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Jan Akkerman - Tabernakel CD (album) cover


Jan Akkerman


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.79 | 67 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars With all the brilliancy present in the "Profile" album, I have to prefer "Tabernakel" as the most accomplished exposition of Jan Akkerman's main interests as an art-rock devotee (performer and creator) during his glorious days back in the 70s. The reason why is that I find this album more cohesive in comparison, with a more fluid management of the acoustic pieces (quite predominant here, indeed), as well as a more powerful development of his epic side. The dominant presence of pieces from the Renaissance and Baroque age justifies the strong presence of lute and Spanish guitar, but this is far from your regular chamber music recording - Akkerman knows how to explore these historical paths without assuming an archeologist's role, instead being a re-creator with his own peculiar trend about other people's heritage. 'Brittania' opens up the album with evocative lute lines, and then soon enough, the rhythm section joins in a very controlled manner; the string ensemble adds some moderate exuberance to the developing affair. Other pieces are played with a solo lute or Spanish guitar, which allows Akkerman to state a sense of delicate intimacy and/or reflective serenity. Personally, I think the best acoustic piece is 'Javeh', an Akkerman-penned number that states an ambience friendly with contemporary chamber: the use of cleverly dissonant progressions, effective empty spaces, plus some occasional orchestral interventions that reinforce the delicate tension between sound and silence through the track's development. This sense of weird beauty is properly filled with an aura of mystery, which probably is related to the allusions in the track's title: this is the conventional name for the most mysterious entity of the Universe. Now, let's pay attention to the few electric pieces in the album. The new version of 'House of the King' features a duality of electric guitar and electric sitar with orchestral augmentations and a slightly more expansive arrangement. Since a few classically oriented pieces preceded it, this 'House of the King' serves as a catalyzer of the majestic drive that had only been present in a delicate manner until then. The other electric piece is 'Lemmy', the suite that closes down the album. It includes cuasi-Wagnerian choral arrangements, organ sustained layers that trace Gothic airs, a jazz-fusion section washed by moderate funky flavors, an extensive climatic passage with an introspective intention and a pompous attitude that eventually leads to a beautiful coda led by a dialogue between lute and harpsichord. This has to be Akkerman's most brilliant compositional effort, and definitely, it fits and immensely dignifies the artistic pretensions of symphonic rock. Akkerman's "Tabernakel" is a must for any serious prog collector: debates may go on about this album being superior or inferior to the usually more celebrated "Profile", but the fact remains that it is a mandatory item in any good prog collection.

(I dedicate this review to my friend Dante Nieri, a real Focus fan).

Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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