Thought you might like to know that there's a feature on 'Sylvia' in the new issue of the UK 'Guitarist' magazine - I've just picked up a copy today (10 January), although it looks like there's nothing on the related web site yet.

The magazine comes with a complete tab transcription of the piece for both guitar and bass. I'm not sure about the way the chord intro is transcribed - whenever I've seen Jan play 'Sylvia's Grandmother' he seems to start the opening 'F' at the 13th fret, not the 17th - but maybe I'm wrong. There's also a free cover CD on which the authors have produced three variants of the entire song: complete, without guitar, and without bass. The accompaniment is reasonable, so if you want to do a bit of Jan karaoke with your guitar (or Bert karaoke with your bass) it's not too bad.

Jan is pictured in insert on the cover and on the CD case (image attached). There's also a double-page spread photo of the Hamburger Concerto Focus line up on pages 164-165.

The text description is fun:

"Built around the virtuoso abilities of guitarist Jan Akkerman and keyboardist/singer/flautist Thijs van Leer, Focus were an immensely versatile band, able to switch effortlessly between whimsical folk-baroque, challenging jazz fusion and full-on heavy rock. While the frantic Hocus Pocus is their most famous tune (imagine a jazzier version of Deep Purple with yodelling...) Sylvia is no less interesting. The melody will have you whistling along for days, while the diligent student will find valuable lessons in harmony and counterpoint within the guitar, bass and chord parts."

Whistling along to Sylvia? It's probably just as well Jan played it on the guitar rather than leaving it all to the whistler..!

Laurie Menear