Fringe Festival, Edinburgh - Scotland

20 August 2008


Review 1:

Just back from watching Jan in action at his gig in the Acoustic Music Centre in Edinburgh.

Having previously seen Jan with his band, I was looking forward to this solo acoustic set, especially as Jan’s “Passion” acoustic CD is one of my all time favourites. Jan took to the stage with his Lowden and proceeded to dazzle with a fine mix of music and world class technique.
Although encompassing elements of jazz, classical, rock, funk and more, Jan’s acoustic music really creates a unique genre that is hard to describe and really needs to be seen/heard to appreciate. Loud, soft, fast, slow, exiting, moving…a real musical journey with the audience hooked until the very last string vibration of every piece.
The set included Central Station, Firenze, Tranquillizer, as well as a range of focus classics adapted for acoustic guitar. An hour’s worth of real talent.
One man…one guitar…so much amazing music.

P.S. Thanks for signing my copy of “Passion” Jan (once we found a pen that worked!!)

Duncan Harkness

Review 2:

The gig started off with the young and notably up and coming Gareth Pearson. We
were treated to a wealth of material combining both versions of impossible to
fathom and frankly spell bounding covers such as 'Blue Smoke' by Jerry Reed and
his own fantastic compositions.

We attended both performances. Jan stated from the outset that we would be
treated to a 'pot pourri' of his material. During the first performance, there
were elements from 'Heartware' alongside many references to the Focus period
and beyond including 'Firenze' 'Central Station' and 'Tranquilizer'. In the
second performance Jan kicked off with a surprising number, 'Skydancer' from
his 1977 Self-titled album. It really was a pleasure to hear this track,
especially as I had never heard it performed acoustically.

To see Jan Akkerman live is an opportunity, but to see him play acoustically
and in the intimate setting of St Bride's, Edinburgh proved an invaluable
insight into the work of a guitarist who has provided his fans with music which
consistently seeks to push the boundaries of composition and is always played
from the heart. It is difficult to express into words the impact of the breadth
of material played in just two performances. However, Jan gave us an insight
into his life and into a career which spans many years. This was more than just
a history lesson but an opportunity to celebrate an artist's talent which
continually evolves as he pushes his Lowden to the limit.

Ash Savage