A Talent's Profile
01. Bags Groove
02. Revival of the Cat
04. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy
05. On The Green Light
06. What I'd Say
07. Slim Jenkin's Place
09. Green Onions
10. Ode to Billy Joe
11. Comin' Home Baby
- Jan Akkerman / Guitars
- Ron Bijtelaar / Bass
- Sydney Wachtel / Drums
- Cocky Akkerman / Drums on "SLIM JENKIN'S PLACE"
Jan Akkerman was born on Christmas Eve 1946 and 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 high costs involved with his insistence of hiring full symphony orchestras and low record sales, and Akkerman went off to persue other musical avenues, pausing only to attempt a Focus re-group. The album of this year "3" is an unusually funky album with very little ecelcticism.
This didn't work out, so Akkerman carried on working, attempting to reform Focus once again in 1984, producing the rather raw "From the Basement". In 1989 he had a more successful collaboration with Miles Copland resulting in the successful "Noise of Art". His collaborations and various projects from then until now are too numerous to mention one by one, including work with B.B. King, Mike Kenealy, Alan Price, Charlie Byrd and Ice-T, but 1999's "Passion" is particularly notable.
On February 16th 2005, Akkerman was awarded with a Golden Harp award at the Harpen Gala, proving that he is still not only going strong, with his favourite annual Dutch and UK tours, but still impressing with his skills.