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Jan Akkerman - LIVE - Montreux Jazz festival - 1978 CD (album) cover


Jan Akkerman

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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4 stars Jan Akkermann for me was alone the guitarist of Focus. Then I have uncovered this live and I should say that is large music. Recorded to the "Montreaux Jazz Festival" in 1978 finds the better things in "Transitory/ Skydancer", in "Tommy", in "Pavane, and in "Azimuth". The guitar style of Jan is not ever invading and nevertheless is very technical. The album runs that is a pleasure succeeding also to excite. Certainly we is not opposite to a monster of the guitar. But to large guitarist, capable it to communicate feeling better than very other itself.
Report this review (#57308)
Posted Monday, November 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars As a follow up to his self-titled 1977 album Akkerman recorded 3 tracks from this album plus three others (two previously unreleased) during a gig at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland in 1978 which seemed to exemplify the different, more ecclectic directions he was headed in after his departure from Focus. Strangely enough, though, an excerpt from the Focus epic Eruption off the 1972 Moving Waves album, Tommy, shows up towards the end of the set along with it`s composer Tom Barlage on sax. It has a noticeably cleaner sound played on an arch top guitar which Akkerman seemed to have a fancy for at the time which is featured throughout this performance.

The whole set is fast and paced interspersed only with a gratifying rendition of the melocholic Pavane with the orchestrations replaced nicely with two keyboards. Skydancer with it`s cool guitar runs is given extended treatment is by far the standout. Neppie Noya with his assortment of percussives gives the band a real groove and he even gets to strut his stuff on Azimuth where we hear a percussion duet with Bruno Castelicci. The whole performance is a total group effort and Akkerman hardly dominates while still retaining his technical brilliance with each member adding their own ingredients to this very enjoyable set of smooth and polished soft fusion.

Only two minor complaints about this otherwise exceptional live album is the short running time (a little over 34 minutes) and the omission of Angel Watch a track from the previous year`s " Jan Akkerman " studio album which had many possibilities for a reworked live arrangement. Nevertheless a stellar live performance by guitar maestro Jan Akkerman and band which leaves the listener wanting more. Merveilleux!

Report this review (#116737)
Posted Thursday, March 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars For certain moments my minds elaborates that Jan Akkerman is a great and insuperable guitar master teacher. But in rational reasoning Jan is only the European answer to Carlos Santana. Certainly Jan is more close to Classic Music and Blues and Jazz for Jan is only a form of expression as Rock or Folk.

'Jan Akkerman Live- Montreux Jazz Festival 1978' confirm what I wrote and, in addition, is also one of the more Prog album of my discography. Sure this last sentence is good because in this album Rock is mixed with Blues, Jazz, Classic Music, Folk for a unique final result: a music that is universal. Jan guitar is not invadent, arrangements are not invadents, feelings and emotions are invadents. And this is great.

Probably 'Jan Akkerman Live- Montreux Jazz Festival 1978' is not a great live album. But sure the music is great.

Report this review (#217338)
Posted Friday, May 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Jan Akkerman - Live at Montreux Jazz Festival (1978)

A perfect live album.

This Jan Akkerman record is a real gem! After firs spin I was convinced this by far his best live album. The material comes mainly from his self-titled record (1977), though Tommy (of the Eruption suite) of Focus is added and two new compositions in the spirit of the self-titled Jan Akkerman album. The recording of this live album is perfect, nothing more can be expected, not even today.

For newcomers. Jan Akkerman is ex-guitarist of Dutch prog band Focus. In his solo career he concentrated on jazz-rock/fusion and some historical lute-guitar playing. Though at first (Profile, Tabernakel) Jan akkerman would use his rockin' electric guitars most of the time, in 1977 Jan decided to become the master of the clean jazz-guitar. This resulted in the 1977 self-titled album with clean guitars, a great band and the best of string arrangements. The compositions had a relaxing but slightly magical vibe and some up-tempo moments. Most of the compositions of this record were played on this live album.

Now, the problem Akkerman and band had to face was the fact that on the album these unbelievable string arrangements made a big contribution to the end result, but they weren't able to get such an arrangement for their tour. The problem was successfully solved by adding an inspired percussionist (I love his contribution) and some synths that both helped to establish a more progressive climate, though the main genre would still be fusion. The two minuted atmospheric synth opening track by Jasper Van 't Hoff really gets me warm for the rest of the album!

A nice track from the Focus era, Tommy, is played with precision but the great vocals of Thijs van Leer are a loss. Still the band makes a great symphonic jazz track with that magical feel and the great guitar solo's (this time clean) of Jan Akkerman.

Conclusion. This recording is perfect, the tracks are great, there's a magical progressive climate on this concert, all instruments are played perfect, some problems concerning the arrangements were solved very intelligent and Jan Akkerman plays plain beautiful. There's only one letdown: the album is short. Running for 35 minutes this doesn't live up to the standards of these days. Still this album is highly recommended to basically every-one who can hear the difference between elevator music and great Fusion. A big four star.

* After some more listens I have decided this is a masterpiece. Changed the rating to five stars. A warm recommendation!

Report this review (#277594)
Posted Monday, April 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I agree with the enthusiasm about this album. It's a short one, but filled with high-quality jazz-rock. The album gives the impression as Akkerman is part of a band, instead of playing the leading part. Each member gives an excellent contribution to the songs. After the exciting intro of Transitory, you can hear three great performances of "Jan Akkerman" songs. One little point of criticism is the credits; My cd of Focus - Ship of Memories says Crackers is written by Thijs van Leer. On this, and the "JA"album, Jan gave the credits to himself. (The same thing happens with Soft Focus on Blues Hearts) Tom Barlage wrote Tommy, and with him on the saxophone it was a good idea to play Tommy. The last song, Azimuth, wasn't written by Jan. It was done by a guy called L.M. Bijlsma. What a great song! Azimuth is my favourite on the album.
Report this review (#295322)
Posted Thursday, August 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars As almost any Jan Akkerman's album, this his first ever live solo release is inconsistent. It starts with few great guitar fusion compositions, aerial, with energy and even sharpness in moments.

I am not a big fan of him, but in moments I hear there sound what I like - powerful jazz-rock with melodies, complexity and even some drive. But very soon good beginning changes far not so good second half.

Jan plays safe, strongly influenced by European classic instrumental music without adrenaline. And at the end some pop-rock moments can destroy initial good opinion strongly. Being even a live album, it lacks life and vibes. And obviously has too many housewives-friendly tunes. Yes, I know, almost all Jan's music is like this...

In all - not a bad album, but far from great one.

Report this review (#301109)
Posted Thursday, September 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This record proves that Jan had something to say about jazz-rock and even fusion. More than competent player but also showing empathy for music - showing when to play less but with a great feeling.

The album starts lightly but erupts into a furious fusion jam after 5 minutes of the second track - a complete difference from the studio version. "Pavane" lets listeners breath out and enjoy the jazzy chords slightly reminiscent of Mahavishnu Orchestra or Brand X.

Still, even here, the mesmerizing fingerprinting technique can be heard.

The version of "Crackers" is faster and more lively than on the studio album, the player's symbiosis is mindblowing,listen also to the passionate saxophone and fender rhodes solo.

The only Focus reference "Tommy" might be welcome but is disruptive a bit. The last track "Azimuth" is a pleasant and lighter than the previous pieces.

Overall, this is a great record showcasing Jan's live phenomenal abilities as a versatile guitar player.

Report this review (#2118931)
Posted Thursday, January 17, 2019 | Review Permalink

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