe) Remastered (?)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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AZAHAR Elixir ratings distribution

(32 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(16%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(34%)
Good, but non-essential (44%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

AZAHAR Elixir reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars This Spanish four-piece band made two fine albums, this is their first one. It's released in a beautiful digipack FOC that contains the lyrics, a band picture, a short story and the tracking-list. If you compare AZAHAR's music to TRIANA, MEDINA AZAHARA or MEZQUITA their sound on the nine compositions (between 3 and 6 minutes) is more laidback and more atmospheric, featuring tasteful keyboards (lush Solina string-ensemble waves, warm piano chords, sumptuous synthesizer runs), sensitive, often howling electric guitar, some fine flamenco guitar and strong, typical Spanish vocals (emotional and expressive). The running time is only 37 minutes but here it's quality above quantity. A nice album but their next (and final) eponymous album is their best.
Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars What a peculiar band were Azahar! They created a rough sound, an energetic combination of ethereal keyboard orchestrations and guitar riffs, the bassist made his instrument assume a prominent position, the guitar solos were quite rocky, and the occasional synth solos and harmonies served as an appropriate match, and last but not least, Zappala's passionate singing added some more fire to the band's musical flame during his interventions. and yet, they had no drummer. The fact is that the band were searching for a compatible and interested drummer while they were starting to create and arrange their own repertoire, and somewhere on the road they decided that the band worked well without a drummer. Given the fact that the band's material is heavily influenced by Flamenco and Arabic folklores, which are indeed very rhythmic musical sources, it is odd that Azahar could feel at ease without a drummer/percussionist. But they certainly did, and made it work alright. The lack of a drummer allowed all four musicians (lead vocalist Zappala plays some string synthesizer, too, while bass player Barral is in charge of the percussions) to expand their performances without the constraints of well-marked rhythm patterns: the tempo itself is created and/or kept and/or modified by the interaction between Valls, Zappala, Ros and Barral. Anyways, it is clear that pace is not the most relevant concern for the band - texture and cadence are. Regarding this factor, it is fair to make a special mention for Barral's melodic approach to his bass parts: he manages to participate in the band's overall freedom, while making his instrument function as some sort of basis for all nine tracks. The instrumentals feel quite soaring, as if the sounds were floating in the air while the sun sets on the edge of some Andalusian coast - the opener 'Campos de Azahar' is an eerie exotic gem, and so are the melancholic 'Mercaderes' and the joyful 'Cántaros de Fuego', while '¡Es que Esto No Tiene Nombre!' portrays a more symphonic drive. The latter is one of the finest pieces in the album, complex and full of twists, yet none of these twists feels forced or gratuitous: each and every shift of pace is cleverly placed as a connection between one preceding section and the following one. The sung tracks may be the hardest to take for the listener, since Zappala's style and timber are acquired tastes. It would be reasonable that some might find it annoying, but I personally enjoy his vocal excursions, which are based on an over-exaggeration of Flamenco singing (which is an exaggerated singing style per se): I notice a disposition for humour and a crude, unabashed sense of drama in his singing. Those can be certainly felt in his pro- marijuana claim for '¿Qué Malo Hay, Señor Juez?' and his existentialist concerns for 'Un Hombre Cansado'. His singing becomes a bit more relaxed and focused in the closing three-section suite 'Viaje a Marruecos', which finds the band exploring diverse motifs, harmonies and textures for an 11+ minute time. The exotic element is enhanced here in a most fascinating manner. The culminating climax closes down the album with full passion: Valls seems to have kept his best soloing for this moment, while the keyboard layers expand themselves in order to create an atmosphere of elation. A great ending for a record that would make an excellent addition to any good prog collection.
Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars This is an album that falls under the category of ‘it doesn’t matter how technically awesome your music is if it doesn’t move anyone’. Or at least in my personal opinion that’s the case.

I’m always curious whenever an older, obscure album is reissued (and remastered in this case). Was this a lost masterpiece that finally managed to get its deserved attention? Is the band attracting new attention for some reason, and the back catalog needs to be refreshed? Or is the band itself bankrolling the project? In the case of Azahar, none of these seems to apply as near as I can tell. And yet, here is the CD version of their 1977 album ‘Elixir’.

I’ve read some of the interesting tales of this band in their heyday and their supposed ‘counter-culture’ leanings. Lead singer Dick Zappala was supposedly deported from Spain for using the band to try and promote a legalization of marijuana agenda, only to reenter the country and rejoin the band before they finally broke up. Well, that may be true but I don’t really hear much in the way of radical politics in this music. Then again, I only speak English and the vocals (and liner notes) are all in Spanish, so who knows.

Musically these tunes are all about keyboards: mellotron, Fender Rhodes, piano, and various Roland synths. Oh yeah, and there’s a couple of guitars as well. In the case of Antonio Valls that includes some outstanding electric guitar that sometimes borders on hard rock and sometimes just ever-so- slightly on psych, but is always complex and vibrant (check out “¡Es que Esto no Tiene Nombre!” and the lengthy solo on “Mercaderes” for Valls at his best. He also plays a mandolin somewhere on the album but that’s a bit harder to pick up on (on “Viaje a Marruecos” for sure). And this is Latin music, so there must be acoustic and Spanish guitar – and there are, thanks to Jorge Barral who also plays bass (would like to see how that works out in concert!). Neither figure prominently in most of the music though, except during the middle and end of the three-part “Viaje a Marruecos”.

But all that aside, if you pick up this record be ready to be left awash in keyboards. The opening “Campos de Azahar” is a slow and building instrumental almost completely consisting of mellotron and Rhodes, with a little bass for good measure. “¡Es que Esto no Tiene Nombre!” is more of the same. The rest of the tracks at least include liberal amounts of Valls’ (and sometimes Barral’s) guitars, but primarily this is still a keyboard album. A decent one, but in the end I’m left wondering exactly what inspired someone to spend the time and money to have it remastered and reissued. I’m assuming it must have a market in Spain or this wouldn’t have been done, but for me this is a moderately decent album that you likely won’t be put off by, but isn’t really worth dipping into your savings to pay for either. Three stars and here’s hoping any fans of the band manage to pick up all the copies so the label at least covers their costs. Otherwise they may not be able to bankroll more worthy projects in the future.


Latest members reviews

4 stars First off, let me start by saying that the music on this album is so exciting that you don't really even notice the lack of drums. Azahar is a band that was unknown to me before I ventured into a music store in Spain and just asked for some prog. This is the album the managed to sell me, and b ... (read more)

Report this review (#540525) | Posted by nikow | Sunday, October 2, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A very strong music from this multi country quartet. Folkish music with strong symhonic attitude. Great instrumentalists and extremely creative compositions. A real joy to listen to! I like especially the way the basist plays but also the guitarras and fine use of mellotron. This is not as sop ... (read more)

Report this review (#85919) | Posted by pirkka | Sunday, August 6, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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