Tuesday, November 09, 2004


Jan Akkerman - "Live"

The DVD du jour is "Live" by Jan Akkerman. Like a lot of kids who picked up a guitar in the early 70's I was quite awed by Focus, especially by "Hocus Pocus" (I still love the song, but that yodeling....). Akkerman has maintained a low profile for quite some time, and when this DVD came out I was intrigued enough to research it. Seeing "Hocus Pocus" on the track list was enough to cinch the decision. Let's address that one first - there's only a tiny bit of "Hocus Pocus" on here. Akkerman is playing a soft jazz blues thing called "Pietons" (for some reason this sounds like a Toots Theilemans or Django Reinhardt piece to me; I suppose I'm terribly nekulturny for not knowing this piece's lineage). Akkerman is playing some very tasty jazz picking on a Gibson L-5 on this one, very clean sound, some unbelievably fast runs, but nothing especially memorable, at least to my ears. At the very end of "Pietons", Akkerman and band look slyly at each other, he reaches for the volume control, and the band kicks into a about a minute of "Hocus Pocus".

Most of the DVD features Akkerman on either an L-4 or an L-5 (pretty far cry from the days of the Framus, Les Paul Custom and the Gibson Personal) with a bluesy backing band. There are portions of two shows on the DVD, one at Viersen and the other at Leverkusen. It's a good guitarists' DVD, in that there are plenty of lingering closeups on the fretboard and picking hand and no unnecessary nods to music video fashion. Some great 5-string bass work on this by Wilbrand Meischke.

The extras include an interview with Akkerman in Dutch with subtitles. There is one very cool segment of Akkerman playing the lute during the interview (it's an old clip, but still quite impressive) segment. Overall sonics are very good. It isn't Focus, so caveat enptor if that's what you're looking for.


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