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JAN AKKERMAN

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Netherlands


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Jan Akkerman picture
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
Red Bullet 2018
$83.70
$75.08 (used)
PassionPassion
Roadrunner Int'l 2002
$14.98 (used)
Complete GuitaristComplete Guitarist
Charly UK 1999
$38.89
$41.49 (used)
Puccini's CafePuccini's Cafe
Inakustik 1999
$88.98
$6.77 (used)
10.000 Clowns on a Rainy Day10.000 Clowns on a Rainy Day
Superior 2004
$8.99
$6.02 (used)
Pleasure PointPleasure Point
Extra tracks
HUXRE 2011
$7.85 (used)
profile LPprofile LP
SIRE
$2.45 (used)

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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)

2.75 | 22 ratings
Talent For Sale [Aka: Guitar For Sale]
1968
3.76 | 59 ratings
Profile
1972
3.78 | 64 ratings
Tabernakel
1973
3.67 | 49 ratings
Jan Akkerman & Kaz Lux: Eli
1976
3.79 | 65 ratings
Jan Akkerman
1977
3.78 | 23 ratings
Jan Akkerman & Claus Ogerman: Aranjuez
1978
2.02 | 17 ratings
3
1979
1.91 | 14 ratings
Jan Akkerman & Kaz Lux: Transparental
1980
2.58 | 17 ratings
Oil In The Family
1981
3.04 | 16 ratings
Pleasure Point
1982
3.37 | 20 ratings
It Could Happen To You
1982
3.06 | 17 ratings
Can't Stand Noise
1983
2.96 | 15 ratings
From The Basement
1984
2.36 | 13 ratings
Heartware
1987
2.55 | 21 ratings
The Noise Of Art
1990
2.59 | 16 ratings
Puccini's Cafe
1993
3.11 | 19 ratings
Blues Hearts
1994
3.96 | 16 ratings
Focus In Time
1996
2.81 | 7 ratings
Jan Akkerman & Curtis Knight: Blues Root
1998
2.55 | 15 ratings
C. U.
2003
3.22 | 14 ratings
Minor Details
2011
0.00 | 0 ratings
Close Beauty
2019

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

3.93 | 23 ratings
LIVE - Montreux Jazz festival - 1978
1978
5.00 | 2 ratings
Live! The Kiel Concert - The Stuttgart Concert (With Joachim Kühn)
1979
3.95 | 10 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
3.36 | 7 ratings
Live in Concert, The Hague 2007
2008

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

4.00 | 2 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
3.60 | 6 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
 Minor Details by AKKERMAN, JAN album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.22 | 14 ratings

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Minor Details
Jan Akkerman Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars The last solo album by Jan Akkerman as of 2018 captures Jan in a relaxed mood, not willing to experiment but possessing the usual guitar licks and feeling to incorporate various influences into a live-felt performance.

Not much focus is laid on the compositions; playing quality and contemporary feeling are featured. And that is why every listener will be easily drawn into the world of Jan's music.

The title track is a prime example of that - a peaceful instrumental partnership and feeling as relaxed as anything from the after 2000's focus.

The longest track, "Joy" gets going for almost 9 minutes long and while there is not much developed, the groove is steady and offers plenty time for exotic instruments such as trumpet.

Fernando & Minibar harkens back to the jazz-rock period of 77-78. It is a fine laid-back and positive track.

This is a good non-essential album for those that do not expect progressive symphonic rock in the Focus vein. This record grooves and leaves a positive impression by one of the leading 70's prog-rock guitarists.

 Live in Concert, The Hague 2007 by AKKERMAN, JAN album cover DVD/Video, 2008
3.36 | 7 ratings

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Live in Concert, The Hague 2007
Jan Akkerman Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars There are not many official Jan Akkerman's live recordings but this one captures him in a fine and relaxed mood. Present all all periods of his creative life starting from blues tracks, Focus period, solo career with classical and jazz guitar to slow guitar lad-back instrumentals. The sound is good and all players show enough passion to play together. The standout tracks include Slowhand and indeed, all Focus-penned compositions that are not always played in the entire length to let guitar shine. What I miss here is a single track from his high quality jazz-rock eponymous album.

This recording serves as a good live testament of some important tracks in Jan Akkerman's career and document the high-quality playing of a seasoned master being after the zenith of his prolific career.

 LIVE - Montreux Jazz festival - 1978 by AKKERMAN, JAN album cover Live, 1978
3.93 | 23 ratings

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LIVE - Montreux Jazz festival - 1978
Jan Akkerman Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

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.

 Jan Akkerman by AKKERMAN, JAN album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.79 | 65 ratings

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Jan Akkerman
Jan Akkerman Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

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 sometimes ornate, sometimes subtle and less aggressive than in the past but tasty at all times - jazz-rock and even fusion soundscapes have taken the lead here. Fans of progressive rock but also jazz-oriented listeners will find a plenty to discover.

The first track "Crackers" has amazed me with its swinging bass and guitar lines; its rhythm line is very interesting. The second, lenghty track "Angel Watch" is the first real treat for fusion supporters, fluid licks and breath-taking guitar runs are on display. In terms of melody and progression, it is a less interesting track but full of laid-back sunshine. Let's not forget the tasty but short piano solo.

"Pavane" could be the track most reminiscent of Focus on this album as it is less jazzy and more reflective.

Perhaps the biggest soloing highlight is "Streetwalker" -rhythmically fully rooted in the mid 70's funky groove but instrumentally showing jaw-dropping Jan's pyrotechnics. Close your eyes and focus on this guitar...

"Skydancer" features an interesting melody and melancholy - it is more about atmosphere then progression and soloing. If you can, listen to the breathtaking live fusion version on the 1978's Live in Montreux.

"Floatin'" will raise you from your seat, the dazzling fender rhodes solo is incredible and unusual for a progressive rock album. Jan lets his companions shine through on this track. The only acoustic and symphonic track is a well fitting last track to this 4-star album.

 Jan Akkerman & Kaz Lux: Eli by AKKERMAN, JAN album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.67 | 49 ratings

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

Review by sgtpepper

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.

 Tabernakel by AKKERMAN, JAN album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.78 | 64 ratings

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Tabernakel
Jan Akkerman Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars The best solo album by Jan Akkerman as far as I am concerned. He matured in terms of playing and compositions sound not only more accessible but also impressive. The first couple of track are decent renditions of classical acoustic music. Brjtannia starts in a festive and joyous tone, followed by two more solemn and intimate acoustic solo guitar piece. Out of both, I prefer the second more virtuoso track. "House of the king" is an accessible and catchy track reminiscent of Focus. Three more acoustic compositions follow before one "Jave", one of the album higlights that features also harpsichord and glockenspiel. "A fantasy" is a soft acoustic contemplative track.

"Lammy" is the epic flagship of Jan's solo output, starting ambitiously with church organ and choir vocals, switching into a section with drums and an instrument that reminds of sitar. A loosely contructed jam section follows but here, in comparison to the epic track on "Profile", the players do not solo aimlessly but seem to follow a structure. The latter part of the composition has fantastic strings, lute and a baroque feeling. If only for this last track, this album is highly recommended and fours stars at least guaranteed without any doubt. 4.5 stars.

 Jan Akkerman & Kaz Lux: Eli by AKKERMAN, JAN album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.67 | 49 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
3.96 | 16 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
3.78 | 23 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
2.55 | 15 ratings

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C. U.
Jan Akkerman Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover 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

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

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