Get this crazy baby off my head!


Jan Akkerman

Jan Akkerman - Minor Details - 2011 - Digimode

A new Jan Akkerman album is always a revelation, not least because he is not the most prolific of players in terms of album releases. Minor Details is the follow-up to 2003's 'C.U.' (yes, it is that long ago) and has been produced 'virtually' via the Internet together with his regular band mates and germinated whilst on tour in Brazil last year. The production doesn't suffer at all for this. In terms of Akkerman's hallowed guitar-ing, the Focus days do seem as distant a memory as Thijs van Leer with hair and this 70 minute plus offering continues the jazz fusion vibe of his late 1980s albums and indeed that of its immediate predecessor. Guitarophiles may debate the man's current 'tone' and technique, even the familiar motifs, but there is no denying he has never lost his way with a melody or an intriguing song title. In places there is a definite Steely Dan thing going on (notably 'Dinner Time') and a Santana-esque 'Searching For Angela'. 'Joy' - with Akkerman deploying wah - features one of two guest appearances from Dutch jazz trumpeter Eric Vloeimans in a Miles Davis-fuelled funk romp. But only on 'Mena Muria' is there anything approaching a Focus vibe (as in 'Focus I' and Focus II'). It's just a pity that, again, Akkerman has failed to interrogate his hard drive and offer up some arguably superior fusion work that he brought to the UK back in 2000. There may be a lack of killer melodies on this album aka 'Cotton Bay' on 'C.U.' (although the broody 'Kharmah Chantalah' comes close) but overall it smacks of a good groove and well suited to warm weather and late nights. In that context there is nothing really of revelation here, just plenty of examples of Akkerman's good taste and his cohorts' fine musicianship. It will mostly appeal to his loyal fanbase. Job done. **** Review by & © David Randall © http://www.getreadytorock.com/reviews2011/jan_akkerman3.htm

With this album Jan Akkerman opted to do without a producer, instead doing it himself. It clearly shows; resulting in a mishmash of music and some very poor sound mixing. This is particularly the case with the first half of the album. The rest of the album does somewhat settle down to a more cruisy mellow jazzy style. © http://www.recordheaven.net/index.cfm?x=browseArtist&ID=9685&iID=108801&sc=&ob=tl&so=ASC

Jan Akkerman is one of the most innovative and influential guitarists of modern times. He was once selected as the world's greatest guitarist by the influential British rock publication, Melody Maker. Often, these accolades are unmerited and artificial, and do not always reflect true ability, but in Jan Akkerman's case, the title was richly deserved. Jan has proved his greatness with bands like the Hunters, Brainbox and the great Focus. Most of his solo works are marvellous works of originality, incredible guitar technique, and cover ever musical genre. He is one of the very few guitarists who can play any style of music equally well, anything from rock and blues to Spanish and classical. As stated before on this blog, the terms, world's greatest guitarist, best guitarist of all time, etc, etc, are "bandied" around a lot. However if we take some of the definitions of great, like "of outstanding significance or importance", "superior in quality or character", "powerful; influential", or "remarkable or out of the ordinary in degree or magnitude or effect", then Jan Akkerman is truly a great guitarist, as all the aforementioned definitions apply to Jan's playing. "I just don't live a very regular life. That's true. For instance, I don't even wear a watch. But I'm very much disciplined as far as playing the guitar is concerned". "Disciplined" is just one of many words that could be applied to Jan Akkermans playing ! "Minor Details" has received mixed reviews, some calling it "run-of-the-mill" smooth jazz", and "uninspiring". "Minor Details" is not as "exploratory" as many of his other releases. Jan did not unleash his full awesome guitar prowess on the album, so naturally comparisons will be made with other albums where Jan used more complex guitar techniques. A more subdued Akkerman album, without doubt, but nevertheless, as guitar playing and musicianship goes,"Minor Details" is HR by A.O.O.F.C. Listen to his "Tabernakel" album and of course Focus' classic "Live At The Rainbow" album, and search this blog for other Jan Akkerman related releases


1 Free Wheeling
2 Big Sir
3 Dinner Time
4 Love Train
5 Blind Baby
6 Minor Details
7 Joy
8 Fernando's Minibar (Plat met 't ouwe wijf)
9 Kharmah Chantalah
10 Searching For Angela
11 As Long As You're Near
12 San Frisky
13 The Arrogant Frogs
14 Mena Muria

All tracks composed by Jan Akkerman


Jan Akkerman - guitars
Wilbrand Meischke - bass
Coen Molenaar - keyboards
Marijn van den Berg - drums
Eric Vloeimans - trumpet on “Joy” and “The Arrogant Frogs”


A musician of nearly legendary prowess, Jan Akkerman for a time eclipsed Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck among reader polls in England as the top guitarist in the world. Akkerman was born in Amsterdam, Holland, and showed his musical inclinations early, taking up the guitar while still in grade school. His taste and interests were extraordinarily wide-ranging, from pop/rock to classical, with room for blues, Latin, and other influences. He joined his first band, Johnny & His Cellar Rockers, in 1958, at age 11, which included his boyhood friend Pierre van der Linden on drums. Later on, the two were members of the Hunters, an instrumental group whose sound was heavily influenced by that of the Shadows. He acquired a special interest in the lute while on a visit to England during the mid-'60s, during which he saw a performance by legendary classical guitarist Julian Bream, whose repertoire of medieval works also fascinated Akkerman. This interest, which broadened to embrace a fixation on medieval England and its countryside, later manifested itself in such works as "Elspeth of Nottingham" from Focus III. During the late '60s, Akkerman, van der Linden, bassist Bert Ruiter, and singer Kaz Lux formed Brainbox, who were good enough to get a recording contract with Parlophone Records. He was involved with an early incarnation of the group Focus, founded by conservatory-trained flutist Thijs Van Leer, but didn't join until after that group had issued its unsuccessful debut album — he took Van der Linden with him from Brainbox and, with Van Leer and bassist Cyril Havermans (later succeeded by Ruiter) from the original Focus, formed a new group of that name. With Akkerman's virtuoso guitar work and arrangements coupled to Van Leer's classical influence (and his yodeling on their breakthrough hit, "Hocus Pocus"), the new group found a large international audience beginning in 1972, which transformed Akkerman into a superstar guitarist. His solo career actually dated from 1968, though his attempt at a solo album, later titled Guitar for Sale — containing his covers of numbers such as "What'd I Say," "Ode to Billy Joe," and "Green Onions" — was so primitive by the standards of the time that it was deemed unreleasable until Akkerman started topping reader surveys in the mid-'70s. Profile, released in 1972 after he'd begun making some headway with his reputation, also dated from 1969 and his days with Brainbox. Akkerman's first real solo album reflecting his music and interests at the time appeared in 1974, in the form of Tabernakel, which was recorded during the summer of that year at Atlantic Recording Studios in New York — having finally acquired a medieval lute of his own, he taught himself to play it and the results comprise more than half of this LP, made up of authentic medieval music and originals composed in a medieval mode. It was certainly the most unusual record ever to feature the playing of Tim Bogart (bass) and Carmine Appice (drums), as well as soul drummer Ray Lucas. After leaving Focus in 1976, Akkerman began releasing a stream of solo albums, which frequently embraced classical, jazz, and blues, and started leading his own bands. Much of his work during the 1980s wasn't released officially outside of Holland, but his periodic recordings with Van Leer, coupled with efforts to revive Focus with its two major stars, kept his name circulating in international music circles. The only problem that Akkerman faces derives from the sheer eclecticism of his work, which makes him very difficult to categorize — two different branches of Tower Records in the same city listed him as a jazz and a rock artist, respectively, but one could just as easily make a claim for him as a classical artist. © Bruce Eder © 2010 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

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