25 Augustus 2004


Wildflower – Just Because
C.S. – Mon Amour
Firenze – C.S. – Funkology
Autumn Leaves
Improvisation – Tranquillizer
Central Park
Gate to Europe – Classical Gas
Heavy Sleep – Coranto
Quiet Storm
Wilhelmus – Whispering (adapted for country picking)
Gear: (the Passion gear !)
1x Lowden OS25 acoustic
1x Peavey Tubefex pre-amp

THE MASTER OF SUITES…..without any flutes..

Imagine one of those very sparse hot days in The Netherlands and you will see that Jan does two gigs on such a day. During the afternoon, he performed on the annual Uitmarkt Festival in Amsterdam with Ton Dijkman and Wilbrand Meischke, while hundreds of people were watching this gig, and the temperature was almost 40 degrees Celsius.
During the evening, Jan would perform a solo gig in a church in Oostzaan (a village just outside Amsterdam). As it is pretty rare to see Jan playing solo in concert (the last time I remember was in October 2000 in Zaandam in a pub on a Sunday afternoon), a lot of his local fans were very excited to see how it would turn out this time. But not only local fans turned up, there was even a fan driving in from Berlin and another one from Britain, as we noticed just before the gig started.
At 6 PM, I entered the church (wow, what a nice cold climate it had !) with people from the SJOO organization (Marga, Nico and of course Bas van den Berg) and after a little while Jan arrived. While setting up his gear, Jan decided to use only his guitar and his amp, without the use of a mixer, so his speakers were connected to the output channels of his amp. Keeping the output levels not too high as we are in a church (with a lot of natural delay and great acoustics !), the sound check was finished well with Jans daughters jumping and running about in the church !
A special mention to the sexton couple of the church, who lit all the candles in the church, which completed the perfect atmosphere for that evening.

At 8:30 PM, Jan entered the stage and played a 35 minute set, starting with two long suites with familiar material from the past. After that, he announced that he was just improvising as he went along”and started to play those magnificent picking notes into Firenze. A traditional version of the standard Autumn Leaves”closed the first set and people were able to catch up with some red wine during the intermission.

The second set started with a new (?) piece, which involved into some ZZ Top licks (from Manic Mechanic) and eventually turned into Tranquillizer. This was probably the best build up suite from the whole evening. Next up was Central Park”in which the more emotional and delicate notes were heard. Another great piece, and Jan did start several of his recent theatre-gigs with this suite as well. One of his best-known pieces Gate to Europe (from the 1977-self titled album) was incorporated with Mason Williams Classical Gas. And I know this is one of the favorites of our beloved webmaster Irene Heinicke !!. Goosebumps all over.

Then Jan announced he wanted to play some lute material, which sounded really wonderful on the Lowden. Some John Dowland material ( Heavy Sleep and Coranto) was combined and one could hear a pin drop during these pieces. The emotional climax of the evening. And to round off the second set, it was surprising to hear Jan play Quiet Storm again, just on acoustic guitar.
As an encore, Jan first played one of the first country-songs he used to play as a little child, but this wasn’t appreciated by the conservatory of course, so he played the Dutch National Anthem (Wilhelmus) in his Django-style and combined it with Whispering”. Well received by the audience, this was great fun after such an intimate evening.
Jan was thanked by the organization and received a framed sketch of himself, which was made by Eva during the sound check before the gig.
To summarize the whole evening is pretty hard, in this particular case. Everything was right : the location, the audience (who were great listeners), the material played….you name it.
As a result, let’s thank a couple of people for organizing this : Marga, Nico, Aart and Bas. They did a brilliant job ! And of course we hope that Jan will return some time again for another great evening of his acoustic guitar-music.

Review - Wouter Bessels
Photos - Bas van den Berg
Final editing - Irene Heinicke