Jan Akkerman Band

North Sea Jazz Festival, The Hague, NL - 9-7-2005



The story begins on the evening of June 10 at De Kade, Zaandam a town near Amsterdam. It's nice to see Irene and her gang again; instantly there's a lively talk about Jan's great gig in Barcelona. The Spanish attendance was totally captivated and response was enormous, so I was told.
But in a town like Zaandam Jan had to pull all the strings to get some response here. Maybe the Dutch are spoiled with too much gifted playing from Jan. But the professional he is, Jan managed to get some reaction from this audience: extra long renditions of the C.U.-tracks, with a lot of snippets of his back-catalog. I heard The Bridge and other Focus-stuff, but also a bit from the Oil in the Family recording! And when Jan pulls out yet another Hocus Pocus - yodel on guitar included! - even this stiff-upper-lip audience must agree: yes indeed, this is one of the most gifted guitar-players around. Yet another battle was won by Jan and his band-members, often referred by Jan as his compadres, his brothers in arms.

Battle at North Sea Jazz

Marijn, Jan and Coen

Compare your tiny home back yard with a smooth Wembley football pitch! That what's coming to my mind seeing this magnificent Paul Acket Pavilion compared with De Kade Venue. An packed international audience, without doubt there where many of them to see play Jan live for the very first time.

Wilbrand, Marijn and Jan

Expectations were high as the announcer of this North Sea Jazz stage, introduced Jan as his personal hero listening to his music when he was a kid in Surinam. When he made his announcement, this big guy hugged Jan for a minute taking his chance to show his gratitude for so much inspired music over the years.
But then Jan was confronted with this huge audience, and seemed to be a bit nervous during the opener Urban String, but this time drummer Marijn van den Berg pulled Jan through by a magnificent drum-solo, which took thousands of eyes and ears from the guitar master. And so Jan could come to terms with this new situation: yes, this gig is in Holland, but this is certainly not buisiness as usual.

special guest Benjamin Herman

After the two C.U-tracks, Jan was completely at ease, playing his well known old stuff. Streetwalker was done with sax-player Benjamin Herman, leader of the New Cool Collective Band. Jan said he admires Benjamin very much, and seeing this duo playing I realised how I miss saxes on Jan's recordings.
Then there was Tranquillizer, suprise of the evening. This was nicely colored by the sounds from Coen Molenaar and Wilbrand Meischke. This moody and indeed jazzy piece was appropriate as it was performed on a Jazz Festival. But in a stadium-like arena as this night some strong loud music was needed, so Jan got on the loose in a heavy manner before coming back to this well know theme from the Eli recording.
And then the audience at last got what it came for: a heavy concluding set of speedy guitar playing and problably all people in and outside the venue must have heard the sounds of Hocus Pocus. Jan played this famous theme several (five?!) times, putting great smiles on everybody's faces yet again!

Jan on his Les Paul Personal

Urban String
In between the sheets
Streetwalker (with Benjamin Herman - sax)
Blues Route 2005
Hocus Pocus (yodel on guitar included)
Piétons (reprise theme Hocus Pocus extra loud!!)

Review: Bas van den Berg
Photo's: Sjaak van Os

Jan and NSJF-presenter Guily Koster (photo: Renate Molenaar)