Jan Akkerman

Jan Akkerman (born 24 December 1946) is a Dutch guitarist.[1] He first found international commercial success with the band Focus, which he co-founded with Thijs van Leer. After leaving Focus, he continued as a solo musician, adding jazz fusion influences.

Jan Akkerman
Jan Akkerman in Russia, 2005
Jan Akkerman in Russia, 2005
Background information
Born (1946-12-24) 24 December 1946 (age 73)
Amsterdam, Netherlands
GenresProgressive rock, rock, blues, jazz fusion
InstrumentsGuitar, lute
Years active1960s–present
Associated actsJohnny and his Cellar Rockers, The Hunters (Dutch band), Brainbox, Finch, Focus


Akkerman performing on Dutch television (AVRO's TopPop) in 1974

The son of a scrap iron trader, Akkerman was born in Amsterdam.[1] At age five he took guitar lessons and his first single was released in 1960, when he was thirteen years old. Akkerman won a scholarship to study at the Amsterdam Music Lyceum for five years, developing his composition and arranging skills.

At eleven he was in the rock band Johnny and his Cellar Rockers with his friend Pierre van der Linden.[2] Both then joined The Hunters.[2] After seeing a performance by classical guitarist Julian Bream, he became interested in medieval music and the lute.[2] He started the band Brainbox with van der Linden, Kaz Lux, and Bert Ruiter.[2] They recorded for Parlophone.[2]

Akkerman joined the Thijs van Leer Trio in late 1969 which, as the nascent band Focus, was the pit band for the Dutch theatrical production of Hair (recorded as an album in 1969). Under the name Focus, the band explored progressive rock, an amalgam of classical, jazz, and rock music, and had hits in the seventies such as "Hocus Pocus" and "Sylvia". The band's albums Focus II and Focus 3 were certified Gold. In 1973 Akkerman was voted Best Guitarist in the World by readers of the UK magazine Melody Maker. With manufacturer Framus he helped produce one of the first signature guitar models.[3][4][5][6]

Atlantic released his solo album Tabernackel, which contains his playing the lute.[2] His concept album Eli, recorded with Kaz Lux on vocals, won the Dutch Edison Award for best album in 1976. On the album, Akkerman experimented with a 12-string guitar tuned in parallel fifths. In the late 1970s he began to use a guitar synthesizer, as on the album Oil in the Family. In 1985, he reunited Focus with van Leer for concerts and an album. The band reunited again in 1990 for the Dutch television program Goud van Oud (Old Gold).

Akkerman was a session musician with André Hazes and worked with Alan Price, Herman Brood, Peter Banks, Jack Bruce, Charlie Byrd, Phil Collins, Paco de Lucía, Ice-T, and B.B. King.

In 1992, he was involved in a car accident, but he resumed playing in 1993. In the late 1990s, after an absence of nearly 20 years, he was persuaded to tour the UK again. He wrote for the Dutch magazine GitaarPlus. In 2013, Akkerman released the album North Sea Jazz.[7]


  • Talent for Sale (1968)
  • Profile (Sire, 1972)
  • Tabernakel (Atco, 1973)
  • Eli with Kaz Lux (Atlantic, 1976)
  • Jan Akkerman (Atlantic, 1977)
  • Live (Atlantic, 1978)
  • Aranjuez with Claus Ogerman (CBS, 1978)
  • Jan Akkerman 3 (Atlantic, 1979)
  • Transparental with Kaz Lux (Ariola, 1980)
  • Oil in the Family (Red Bullet, 1981)
  • It Could Happen to You (Polydor, 1982)
  • Pleasure Point (WEA, 1982)
  • Can't Stand Noise (CBS, 1983)
  • From the Basement (CBS, 1984)
  • Focus with Thijs van Leer (Mercury, 1985)
  • The Complete Guitarist (1986)
  • Heartware (Skydancer, 1987)
  • The Noise of Art (I.R.S., 1990)
  • Puccini's Café (EMI, 1993)
  • Blues Hearts (EMI, 1994)
  • Focus in Time (Patio, 1996)
  • Unplugged - Live at the Priory (1998)
  • 10,000 Clowns on a Rainy Day (Dino, 1999)
  • Live at Alexanders (1999)
  • Passion (Roadrunner, 1999)
  • C. U. (Coast to Coast, 2003)
  • Jan Akkerman - Live in Concert (2008)
  • Fromage A Trois (2009)
  • Jazzah! (EP 2009)
  • Minor Details (2011)
  • North Sea Jazz (2013)
  • Close Beauty (2019)

Awards and honoursEdit


  1. ^ a b Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 26/7. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Eder, Bruce. "Jan Akkerman". AllMusic. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  3. ^ "10950 Jan Akkerman". Framus Vintage Archive. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
  4. ^ "10980 Jan Akkerman". Framus Vintage Archive. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
  5. ^ "Jan Akkerman". Framus Vintage Archive. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
  6. ^ "'Framus - known all over the world'". Framus Vintage Archive. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
  7. ^ "Tidido". tidido.com. Archived from the original on 2016-04-23. Retrieved 2016-04-07.


  • Brigitte Tast, Hans-Juergen Tast: „be bop” - Die Wilhelmshöhe rockt. Disco und Konzerte in der Hölle. Verlag Gebrüder Gerstenberg GmbH & Co. kg, Hildesheim 2007, ISBN 978-3-8067-8589-0.
  • Brigitte Tast, Hans-Juergen Tast: „be bop” - Rock-Tempel & Nachtasyl - Band 2 zur Legende. Hildesheim: Verlag Gebr. Gerstenberg 2009. ISBN 978-3-8067-8733-7.

External linksEdit