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Jan Akkerman – Tabernakel (1973)

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Jan Akkerman – Tabernakel (1973)

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01. Britannia by John Dowland (arranged & adapted by Jan Akkerman & George Flynn) - 3:55
02. Coranto For Mrs. Murcott by Francis Pilkington (arranged & adapted by Jan Akkerman) - 1:26
03. The Earl Of Derby, His Galliard by John Dowland (arranged & adapted by Jan Akkerman) - 1:56
04. House Of King (Jan Akkerman) - 2:22
05. A Galliard by Anthony Holborne (arranged & adapted by Jan Akkerman) - 2:10
06. A Galliard by John Dowland (arranged & adapted by Jan Akkerman) - 1:31					play
07. A Pavan by Thomas Morley (arranged & adapted by Jan Akkerman) - 3:04					play
08. Javeh (Jan Akkerman, George Flynn) - 3:21
09. A Fantasy by Laurencini Of Rome (arranged & adapted by Jan Akkerman) - 3:18
10. Lammy - 14:00 including: 
a). I Am (Jan Akkerman, George Flynn)
b). Asleep, Half Asleep, Awake (Jan Akkerman)
c). She Is (Jan Akkerman, George Flynn)
d). Lammy, We Are (Jan Akkerman, George Flynn)
e). The Last Will & Testament (Anthony Holborne/arranged & adapted by Jan Akkerman & George Flynn)
f). Amen (George Flynn, Jan Akkerman)	

Personnel:
- Jan Akkerman - lute (01-03,05-07,09,10), bass (01), electric guitar (04,10), percussion (04,10), acoustic guitar (08,10), organ (10)
- Roy Lucas - drums (01,10)
- Carmine Appice - drums (04,10)
- Tim Bogert - bass (04,10)
- George Flynn - arranged by flute & strings (04), harpsichord (08,10), piano (08), glockenspiel (08)
- Daniel Waitzman - flutes (10)
- Geoffrey Haslam – producer

 

Back in 1973, rock guitarist Jan Akkerman temporarily put down his electric guitar, took up the lute, and raided the 400-year-old back-catalogue of lutenists such as John Dowlands and Anthonie Holborne.

Such things just don't seem to happen any more. Jazz musicians such as Keith Jarrett extend their repertoire by delving into the Baroque era, but I don't know how many of today's rock musicians have the interest or capability to do likewise, even if their record companies were interested.

I have to say that the styles in this album are so varied that, even at the height of the 70s progressive era, it probably sunk with very little trace. There are solo lute pieces, lute with orchestral backing (the low points of the album for me -- too Wakeman-esque), rock and jazz rock. For me, the solo lute pieces are the highlights and a total joy, and I will certainly buy several more lute / John Dowland CDs. It's sad that Akkerman didn't record an album entirely of lute songs, but I can imagine that his record company insisted on including some rock tunes to attract the Focus fans.

I should add that if you like this, you will almost certainly enjoy the ECM CD, 'In Darkness Let me Dwell', dedicated to John Dowland tunes. ---Gavin Wilson, amazon.com

 

This album -- which, despite being third in most discographies, was actually Jan Akkerman's first official solo album -- must have been a real shocker to a lot of Focus. Rather than working from the flashy, electric guitar side of the group's sound, Akkerman chose to expand on the lute sound that he'd explored on Focus III's "Elspeth of Nottingham." Tabernakel represented Akkerman at his most formalistic, playing almost entirely in a classical idiom on lute and acoustic and electric guitars (with one brief side trip to the bass). The repertory is drawn largely from 16th century Tudor England, including compositions by John Dowland and Antony Holborne, rearranged by Akkerman and harpsichord virtuoso and scholar George Flynn. He gives one major concession to progressive rock in the form of the fuzz-laden reinterpretation of "House of the King," which misses the flute part from the Focus original but is still worth hearing as a guitar showcase.

Tabernakel is otherwise the real article as far as its classicism -- the 14-minute-long "Lammy" comes close to being pretentious without quite crossing the line, and all of the album is a fascinating solo departure for the guitarist. What makes this album doubly intriguing is that apart from Flynn, Akkerman's accompanists come entirely from the rock world: Tim Bogert, Carmine Appice, and veteran R&B drummer Ray Lucas, none of whom seems to skip a beat in their work here. Recorded at Atlantic Records' studios in New York and released in 1974, when Focus was still near the peak of its fame, Tabernakel sold reasonably well at the time, but had been unavailable from the late '70s until 2002, when Wounded Bird Records reissued it in a good-sounding CD edition. --- Bruce Eder, allmusic.com

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