Jan Akkerman: Angel Watch
Jan Akkerman (guitar)
Jan Akkerman (Atlantic SD 19159)
Jan Akkerman (guitar),
Joachim Kuhn (keyboards), Cees Van Der Laarse (bass), Bruno Castelucci (drums), Nippy Noya (percussion).
Composed by Jan Akkerman. String arrangement by Michael Gibbs.
Recorded: Blaricum, Holland, 1977
Rating: 88/100 (learn more)
Dutchman Jan Akkerman was the gifted guitarist for popular progressive rock group Focus. The band had a huge international pop hit with the song "Hocus Pocus" in 1973. It was a novelty song of sorts featuring skillfully performed nonsense vocals. But behind the hoopla a great instrumental band stood. This is best exhibited on the group's masterpiece progressive rock and fusion album Moving Waves. Somehow, at least in America, the band never quite caught on after its initial splash. Fame is fickle.
Akkerman's guitar prowess is evident for all to hear on his 1977 release Jan Akkerman. "Angel Watch" features his rock guitar infused with jazz, blues and a certain European elegance. The tune's opening sequence is convincingly beautiful. Long sustained notes reverberate above a string background. Much in the Focus tradition, a fusion opus is underway. Akkerman turns to speed runs after the introduction. The cut does have a weakness amplified by the passage of time. It becomes a little too funky for its own good in a short cheesy outdated synthesizer section. The disco beat doesn't help either. Thankfully that wrong turn ends soon enough and Joachim Kuhn and Cees Van Der Laarse do some high-level jazz playing. Akkerman returns in full force as the tune plays out its tight and impressive string.
Though Akkerman's career slowed down since – much of that his own choice – in recent years he has been more visible and regularly plays the European jazz festival circuit.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky