Akkerman, Jan

Band members               Related acts

- Jan Akkerman -- guitar, lute, synthesizers, bass


  supporting musicians:

- Carmen Appice -- drums (1974)

- Tim Bogart -- bass (1974)

- Jim Campagnola -- sax (1981)

- Brune Castelucci -- drums (1977)

- Eddie Conard -- percussion

- Japp van Eyck -- bass (1972)

- George Flynn - harpsichord, keyboards (1974)

- Joachm Kuhn -- keyboards (1977)

- Cees van der Laarse -- bass (1977)

- Pierre van der Linden -- drums (1972, 77)

- Ray Lucas -- drums (1974)

- Ferry Matt -- keyboards (1972)

- Nippie Noya -- percussion (1977)

- Bert Ruiter -- bass (1972)

- Frans Smit -- drums (1972)

- Ab Tamboer -- vibes, marimbas, drums

- Daniel Waitzman -- flutes (1974)


Jan Akkerman and Kaz Lux

Peter Banks and Jan Akkerman

- Brainbox

- Focus






Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Profile

Company: Sire

Catalog: SAS 7407

Year: 1972

Country/State: Holland

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: --

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5627

Price: $20.00


With Focus making international commercial inroads with their single 'Hocus Pocus' it was only natural that the individual and members would benefit from the public's interest in the group.  Lead guitarist Jan Akkerman was one of those who benefited from the publicity via the release of 1972's "Profile".   Ironically, feeling the set wasn't representative of his current interests, Akkerman did not want the collection released.


In terms of chronology, most of the material for the album dated back to 1969 when Akkerman was still a member of Brainbox.  Produced by Tom Griek and backed by an all-tar cast of Dutch musicians including future Focus members Pierre van der Linden and Bert Ruiter, the instrumental collection almost seemed like an attempt to highlight Akkerman's instrumental prowess to outfits looking for a new lead guitarist.  The side long improvisational 'Fresh Air' found Akkerman displaying his versatility and guitar prowess over a twenty minute composition that included stabs at everything from straight ahead rock ('Must be My Land') to blues (the atmospheric 'Fresh Air - Blues Notes for Listening'), and jazz-rock fusion moves ('The Fight').  Technically it was a stunning performance showcasing Akkerman's diversity, though it probably didn't have a great deal of appeal to folks just looking for a memorable song.  Side two went in a totally different direction featuring shorter, more focused numbers.  Several tracks spotlighted Akkerman's interest in medieval and baoque-era music. Underscoring that interest 'Kemps Jig', 'Etude', and 'Minstrel / Farmers Dance' all featured Akkerman on lute (something he'd explore even further with his next LP) while 'Andante Sostenuto' showcased a beautiful performance on Spanish guitar.  Again, it probably had limited appeal to your average rock fan, but was definitely different and worth a listen.  Somewhat at odds with the rest of the material on side two, 'Stick' was a pedestrian blues-rocker.   'Blue Boy' offered up a nice slice of pop-rock showing Akkerman had been listening to at least some Stax, while 'Maybe Just a Dream' was a beautiful mid tempo ballad.  With a vocal either of the latter two selections would have made for a dandy single.  Not a great album, but still better than most debuts and guitar hounds should treasure it.  


"Profile" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Fresh Air (instrumental)   (Jan Akkerman) - 19:50

     a.) Must be My Land

     b.) Wrestling To Get Out

     c.) Back Again

     d.) The Fight

     e.) Fresh Air - Blues Notes for Listening

     f.) Water and Skies are Telling Me

     g.) Happy Gabriel?


(side 2)
Kemps Jig (instrumental)   (anonymous) - 1:28

2.) Etude (instrumental)   (Carcassi) - 1:30

3.) Blue Boy (instrumental)   (Jan Akkerman) - 2:24

4.) Andante Sostenuto (instrumental)   (Diabelli) - 4:05

5.) Maybe Just a Dream (instrumental)   (Jan Akkerman) - 2:33

6.) Minstrel / Farmers Dance (instrumental)   (Jan Akkerman) - 2:45

7.) Stick (instrumental)   (Jan Akkerman) - 3:30


Genre: folk

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Tabernakel

Company: ATCO

Catalog: SD-7032

Year: 1974

Country/State: Holland

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5525

Price: $10.00


With Focus at their commercial zenith,1974 saw guitarist Jan Akkerman given an opportunity to release what was technically his third solo LP -  the Geoffrey Haslam produced "Tabernakel".  Long fascinated by the medieval lute Akkerman had previously purchased one of the instruments (he outbid the Museum of Copenhagen to purchase an instrument made by East German craftsman Amon Meinel) and after spending considerable time and energy locating tutorial material and ancient scores, began teaching himself how to play it.  Some of his initial efforts showed themselves on the "Focus III" LP.  Satisfied with his skills on the instrument, in 1974 Akkerman went into a New York studio with a collection of all star musicians including drummer Carmen Appice and bassist player Tim Bogart, spending two weeks recording this LP.  In spite of the rock musician lineup, anyone expecting to hear a collection of Focus-styled progressive moves was probably shocked by this LP.  Working with Columbia University-based professor/harpsichord player George Flynn, Akkerman all but abandoned his rock and progressive roots in favor of an instrumental set heavy on 15th century covers, including works by John Dowland, Anthonie Holbourne, and Francis Pilkington.  Even the handful of Akkerman originals ('Javeh' and 'House of the King' - the latter was previously recorded by Focus) were inspired by Tudor stylings, though the latter boasted an all electric arrangement, including Akkerman's lone electric guitar solo.  That selection also served as one of the standout performance offering up a strange but effective meld of 15th style and 20th century technology.  Showcasing a multi-section suite, side two's 'Lammy' was more of a hit-or-,iss endeavor for my ears, though the sitar solo was pretty darn cool.  So by now you've probably figured out this set isn't going to be for everyone.  I was certainly skeptical the first couple of times I played the set.  That said, this was one of those magical sets that I've put on a CDR in my Sony CD jukebox.  Everyone has some 'soundtrack' they rely on to relax and Tabernakle' frequently serves as my choice.  It may not be rock and roll, but it sure is pretty and makes for one of those fantastic rainy Sunday morning LPs ...


The LP was simply to eclectic for American audience, but in Holland Atlantic actually tapped the LP for a single:



- 1973's 'House of the King' b/w 'Javeh' (Atlantic catalog number ATL10427)


"Tabernakel" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Britannia By John Dowland (instrumental) (arranged by Jan Akkerman and George Flynn) - 3:55

2.) Coranto for Mrs. Murcott By Francis Pilkington (instrumental) (arranged by Jan Akkerman) - 1:26

3.) The Earl of Derby His Gilliard By John Dowland (instrumental) (arranged by Jan Akkerman) - 1:36

4.) House of the King (instrumental)   (Jan Akkerman) - 2:23

5.) A Galliard By Anthonie Holbourne (instrumental)   (arranged by Jan Akkerman) - 2:10

6.) A Galliard By John Dowland (instrumental)   (arranged by Jan Akkerman) - 1:31

7.) A Pavan By Thomas Morley (instrumental)   (arranged by Jan Akkerman) - 3:05

8.) Javeh (instrumental)   (Jan Akkerman) - 3:22


(side 2)
1.) A Fantasy By Laurencini of Rome (instrumental)   (arranged by Jan Akkerman) - 3:17

2.) Lammy (instrumental) 

    i.) I Am   (Jan Akkerman - George Flynn) - 

    ii.) Asleep, Half Asleep, Awake   (Jan Akkerman) - 

    iii.) She Is  (Jan Akkerman - George Flynn) - 

    iv.) Lammy

    v.) We Are  (Jan Akkerman - George Flynn) - 

    vi.) The Last Will and Testament   (Anthonie Holbourne)

    vii.) Amen  (Jan Akkerman - George Flynn) - 




Genre: progressive

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Jan Akkerman

Company: Atlantic

Catalog: SD-19159

Year: 1977

Country/State: Holland

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: minor ring wear; no sticker on cover 

Available: 2

GEMM catalog ID: 4546

Price: $5.00

Cost: $66.00


Recorded at the same time and with the same band as his collaboration with former Brainbox singer Kaz Lux ("Eli"), 1977's cleverly-titled "Jan Akkerman" opted for a much different sound.  Produced by Richard DeBois, Akkerman abandoned his rock stance in favor of a mix of MOR funk ('Crackers') and heavily orchestrated fusion-oriented tracks (the seemingly endless 'Angel Watch').  To be honest, the funk and fusion-oriented material simply didn't do much for me though I'm sure that there are legions of Akkerman fans out there who adore this type of stuff.  Not only that, but with a few exceptions (he spun off a couple of nice runs on 'Streetwalker'), Akkerman's instantly recognizable brittle guitar stylings were largely absent from the mix.  That left the spotlight seemingly on keyboard player Joachm Kuhn.  Kuhn was certainly capable, but then you didn't shell out your hard earned cash to hear him.  To my ears the overall impression was one of disappointment, though the LP sported one of the most fascinatingly grotesque cover photos in my collection.  There's just something about it that gives me the heebie jeebies every time I look at it.  Atlantic also tapped the LP for a single:



- 'Crackers' b/w 'Crackers' (Atlantic catalog number 3478)

"Jan Akkerman" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Crackers (instrumental)   (Jan Akkerman) - 3:50

2.) Angel Watch (instrumental)   (Jan Akkerman) - 10:05

3.) Pavane (instrumental)   (Jan Akkerman) - 5:30


(side 2)
1.) Streetwalker (instrumental)   (Jan Akkerman) - 6;55

2.) Skydancer (instrumental)   (Jan Akkerman) - 5:05

3.) Floatin' (instrumental)   (Jan Akkerman) - 5:10

4.) Gate To Europe (instrumental)   (Jan Akkerman) - 3:00




Genre: progressive

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Jan Akkerman Live

Company: Atlantic

Catalog: SD-19193

Year: 1978

Country/State: Holland

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: cut out; minor ring wear

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5454

Price: $10.00


Recorded before an appreciative crowd at the 1978 Montreaux Jazz Festival, "Jan Akkerman Live" found the guitarist fronting a six piece band. Working his way through six instrumentals, material such as "Skydancer" and "Pavane" found Akkerman displaying his usual sense of taste and refinement. Benefitting from a fuller rock sound, the performances were tight and professional; Akkerman's leads on "Skydancing" and "Tommy" underscoring his instantly recognizable sound. Less impressive, exemplified by Bruno Casterlucci and Neppie Noya needless percussion solos on "Crackers", several of the extended instrumentals meandered into needless group jams. Elsewhere, "Tommy" and the previously mentioned "Crackers" bordered on pedestrian jazz-rock. Still, the overall result provided a pleasant overview of Akkerman's catalog.

"Jan Akkerman Live" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Transitory   (Jasper van T'Hof)
2.) Skydancer   (Jan Akkerman)
3.) Pavane   (Jan Akkerman)


(side 2)
1.) Crackers   (Jan Akkerman)
2.) Tommy   (Tom Barlage)
3.) Azimuth   (L.M. Bijlsma)


Genre: progressive

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Oil In the Family

Company: CNR 

Catalog: 0060 40

Year: 1981

Country/State: Holland

Grade (cover/record): NM / NM

Comments: still in shrink wrap; Dutch pressing

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5453

Price: $10.00




"Oil In the Family" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Oil in the Family   (A Rabb - Jan Akkerman) - 6:22
2.) Formula N-One   (A Rabb - Jan Akkerman) -9:40

(side 2)
.) Disc-O-Asis   (A Rabb - Jan Akkerman) - 7:05

2.) No Doubt About It   (A Rabb - Jan Akkerman) - 5:45
3.) Family Reprise   (A Rabb - Jan Akkerman) - 1:03
4.) Blue in the Shadow   (A Rabb - Jan Akkerman) - 3:52


CNR also released a single from the LP: 'Oil In the Family' b/w 'Crude' (CNR catalog number 141795) 



Akkerman has a nice website at:



This album was made for a bet in 48 hours and is full of Jan's humour ( Disc-O-Asis and writing credits to A. Rab ). It has a Middle Eastern flavour and features aggressive guitar playing over a disco beat (Jan was into bass and drum music before anyone else!!). According to Dave Randall at Akkernet this album is big in Turkey.

It is coming out on CD with some extra re-mixes which were put as 12" disco singles in the late 70's.

Timothy Baugh