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Jan Akkerman

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Jan Akkerman Jan Akkerman album cover
3.78 | 69 ratings | 10 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. Crackers (4:19)
2. Angel watch (9:51)
3. Pavane (5:32)
4. Streetwalker (6:59)
5. Skydancer (5:14)
6. Floatin' (5:13)
7. Gate to Europe (3:03)

Total time: 40:13

Bonus track on 2016 remaster:
8. Angel Watch (Single Edit)

Line-up / Musicians

- Jan Akkerman / guitar, composer & arranger

- Joachim Kühn / keyboards
- Cees van der Laarse / bass
- Bruno Castellucci / drums
- Pierre van der Linden / drums (6)
- Nippy Noya / percussion
- Michael Gibbs / string & flutes arrangements
- Roger Webb / strings conductor

Releases information

Artwork: Rens Benerink with Joost Noordhoek (photo)

LP Atlantic ‎- ATLN 50 420 (1977, Netherlands)
LP Music On Vinyl ‎- MOVLP994 (2014, Europe)

CD WEA ‎- 242 360-2 (1995, Europe) Remastered by Hans Brethouwer
CD Esoteric Recordings ‎- WECLEC2525 (2016, Europe) Remaster by Ben Wiseman w/ a bonus track

Thanks to Certif1ed for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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JAN AKKERMAN Jan Akkerman ratings distribution

(69 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(16%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(51%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

JAN AKKERMAN Jan Akkerman reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I have recently been getting back into Prog, and this week, relistening to my considerable Jan Akkerman collection. This eponymous LP is simply blowing me away. I remember when I received it as a radio promo copy in 1977 how much I loved it, especially Side 1 with Crackers, Angel Watch, and Pavane. But now, Side 2-the whole thing is just boggling my mind. The musicianship is extraordinary, even the Michael Gibbs orchestrations add such a lush, collegial atmosphere to Jan's unparalleled virtuosity. Since listening to all of my Focus discs, Eli, Tabernakel, and now this, I am prepared to dethrone John McLaughlin and proclaim Jan Akkerman as my favorite/the best guitarist ever! Akkerman can play! He can do it all: acoustic, lute, sitar, rhythm, jazz, New Age, blues, and, of course, Rock and Roll! And this album is so well recorded! Kudos to Richard DeBois and Jan Schuurman. Were it not for the dated disco-ish rhythms and now-outdated keyboards, this would be a classic for the ages! Still, I can think of no other set of recordings that better displays Akkerman's virtuosity as a guitar player. Great emotion, amazing versatility in his stylistic approaches, literally unbelievable ease and fluidity of fingering and timing (stops, pauses and transitions). The variety of ways he can express himself within the framework of one song is astounding, mind boggling.

Let's start with Side 2:

"Streetwalker" [10/10] has got to be one the ten greatest electric guitar songs ever recorded. Subtle accompaniment (though listen to those drums!) allow Jan to display his rhythm virtuosity before, between and while (!) diving into several extraordinarily diverse lead techniques in his solos. The timing and emotion are extraordinary-even that of the orchestra! What a composition!

The rhythm/strumming work in "Skydancer" [7/10] is mesmerizing, though the song lacks a hook to really bring the listener into the song.

"Floatin'" [6/10] notes a reunion with Pierre van der Linden, friend and drummer extraordinaire from Brainbox and Focus days. (Jazz-Fusion drummer Bruno Castelucci performs batterie on all other songs.) The song only makes one one realize A) how much beyond the Focus era Jan already has traveled, B) just how good Bruno Castelucci is, C) just how Rock and Roll-oriented Pierre is, and D) just how much a better fit Bruno Castelucci is for this period of Jan's career. The opening melody lines are interesting for their StanleyClarke/"piccolo bass" sounds. Nice keyboard work from Joachim Kühn.

The album's last song, "Gate to Europe" [ 6/10] is a minor-keyed work on the acoustic guitar with orchestral accompaniment somewhat prescient of the Claus Ogerman sessions (which are beautiful in their own right, though they display Jan on his electric guitar).

Now to Side 1:

"Crackers" [7/10] is a very catchy disco-sounding song with more subtle, almost background lead guitar work. Good keyboard passages.

"Angel watch" [9/10] is a lushly orchestrated ten minute song in which the drums compete with, yet embellish and accent Jan's extraordinary work in first section (about three minutes). The second disco-fied section allows the bass some ascendancy while Jan's treated guitar spits and stutters just before a section of muffled Wes-Montgomery-like chord playing. The disco heats up as Joachim Kühn sounds Don Pullen-like on an acoustic-yes, acoustic-piano solo-which only gets Jan riled up as he takes over: flaming the jazz artists to cinders with a flashy (though strangely soul-less) foray into speed for speed's sake. Song fades. Wow. What a strange ensemble piece.

Side 1 ends with the gorgeous, etheric (not unlike some of Jean-Luc Ponty's work around this time) "Pavane" [10/10] The swirling keys accompanying Jan's chorus statement are too cool! Treated guitar effects not unfamiliar to the later Focus days, strumming not unlike the amazing Eli work, Jan is all over the fretboard and time-space continuum with this one.

The album rates a 7.86 out of 10 =a solid 4.0, which means: excellent though not essential. But hearing it may be essential for any prog fan.

Review by friso
4 stars That slick type of night-time fusion funk with some added disco elements, how could that ever be appealing to fans of progressive music? Well this record comes highly recommended. Jan Akkerman wrote some of his best pieces here. The chord progressions and harmonization are really good here and the recording quality is outstanding. The added string-arrangements are jaw droppingly good. They also add to feel of listening to symphonic music. Furthermore, this is the type of intelligent record you can play even when your house is packed with friends and family. Jan Akkerman himself plays only his jazz guitar on this record and refrains from using any rock distortion. His playing is still energetic and quite frantic. I should stumble upon this record more often.
Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One of most popular ex-Focus guitarist's Jan Akkerman solo album. Very light and relaxed, this album for long time was a problem for me - I just tried to understand it. Yes, not to feel, because European jazz-fusion, recorded there, isn't too much music, you can feel. Cool, technically competent, with strong classical music roots, it always sounded as "self closed thing" for me.

Then, after many listenings, I just decided, that it is simply not my cup of tea. I like some unusual guitar techniques and sound, but can't name full composition I could like in full. Strong influence of Dutch cool jazz, technically strong ( but never too much experimental), but very emotionless, and some old-fashion orchestration (ok, it sounds old-fashioned now, so for album ,released in 1977, let name it "dated").

It is not easy listening ( but very accessible music, not far from it), it isn't a real jazz-rock ( much more saloon jazz or chamber-influenced music), but still have many rock traces on it. The best name possibly is " chamber jazz in fusion clothes" , but again, it doesn't say too much.

Atmosphere is close to ECM recordings, but differently from many Nordic artists, music there sounds more conservative. And even if I can hear many attractive moments, the album in whole doesn't stick with me.

Possibly, it was played and recorded for different listener. In all cases, very competent music. Just try - may be it is album for you?

Review by lor68
3 stars From 3 to 4 stars (according to the "mood" of the album) I should say - talking about its evaluation- that's the right score, cause the output is a little bit uneven, even though the best guitar style by this former Focus member is often able to emerge...well first of all it stands out alone as a unique "Akkerman's trademark", regarding of the maturity reached here, but it represents also a personal music style of his own!!

In particular the track "Streetwalker" and "Crackers" are the best example, but also the other tunes contain some good features, in spite of the light and too much relaxed mood, in comparison to the strong "fusion" experimentations at the guitar of the period...think of the powerful style concerning some other similar guitarists in the seventies (for example Jeff Beck for instance, or G. Moore in the Colosseum II experience).

Talking about the defects inside, I don't like the Akkerman music approach, being a little bit "cold" and characterized by a few emotions; nevertheless- despite the dated orchestrations- it's an interesting product, with its typical strengths and weaknesses (as within the best Dutch progressive/fusion albums) and something else, according to the artistic direction I've often seen in the works by Gong (note: such a strange and hybrid music-genre, in the middle between the Canterburian style and a kind of Chamber music, according to the early After Crying, but in an easier version).

Anyway this is probably the best album by J. Akkerman and it could be enough to evaluate the present work sometimes as good as the best fusion/Canterburian works outside Holland (especially in the UK) make your personal choice!!

Review by b_olariu
4 stars Jan Akkerman is one of the most apreciate and well known guitarist from old school of prog and jazz fusion. Gained fame with Focus in the early '70's he manage to have aswell in parallel with Focus, a solo career until late 1976 when he departure from the band in their most succesful period. He rlease so far many album , very much apreciated by both jazz fusion lovers and progressive aswell. Selftitled album issued in 1977 is one of my fav from him and one of his best works for sure from solo side. Very crafted album, smooth with brilliant songwritting, shown a mature Akkerman in every way here. Even is kinda light in places is very well performed and quite complicated after repeted lisnings, is for sure a grower, at least in my case. . Crackers or Pavane are good ex of what ment in that period Akkerman in jazz fusion world, similar maybe in places with Solution also from Holland, or in places with Colosseum but less guitar oriented and more fusion then rock. Anyway for me a very solid album, prog arrangements are aswell present and some symphonic elements added, some good keybords interplays makes from this album a winner for sure, great cover art aswell. 4 stars easy.

Latest members reviews

4 stars The eponymous album by Jan Akkerman might have meant that there is a new step in his musical career after leaving Focus and/or a shift in the music. Regardless of any of this assumptions are correct, this output has a special and esteemed position in Jan's catalogue. His guitar playing is someti ... (read more)

Report this review (#2118930) | Posted by sgtpepper | Thursday, January 17, 2019 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This CD is maybe the most representative of Akkerman's guitar playing of the 70'. You know: after have played blues on Talent for Sale, classic guitar on Profile, rennaisance lute music on Tabernakel... Akkerman never had the "chance" of playing his most pure style IMO: jazz-rock. Yes. This album ... (read more)

Report this review (#130260) | Posted by sircosick | Wednesday, July 25, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Along with talented keyboard man Joachim Kuhn, former Focus guitarist Akkerman offered up something new to fusion with this fifth though self-titled album...class. Jan's wide open guitar sound is as crisp and clean as it is soulful and catchy on this realease. He leaves previous solo effort ... (read more)

Report this review (#125948) | Posted by vingaton | Friday, June 15, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After his sudden departure from Focus in 1976 on the eve of a sellout tour Jan Akkerman played as a sideman with a variety of Dutch artists as well as on a couple of albums by jazz tenor saxophonist Tony Scott. In 1977 he recorded his fourth solo album which was simply entitled "Jan Akkerman" ... (read more)

Report this review (#116489) | Posted by Vibrationbaby | Tuesday, March 27, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Jan seems to have an ability to communicate rock music on guitar with an interesting relaxed jazz sound. His early rock origins have diminished and a more contemporary relaxed presentation is dominating."Crackers" displays a winning joyful sound. That is followed by "Angel Watch", a pleasant mi ... (read more)

Report this review (#62669) | Posted by | Sunday, January 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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