Jan Akkerman – Profile (1973)

LPFrontCover1Jan Akkerman (born 24 December 1946) is a Dutch guitarist.[1] He first found international commercial success with the band Focus, which he co-founded with Thijs van Leer. After leaving Focus, he continued as a solo musician, adding jazz fusion influences. (by wikipedia)

Profile is the second solo album by Dutch jazz guitarist Jan Akkerman.

In 1972, Focus was experiencing planetary success with the single “Hocus Pocus” and the accompanying LP Moving Waves. With this kind of momentum, guitarist and leader Jan Akkerman decided it was time for a parallel solo career. Profile is not disconnected from his work with Focus, but was at the time a good medium to show the extent of his talent. The two main musicians on this record apart Akkerman himself are Focus alumni Pierre van der Linden (drums) and Bert Ruiter (bass). The first half contains “Fresh Air,” a 20-minute epic in seven parts. This is a jazz-rock track like Focus rarely recorded (except maybe the In and Out of Focus version of “Anonymous”). Akkerman is smoking on the electric guitar and the whole thing sounds a lot like early Mahavishnu Orchestra: There is a strong sense of urgency to it coupled with the feeling that these guys were having a wonderful time.

Jan Akkerman 1974

The second half is more eclectic in styles and in results. Here, Akkerman indulges in his interest for medieval and classical music. A rendition of “Kemps Jig” (a medieval tune that was also part of Gryphon’s repertoire) and an Etude by Carcassi are both played on the lute, and Diabelli’s Andante Sostenuto is performed on Spanish guitar. A rather poor blues number and two Focus-inspired tracks complete the set. More technical, the album’s second half is a showcase for Akkerman’s guitar chops, but it is really “Fresh Air” that best exemplifies his talent both as a composer and a performer and puts this album Jan Akkerman 1974_02.jpga cut above other prog guitarists’ solo projects, namely Steve Howe’s first two records. (by François Couture)

This album is full of excellent electric & acoustic guitars and Baroque lute parts. Akkerman here can be classical (Baroque), hard rock and even slightly bluesy, and sometimes a bit folk. He includes some powerful rhythmic elements, especially on the first side of the record. The album is at least very original and unique. The first side is an epic track of nearly 20 minutes, full of good moments, sometimes melodic, although it may sound experimental, improvised and raw like the more bizarre stuff of Jimi Hendrix, if you consider the visceral electric guitar notes and the fast drums: it reminds me a bit the Lenny White’s “Venusian Summer” album. The other side is made of short tracks full of acoustic and electric string instruments, with sometimes good bass and drums parts. Jan Akkerman proves here that he is an outstanding guitarist. (by greenback)

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Personnel:
Jan Akkerman (guitar, bass)
Pierre Van Der Linden (drums)
Bert Ruiter (bass)
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Jaap Van Eyck (bass on 08.)
Ferry Maat (piano on 08.)
Frans Smit (drums on 08.)

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Tracklist:
01. Fresh Air (Akkerman) 19.55
01.1Must Be My Land
01.2.Wrestling to Get Out
01.3. Back Again
01.4.This Fight
01.5.Fresh Air – Blue Notes for Listening
01.6.Water and Skies Are Telling Me
01.7. Happy Gabriel?
02. Kemp’s Jig (Anonymous) 1.35
03. Etude (Carcassi) 1.33
04. Blue Boy (Akkerman) 2.26
05. Andante Sostenuto (Diabelli) 4.09
06. Maybe Just A Dream (Akkerman) 2.35
07. Minstrel/Farmers Dance (Akkerman) 1.46
08. Stick (Akkerman) 3.39

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More from Jan Akkerman:

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