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Jan Akkerman - Jan Akkerman & Kaz Lux: Eli CD (album) cover


Jan Akkerman

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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4 stars This is such a precious album. Jan Akkerman teams up with Kaz Lux and lays out the music in beautiful chords. Many of the songs are based on a simple loop and drum machine. It is a very atmospheric album and the voice of Kaz Lux gives you the shivers. It reminds me somehow to the progressive period of John Martyn. Saw him recently play in a shabby bar and though musically still so good Jan Akkerman deserves the critical acclaim.
Report this review (#71623)
Posted Saturday, March 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Sort of a concept album here with Akkerman joining up with his old Brainbox buddy vocalist/lyricist Kaz Lux. Lyrically, the album develops around a rather simple man ( Eli) and his old fashioned values while also exploring his fantasies and dreams. Lux`s powerful and emotive vocals convey these sometimes dark themes very effectively, supported by Akkerman`s upbeat guitar which sometimes reaches disco-funk ( yet very textured ) proportions, particularily on Can`t Fake A Good time. We are also treated to instrumental interludes from Akkerman which includes a tribute to Swedish playwright Strindberg and the beautifully layered acoustic piece, Wings of Strings, reminding us of previous compositions such as Love Remembered from the Focus III album as well as Gate To Europe from his self titled solo album. The guest list includes the late Rick van der Linden ( Trace, Ekseption ) who also shares some of the writing credits as well as Pierre van der Linden ( Focus ) as well as featuring members from the top flight line-up from his previous solo album and the addition of a female backing chorus. While not of interest to the traditional prog fan of European bands such as Triumvirat, Eloy or Hoelderlin to mention a few, this album nevertheless sounds very "European" and despite it`s funkiness at times it retains a certain amount of sophistication which is also conveyed through the album sleeve showing a very astute portrait of the two collaborators. If you are able to locate a copy of the original vinyl edition it comes with some interesting art work as well as a lyric sheet. Recommended for Akkerman fans as well as for the adventurous.
Report this review (#72507)
Posted Tuesday, March 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars One of my all-time favorite albums, ELI has stayed on my regular playlist since I purchased it in the 1970s as a "cut out." My chief regret about this album is its length: it's too short. The atmospheric mood set by the majority of this lush, beautiful music is too soon over. "WIngs of Strings," "Eli" and of course the inimitable though VERY often imitated "Naked Actress" ("I once watched a fly die," "Eli, Please," and "Puh-FACshun" have been non sequitur epithets of mine since 1979) are mood masterpieces. Great R&B-like female b/vox, great melodramatic half-spoken lyrics' by Kaz, and, of course, the amazing guitar talent of one of the planet's all-time greatest, here, at his peak powers. Even the low points of this LP/CD are interesting, quirky, oft-times humorous, always out there. A wonderful if brief adventure into a kind of smokey psychedelic backworld. Sit back, relax, and enjoy. Kaz will entertain you, but Jan's effortless virtuosity will move your soul.
Report this review (#187950)
Posted Tuesday, November 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Out of limited number of albums that I have on Jan Akkerman's solo works, this is the album that I like most for a very simple and basic reason: the music is nice even though not that progressive or not that jazz. It's probably there is an addition of vocal with Kaz Lux that makes it an excellent collaboration. Not only that, the music represents what kind of music in the seventies in terms of recording quality as well as how the music was composed. Look at "Guardian Angel" that flows very nicely from start to end giving intense nuances of vintage or classic rock sounds. The instrumental "Tranqualizer" is also a good one to enjoy. I do enjoy how the flow and groove of "Can't Fake a Good Time" move from one piece to another - it's very enjoyable. I can find it also with "Eli" which demonstrates excellent quality of Kaz Lux voice. Of course there are some disco-style music like "There he still goes" but it's OK as a break.

It's hard to believe if you claim yourself as someone who loves vintage rock music for not liking this album. Yes, it's not that progressive or jazzy, but the feels and nuances of the music are really great.

At first I did not realize that this excellent album was backed up with talented musicians like Rick van Der Linden as well as singer Maggie McNeal.

On the basis how the composition was made and how the music flows in the entire album regardless it's progressive or not, I consider this one is an excellent album. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW.

Report this review (#818985)
Posted Wednesday, September 12, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Because You're a Fly, Fly, That's Why"

This is an incredible album. I discovered this album through Jan Akkerman, who is, in my opinion, one of the greatest guitarists. He has a completely unique sound that is full of life. I had no idea who Kaz Lux was before I came across this album, but boy, this guy has one incredible voice which elevates this album from great to masterpiece. Each piece flows beautifully from one to another and feels apart of a cohesive whole.

I'm no expert in music, so bare with me. I really don't know the story behind this album but it comes across as a loose concept album about a man named Eli, and that is about all I got for ya. The album starts off with Lux's excellent vocals on 'Eli' and the music really doesn't kick in until a couple of minutes in, and even when it does, it is quite subtle. 'Guardian Angel' is a bit funky and jazzy, and 'There He still goes' is a bit disco flavored. Then tracks like 'Wings of Strings' and 'Fairytale' are quite ambient for me. Lux delivers his lyrics with such enthusiasm that I often find myself repeating them long after the album has shut off, trying my best to imitate his exact pronunciation of lines such as "Pur-fec-tion" and "Eli, Please." Overall, you won't find any display of technical virtuosity. There are no crazy guitar solos, no tony Bank like synths, no ten minute plus epic to munch on. In fact, this album focuses more on moods, and it is quite quirky. Some of the lyrics Lux sings might come across as rather odd like when he begins to recount a time when he killed a fly. "Yea, I've been watching a fly die. He didn't know why he had to die," yet it completely works. The best way to describe this album is subtle. The music is lush, surprisingly minimalistic (not to be confused with pop) yet never boring.

This is a masterpiece in my eyes. I love it from start to finish and there is something quite profound hidden within its quirks. The standout tracks being 'Eli' and "Naked Actress.' Please, give this a listen.

Report this review (#1591722)
Posted Tuesday, July 26, 2016 | Review Permalink
2 stars A very unusual record in Jan's repertoire. The start of the record seems to come from a bad dream - haunting and dramatic vocal that partly sings partly speaks. The instruments don't save this inferior track, unfortunately. The vocals appear on almost each track and they are an acquired taste. On tracks such as "Guariad Angel" or "Can't fake a good time", the vocals are unnecessary - they disturb more than they enrich.

"Tranquilizer" is an instrumental refreshment and while it doesn not bring much new, the track at least does not have any vocals.

Disco echoes come to surface on "There he goes". "Strindberg" is perhaps the best sung track with mellow keyboard arrangements and also one of the highlights. The remaining tracks are mainly instrumental but not of a high quality as they feel unfinished.

Overall, this album feels like it has not been written and produced with proper care, so 2 stars only.

Report this review (#2118929)
Posted Thursday, January 17, 2019 | Review Permalink

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