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JAN AKKERMAN

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Netherlands


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Jan Akkerman biography
Born 24 December 1946 (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Jan Akkerman first picked up a guitar aged 5. Legend has it that he played accordian aged 3, and was entirely self-taught on the guitar, but in actual fact he took classical guitar lessons, studied at Amsterdam Music Lyceum for 5 years and won a scholarship. His father was a guitarist, and his mother played the accordian.

He took a keen interest in group music-making, joining local bands The Friendship Sextet and The Shaking Hearts. In 1961, aged 15, he recorded his first single with his current band, Johnny & The Cellar Rockers, which also featured Pierre Van der Linden. The Cellar Rockers became the Hunters, and the first hit was scored with a cover of "Mr Tambourine Man", but an even bigger hit came from an original song called "The Russian Spy and I", inspired largely by the Shadows, but with a notable guitar solo from Akkerman.

During the mid 1960s, Akkerman visited England, where he saw the guitarist Julian Bream performing Mediaeval lute music. This was an inspiration that was never to leave Akkerman.

In the late 1960s, he formed BRAINBOX, with his old friend Van der Linden on drums, who negotiated a signing to Parlophone. During a recording session, Akkerman, who was fond of jamming and session playing, hooked up with the embryo Focus, and was ejected from Brainbox as a result. Brainbox's first (and only) album is regarded as a Dutch Prog Rock classic in some circles.

Not to be deterred, he recorded his own material, assisted by his friends from The Hunters; a solo album called "Talents for Sale", and joined FOCUS for recording the backing music to the musical "Hair", and their debut album "In And Out Of Focus".

In 1971, Akkerman's old sparring partner Van der Linden is taken into Focus on drums, and "Moving Waves" is recorded. Despite the international success of this album, Akkerman relentlessly carried on recording his own material with the albums "Profile" and 1974's "Tabernakel", which features Akkerman's playing his newly acquired lute, and carries a Mediaeval flavour.

Following "Moving Waves" and "Focus 3", Akkerman was pronounced best International guitarist by Melody Maker, in a poll that put him above Clapton, Beck and Page.

In 1978, Akkerman's contract with Atlantic was ended due to the ...
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Complete Jan AkkermanComplete Jan Akkerman
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JAN AKKERMAN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

JAN AKKERMAN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.74 | 21 ratings
Talent For Sale [Aka: Guitar For Sale]
1968
3.77 | 55 ratings
Profile
1972
3.78 | 58 ratings
Tabernakel
1973
3.83 | 45 ratings
Jan Akkerman & Kaz Lux: Eli
1976
3.77 | 61 ratings
Jan Akkerman
1977
3.88 | 21 ratings
Jan Akkerman & Claus Ogerman: Aranjuez
1978
2.00 | 14 ratings
3
1979
1.87 | 12 ratings
Jan Akkerman & Kaz Lux: Transparental
1980
2.50 | 13 ratings
Oil In The Family
1981
3.05 | 13 ratings
Pleasure Point
1982
3.38 | 18 ratings
It Could Happen To You
1982
3.06 | 14 ratings
Can't Stand Noise
1983
2.95 | 13 ratings
From The Basement
1984
2.35 | 11 ratings
Heartware
1987
2.52 | 19 ratings
The Noise Of Art
1990
2.59 | 14 ratings
Puccini's Cafe
1993
3.11 | 18 ratings
Blues Hearts
1994
4.00 | 15 ratings
Focus In Time
1996
2.81 | 7 ratings
Jan Akkerman & Curtis Knight: Blues Root
1998
2.54 | 14 ratings
C. U.
2003
3.42 | 12 ratings
Minor Details
2011

JAN AKKERMAN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.93 | 20 ratings
LIVE - Montreux Jazz festival - 1978
1978
4.50 | 2 ratings
Live! The Kiel Concert - The Stuttgart Concert (With Joachim Kühn)
1979
3.94 | 9 ratings
10,000 Clowns On A Rainy Day - LIVE
1996
4.08 | 3 ratings
Live At The Priory
1997
3.18 | 2 ratings
Live at Alexanders
1999

JAN AKKERMAN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.38 | 7 ratings
Live
2003
4.50 | 2 ratings
A Touch Of Class
2005
3.47 | 6 ratings
Live in Concert, The Hague 2007
2008

JAN AKKERMAN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
A Phenomenon
1979
5.00 | 1 ratings
Jan Akkerman & Friends
1980
3.13 | 7 ratings
The Complete Guitarist
1986
3.15 | 4 ratings
A Talent's Profile
1988
3.71 | 5 ratings
Passion
1999

JAN AKKERMAN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.15 | 4 ratings
Guitar For Sale
1973
5.00 | 1 ratings
Prima Donna
1990

JAN AKKERMAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Jan Akkerman & Kaz Lux: Eli by AKKERMAN, JAN album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.83 | 45 ratings

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Jan Akkerman & Kaz Lux: Eli
Jan Akkerman Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BunBun

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.

 Focus In Time by AKKERMAN, JAN album cover Studio Album, 1996
4.00 | 15 ratings

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Focus In Time
Jan Akkerman Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by KenFrankenstein

5 stars If I decided to become a Swiss monk or a hermit living off moss in desolate areas of Wales where the only movement you would observe would be the candidates for the Special Air Service this is the recording I would have with me. It is the closest Jan Akkerman came to Focus before really exploring his blues roots. I actually though that Thijs van Leer was a co writer/keyboard player on this diamond until I read the credits. There is a bit of everything on this. Latino, Bach, disco/funk. This is a piece of Jan Akkerman genius that is so overlooked. It didn't sell well and is long out of print. I have a vinyl copy of it that occupies a very special area of my collection. I think that if you go to Jan Akkerman's Youtube channel you can listen to this beaut in it's entirety.

A lost relic. Infinite stars.

 Jan Akkerman & Claus Ogerman: Aranjuez by AKKERMAN, JAN album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.88 | 21 ratings

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Jan Akkerman & Claus Ogerman: Aranjuez
Jan Akkerman Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Jan Akkerman and Claus Ogerman's 'Aranjuez' (1978) is defenitely among the most beautiful records in my collection. Claus Ogerman arrangemends for orchestra are moody, mysterious and stylish. He can easily switch between peacefull and darker atmospheres or between bombastic and fragile environments.

All pieces are symphonic with a modern classical music feel with loads of interesting harmonies, making this interesting for progressive rock listeners. All tracks have slow, soulful pace. As a listener of Frank Sinatra's all ballad string albums (I warmly recommend 'No Once Cares' and 'Only The Lonely'), I almost feel like this could almost have been a Frank Sinatra record - which is not too far from the truth since Claus Ogerman has also written arrangments for the Voice.

The guitar of Jan Akkerman have never sound more emotional engaging, more sensitive and well performed. His jazz guitar with a slight distortion is recorded beautifully and reminds us of moviesoundtracks of dessert and western movies. Great phrasing and storytelling. I wish this side of Akkerman would have been more prominent in his carrere.

Conclusion. Beautiful, relaxing and soulfull music for when the sun is down. Four stars, warmly recommended.

 C. U. by AKKERMAN, JAN album cover Studio Album, 2003
2.54 | 14 ratings

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C. U.
Jan Akkerman Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

2 stars Jan Akkerman probably needs little in the way of introduction as he has now been in the music business for forty years but will probably always be best remembered for his time with Focus. This isn't a rock album, mixing together soul, dance in a jazz in a fashion that although undoubtedly very clever just isn't the sort of thing that I listen to. I managed to keep my interest going through the opener "See You" but to listen to Jan then play some (admittedly stunning) guitar to a dance beat as he worked his way though The Isley Brothers' "In Between The Sheets" made me want to start flicking through the tracks.

Unfortunately this is an album that people will buy out of interest (it his first album for four years), will play once and then let it gather dust?.

Originally appeared in Feedback #80, Sept 2004

 Profile by AKKERMAN, JAN album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.77 | 55 ratings

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Profile
Jan Akkerman Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by malcra

4 stars As mentioned by other reviews; yes there is a strong hint of Focus all over side 1 and Clear Air, in particular akin to Eruption from Moving Wales. It's not so well laid out, but it is an awesome demonstration of Akkerman's skill with guitar. I've got some later solo vinyl which I bought back in the day but it all goes a bit jazz funk (Pleasure Point, yikes!) but this album captures Akkerman the way I like him and I guess a lot of prog fans do. "Fresh Air" is a loosely collected 19 minute track, but pretty good.

Side 2 and he get's his lute out. A lot of the reviewers I think have just ignored this and focused on side 1; makes sense and you may only play the medieval stuff once. However, you can see where a lot of stuff segued into later Focus material. "Blue Boy" is a clean and technically proficient track (actually reminded me of Transatlantic for some reason?)

It's a good album and my recently acquired vinyl copy only cost me 7 quid; well worth it for 20 minutes of quality prog.

 Live At The Priory by AKKERMAN, JAN album cover Live, 1997
4.08 | 3 ratings

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Live At The Priory
Jan Akkerman Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BORA

4 stars Is there anybody out there?

I couldn't resist but to attend to - yet another album - that's been completely ignored by contributors at PA. This piece was released "only" 16 years ago and not a single soul bothered with commenting on it.? There is a huge void on PA when it comes to evaluation of credible pieces released more than very recently. Prog didn't start only a few years ago.

A former Special Collaborator - knocked off for my strong stance and robust expressions - I rarely write "reviews" anymore, but rather comments only. Primarily to raise awareness, but also to expose weaker works that are not quite worth spending your money on. Akkerman's output represents both of these extremes - and in-between. Now, off to the chase, again.

On a good day, Akkerman is a brilliant artist, also a credible composer Here, at the Priory - ah, is this the former place of gourmet cheeses, mead and fine liquor? - Akkerman performs solo on acoustic-electric guitar in a very pleasing manner. Lyrical pieces punctuated by heavy twanging at times provide a nice balance. There is no slacking off, but soulful delivery of well known tunes (to some) make it an interesting experience. In this context. one will be treated to nods towards Focus bits at times amongst more mediaeval approaches.

For my taste, it works well, representing a nice combination of old and new. Listening to the work, I could have a Sunday afternoon snooze with one ear open and feel very much at ease. Nice work deserving due recognition.

 Live at Alexanders by AKKERMAN, JAN album cover Live, 1999
3.18 | 2 ratings

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Live at Alexanders
Jan Akkerman Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BORA

3 stars So near - yet so far.

At some stage Dutch master Akkerman was likened to John McLaughlin. Well, that may be a bit far fetched, but truth is that Akkerman is a very skilled musician. On a good day he is sensational, at other times he can be quite the opposite. This performance at a small club lies somewhere in-between.

At first listen it was quite a disappointment to me for a number reasons. Primarily, the performance is hurried from beginning to end as if he just wanted to get over and done with. (reminiscent of Zappa's approach on many live performances) If you are familiar with the original tunes, it represents a degree of irritation, a degree of alienating interpretation of some otherwise fine compositions.

Starting off with a pared down skeleton of "Hocus Pocus" that abruptly changes to "Pietons" back and forth - for no good reason. "Pietons" in it's original release is a great, groovy tune where the melody bears a striking resemblance to Miles Davis' "Jean-Pierre".

"Crackers" also suffers from the "treadmill" approach of just grinding it through fast. Fine runs on the guitar, a drum solo, but the essence of the original composition is severely compromised by the speed.

"Mercy, mercy, mercy"? Ah Jan, please have mercy! One of the sexiest, most endearing Jazz tunes written by Joe Zawinul in the 60s when he was in Cannonball Adderley's band. Akkerman recorded it a number of times before. Here it's barely recognizable, an absolute butcher job. The intermittent switches to Reggae rhythms is just inexplicable! Thumbs down - big time.

"Tommy" of Focus fame represents a pleasant interlude for a change.

"Pool House Blues" is an enjoyable Shuffle where the up-tempo beat is more justified.

"Sylvia's Grandmother" - contrary to her age - is another fast moving piece that would have benefited from some sedatives...

"My Pleasure" is an Akkerman signature tune. This 17 mins long delivery allows for some fine "shredding, another mediocre drum solo, a slap bass solo and altogether, one of the better pieces of this record.

Generally, the support musicians play quite well, but nothing is really outstanding. It's hard to tell if they weren't meant to excel, restrained, or just should have rehearsed more? I'd like to assume that they could have done better, but here they are no match to Focus.

My overall impression is that "Live at Alexander's" didn't do much good for Akkerman's reputation and perhaps should have been buried in the vaults.

Musicianship 4, end result 3.

 Jan Akkerman & Kaz Lux: Eli by AKKERMAN, JAN album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.83 | 45 ratings

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Jan Akkerman & Kaz Lux: Eli
Jan Akkerman Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator 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.

 Can't Stand Noise by AKKERMAN, JAN album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.06 | 14 ratings

BUY
Can't Stand Noise
Jan Akkerman Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Through this album Jan Akkerman demonstrates his consistency in terms of musical approach where he chose jazz-rock as a platform and let the improvisation, not necessarily using guitar as main soloist, works on top of that platform. He proves it through the composition he crafted at the opening track "Pietons" where the basic platforms is so obvious in jazz-rock landscape. Well, not all of his albums in the same vein though.

As far as composition, I enjoy the fourth track "Journey (A Real Elegant Gypsy)" which initially presumed would be similar, musically, with Al Di Meola's. One really can sense his guitar style having listened to some of his albums. Other tracks "Back To The Factory" and "Just Because" demonstrate his virtuosities not only in playing his guitar strings but also in composing music under jazz-roxck vein.

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

 It Could Happen To You by AKKERMAN, JAN album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.38 | 18 ratings

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It Could Happen To You
Jan Akkerman Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars For those of you who enjoy jazz-rock fusion combined with vintage or classic rock guitar style, you will definitely love this album by Jan Akkerman. Take the opening track "Old Tennis Shoes" (11:30), you will enjoy the track right from beginning to end of the track. It llays the music on top of slow rhythm section in practically constant style and the guitar solo really something that makes it a good choice for you to stay with this track until the end. Akkerman's guitar style demonstrates excellent manouvres as the music is progressing in slow-paced style that you might refer it like blues music.

In Funkologi (it's a good title isn't it?) you will find the combined ambient music with stunning guitar work and sound effects. The guitar works that starts attacking the music in sort of background work seems like hiding behind the basslines and ambient sound. The intro part does not reflect any typical jazz-rock fusion music. As the music flows into second movement there is an apparent rhythm section that features nice guitar work, solid basslines and soaring keyboard sounds and its effects. It's really enjoyable.

Overall, it's a very good album by Jan Akkerman. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Thanks to Certif1ed for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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