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Jan Akkerman Appreciation Thread

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by $tratcat, Oct 23, 2016.

  1. Fred Farkus

    Fred Farkus Gold Supporting Member

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    Live at the Rainbow

    That is all.
     
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  2. RickC

    RickC Gold Supporting Member

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    I did see Jan live once, with Focus. He was good then, but so much more as became a apparent later. I like the comment about his playing being life affirming. I feel the same way.

    /rick
     
  3. Big L

    Big L Member

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    Great player inspired me early on.
    I own a guitar which used to belong to Jan..
    according to the man himself that is..
    He designed it Framus ak 1974 model..
     
  4. ned7flat5

    ned7flat5 Member

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    Focus was my very first "international act" concert in June 1974 (Brisbane Festival Hall). Akkerman (and the whole band) was astounding and I was a devotee (bought everything Focus related that i could find- even tracked down rarities like the Brainbox and former bassist's Cyril Haverman's albums. I immediately bought a tobacco sunburst Kasuga Les Paul copy to emulate Jan's own custom built Les Paul inspired axe.) At the time, Akkerman's playing attracted considerable attention (even across genres - the classical players I knew seemed to give him (albeit reluctant) kudos). On reflection, I guess his unique style could be described as wholly "European". A more advanced guitar friend even had a brief lesson from Akkerman on that tour and I recall him telling me in awe-struck tones that Akkerman discouraged bending - he advocated stretching to the desired note as the rule in line with some classical influence. The next year's return Focus concert had its problems - Akkerman's guitar rig (it included a couple of unusual looking Fender solid state amps (as pictured) failed to fire up and he spent most of the stage time with a roadie and a flashlight tracking the gremlin. As the old showbiz adage dictates - "the show must go on" and in that spirit Thijs van Leer improvised a free form yodeling/organ excursion for far longer than had been anticipated that night......

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Fred Farkus

    Fred Farkus Gold Supporting Member

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    I was in junior high when Hocus Pocus came out. I bought the 45, which includes the sped-up version on the B side. Then I got Moving Waves and he became my favorite guitarist, pretty much of all time. Focus 3 is amazing too as is Live at the Rainbow. I love the "jam" aspect of those albums where he really got to stretch. He plays some of the coolest and most amazing lines. Completely elegant and fantastic sense of musical humor as well. I love his classical guitar playing too. I picked up "Le Clochard" on my nylon-string back in the junior-high/hs timeframe. That is, except for the tremolo part (which I still can't play, DAMMIT, but I'm working on it). But that song is just achingly beautiful, IMO. I always loved Thjs Van Leer's musical composition too and I thought they were one of the great musical teams.
     
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  6. Fred Farkus

    Fred Farkus Gold Supporting Member

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    Hocus Pocus is indeed tricky to play with those fast chord changes. Once you get them down though, it's a thing of beauty.
     
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  7. tonyhay

    tonyhay Supporting Member

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    Sylvia was one of the first things I ever learned to play on the guitar, at the age of 12.
     
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  8. Stickler64

    Stickler64 Member

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    Anyone know what scale/mode JA is using on Hocus Pocus? The first Lucifer's Friend record uses it a ton, too.
     
  9. Neer

    Neer Supporting Member

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    There is no one scale or mode. There is a lot of A harmonic minor which helps outline the V7, but then he also will play an F# note over the V7, which could make it a melodic minor. Then he plays E minor pentatonic stuff. The scales are just a basic guideline.
     
  10. Stickler64

    Stickler64 Member

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    Yea, I get that, there's just this thing where it's a series of half steps that sorta sound like a byzantine scale, but it's not. It really adds an otherworldly vibe and incorporates the "devil's note" as Iommi once called it (I'm in need of theory class, obviously). So, after some trial and error, the scale is something like a,b,c,d#,e,f,g#,a It's crazy and he doesn't do the same thing when descending. I'd just love to be able to get that into my repertoire.
     
  11. rspencer

    rspencer Member

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    Fantastic player. "Hocus Pocus" was one of my high school driving around late at night, windows down & the music blasting songs. Then I got into more of Focus, then Akkerman's other material.

    I've never had a chance to see him live, but I'd love to.
     
  12. Ncp10

    Ncp10 Member

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    I became aware of him from the 1977 album "Jan Akkerman". All clean stratty sound. I loved it.
     
  13. Vishnu

    Vishnu Member

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    That's odd, i feel the exact same way :) full of joy and contentment

    When i 1st head Hocus Pocus as a kid that was it for me, no one else was playin' like that save for McLaughlin
    I managed to see the Hamburger concerto tour and saw JA again in early 2000 i think and his live tone on that night was......celestial. I was SURE there was a big magic box somewhere off stage that was responsible for this otherworldly guitar sound

    When i play Love Remembered on cd it leaves me with a feelin' that i have been meditating for half an hour.....him and McLaughlin are my mum and dad
     
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  14. Harryq

    Harryq Member

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    Just don't tell Jan he's like a mum to you! I pulled out my old LP of Hamburger Concerto a couple of years ago, after not listening to it for years. I had forgotten how great it was. I immediately bought a new CD, and have listened to it almost weekly since then. There's a great YouTube video of an international group playing Hamburger Concerto, with Jan himself playing the rhythm parts. I highly recommend it. It almost brought tears to my eyes. Great respect for Thijs, Pierre, Colin, and Bert also!
     
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  15. Vishnu

    Vishnu Member

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    here ya go Harry :)

     
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  16. Harryq

    Harryq Member

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    I've got the "Masters From the Vaults" Focus DVD that includes this. I love the ending riff with Jan and Thijs playing together. Jan looks like the cat who stole the cream at the end! " La Cathedral Du Strasbourg" is also gorgeous. I salute your excellent taste!
     
  17. Carlo

    Carlo Member

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    Love Jan. There are so many guitarists I like and admire, but only a very few that can truly touch my soul and Jan is on that very short list!
     
  18. ned7flat5

    ned7flat5 Member

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    For both Australian tours back in the early 70’s that I alluded to in any earlier post, the support act was a local prog band “Sebastian Hardie” featuring an excellent guitarist called Mario Millo who played a Gibson L5S. (I was only reminded of this connection last week when researching the L5S since one is for sale nearby.). Anyway, I was also reminded how much they sounded like Focus! It was an interesting pairing for two successive tours.

     
  19. aliensporebomb

    aliensporebomb Member

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    I loved a lot of his playing including the "Tommy" movement of Eruption.

    Tommy (slightly pitch edited, maybe to get around the youtube algorithm searching for copyrighted material possibly?)


    Even Steve Hackett did a cover of this classic tune:


    Regarding Jan's guitars besides the Framus Akkerman:

    I found out years later that besides Les Paul Customs he used a highly modified "Les Paul Personal" which was a guitar that was very similar to the Les Paul Recording model which had those slanted low impedance pickups which he had removed, the guitar retopped with a flamed top and regular humbuckers put in.

    You can actually buy a replica of the guitar he had modified and still plays (and now he plays these) right now:

    [​IMG]
     

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