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Thread: AAJ Review: Jakko M. Jakszyk, Secrets & Lies

  1. #1

    AAJ Review: Jakko M. Jakszyk, Secrets & Lies



    My review of King Crimson guitarist/vocalist Jakko M. Jakszyk's upcoming Secrets & Lies, due out the Friday, 10/23, published today at All About Jazz.

    Life often unfolds in unexpected ways. For some, like Jakko M. Jakszyk, it has taken some truly surprising twists and turns. That the 62 year-old multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and songwriter has attained considerably greater visibility in the last ten years than in the previous 35 has, to say the least, righted a significant wrong. Which makes the release of Secrets & Lies, Jakszk's first solo album since the The Bruised Romantic Glee Club (Iceni, 2006) and its 2009, self-released companion piece, Waves Sweep the Sand, cause for celebration.

    Jakszyk's history on the UK music scene, crossing genres and gradually finding his way into circles occupied by some of those who were musical heroes during his formative years, has demonstrated a slow but inexorable and inevitable path to where he is now. As lead singer, guitarist, and occasional flautist and keyboardist in the current seven-piece King Crimson lineup, Jakszyk has toured, barring the current year's pandemic restrictions, every year since 2014. The longest-lasting lineup in the group's lengthy, off again/on again career, Jakszyk has also been a member of its most unusual three-drummer front line incarnation. Many believe that this current lineup is also the band's best. That's no mean feat, considering a fifty-plus year career that has seen the group shift gears so many times that even the reductionist progressive rock label of its groundbreaking debut, In the Court of the Crimson King (Panegyric, 1969), has been rendered far too constraining.

    Jakszyk first came to attention in the UK through 64 Spoon's curious blend of disco and West Coast pop and rock, all filtered through progressive rock and classical influences. The band ultimately broke up in 1980, after all attempts to fit its stylistic square peg into the music industry's round hole failed, and to which Jakszyk has dryly reflected: "They say that success is largely down to timing. Well, we timed it perfectly. We were the wrong band at the wrong time." Still, 64 Spoons, and Jaksyzk in particular, came to the attention of some of the guitarist's heroes, most notably former Hatfield and the North/National Health keyboardist Dave Stewart and drummer Pip Pyle. This led to Jakszyk's brief tenure, with Stewart, Pyle and bassist Rick Biddulph, in the short-lived Rapid Eye Movement.

    Between numerous attempts at a solo record that were ultimately scuttled for a variety of reasons, Jakszyk spent four years as guitarist for Level 42 in the early '90s, a nanosecond with the Kinks, and some time with bassist/singer/songwriter Tom Robinson, the latter resulting in the pop-centric We Never Had It So Good (Musidisc, 1990). He also collaborated with Peter and Kristoffer Blegvad, John Greaves, and Anton Fier in the short-lived New York-based band The Lodge, which released its lone album, The Smell of a Friend (Island), in 1988.

    But if Jakszyk's career seemed, at the time, to be a frustrating mix of what ifs and what could have beens, he remained persistently active. He finally released an EP, The Kingdom of Dust, and his first full-length solo album, Mustard Gas And Roses, in 1994 on the Resurgence imprint. Prior to that, Jakszyk collaborated with drummer Gavin Harrison, classical Indian singer/percussionist Pandit Dinesh and renowned Pentangle alum, double bassist Danny Thompson, in Dizrhythmia, releasing an impressive eponymous Antilles debut in 1988. The album was something of a turning point for Jakszyk, fusing world music with art rock concerns and featuring guests including Dave Stewart, singer Peter Blegvad and pedal steel guitarist B.J. Cole. Dizrhythmia was such a good experience for the band that it reunited, in 2016, for the stellar, self-released Dizrhythmia Too, with pianist Dave Stewart now a de facto member alongside guests including former Japan keyboardist Richard Barbieri and John Thirkell, the trumpeter who guests on two of Secrets & Lies' eleven tracks.

    Continue reading here...
    Last edited by jkelman; 10-20-2020 at 10:27 AM.
    John Kelman
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  2. #2
    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    Thanks for the review, John.
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  3. #3
    Member Boceephus's Avatar
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    Another fantastic review. I’ve been a fan of Jakko’s for years & I’m always intrigued by his music.

    Thank you, John!


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  4. #4
    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    Outstanding review. Beautifully written!
    Interviewer of reprobate ne'er-do-well musicians of the long-haired rock n' roll persuasion at: www.velvetthunder.co.uk

  5. #5
    Thanks, folks, for the kind words!
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
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    Member AncientChord's Avatar
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    Wonderful review. I love detail, and you really did a great job at explaining Jakko's extensive musical history, with many insights. Thanks for the excellent articulation! And I hope with this release, fans will be savoring this almost new KC studio album, since the long absence of an official new studio album from the Crims has not materialized. Since the band is not touring, just maybe it will happen soon? I certainly hope so. As wonderful as it has been that KC now performs music from all of its history, I for one am yearning for new music waxed in the studio.
    Last edited by AncientChord; 10-22-2020 at 04:03 AM.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by AncientChord View Post
    Wonderful review. I love detail, and you really did a great job at explaining Jakko's extensive musical history, with many insights. Thanks for the excellent articulation! And I hope with this release, fans will be savoring this almost new KC studio album, since the long absence of an official new studio album from the Crims has not materialized. Since the band is not touring, just maybe it will happen soon? I certainly hope so. As wonderful as it has been that KC now performs music from all of its history, I for one am yearning for new music waxed in the studio.
    I've no idea if they're thinking studio, since they've tended to introduce new music, over the past 6 years, in their live recordings. I'm just postulating here, but like many jazz artists, I think Crimson has relied on live performances and live recordings. And there are two very good reasons:

    First, it's considerably cheaper to record live than the cost of hiring a studio, an engineer etc. You've already got the band together, no mean feat when you have to bring everyone from two sides of The Atlantic. You've already got an engineer, it's easy to record multi-tracks live now, so it simply makes good financial sense.

    Second and, I think, most important: Since the beginning, King Crimson has always been more disposed towards recording its basic tracks live off the floor, so everyone in the band is in same the room (ok, maybe the drummer in a booth, but still), and most importantly, playing together. Yes, it's possible to share files and even record together using things like Zoom, but it's just not the same. As someone with a fair bit of experience recording in the studio in decades past, I can definitely attest that it simply is not the same, it just doesn't feel the same without everyone in the room, recording live off the floor together. Pretty much every session I've ever done, whether it was supporting other musicians, doing tv, film or stage music or whatever, began with the band recording the basic tracks live, together in the room, so there's eye contact, and a feeling of togetherness that just cannot be replicated any other way.

    So I think that cost is one factor, sure, but the difficult to define yet inestimable feeling of playing together in the same room is another, far more important consideration.

    So I, for one, would rather wait for new material (assuming they have some) on a live album once they (hopefully) resume touring in 2021. In the meantime, I thought there was a live album coming from the 2020 tour, but they've been busy with the 1969 box in recent times...and, without giving everything away, I will say that even those who have the material in either CD or downloadable forms will be pretty pleased with this box. Collecting everything together, as it does, has forced, speaking for myself, me to absorb the live material and session reels as a totality, along with the selected Giles, Giles & Fripp material, and draw some pretty specific conclusions about this band that I'd not really thought of so much before. Having all the Original Master, 2009 and 2019 mixes, alternate albums and additional material together in one place is also nice, and to have the Chesterfield show (a complete show) in 24/192, along with the selected GG&F material is a revealing bonus. Since I've covered all three releases (Original Master, 40th & 50th) to considerable length (!) already, I am focusing far more heavily on the live material and studio reels, along with David Singleton's wonderfully curated "Let's Make a Hit, Waxing," fly-on-wall disc (which is fabulous and, despite there being all the other studio reels, brings new things to the table).

    They reveal many things about this first incarnation of King Crimson, a band that burned very bright during its brief but relentless 335-day, 70-gig and one album lifetime. Who knows what would have happened, had they stayed together, but I think the differences in overall approach, when you contrast ITCOTCK (and Poseidon) with McDonald and Giles, just 19 months later, and I think that the band would have torn itself apart from the inside. Not because they couldn't do pretty much anything they wanted to, but because there was a push-and-pull of light and dark that, ultimately, would have come to a head. Just my opinion, of course, but that's my feeling about it.

    Anyway, I look forward, after the 1969 box, to getting back to the book and seeing if any other new material comes out before I'm done.

    And thanks for the kind words, and for taking the time to read it - for a single disc review, it was a very long piece but, to tell the truth, there was method in my madness. That long introductory section that goes over Jakko's career in painstaking (painful?!?!) detail is intended, for the book, to be excised into an introduction to my section covering Jakko's work, from solo recordings to 21st Century Schizoid Band and Jakszyk, Fripp & Collins. So I wrote it in a way that I can easily pull it out and, with few little adjustments, turn it into a separate piece and, with the rest of the article that focuses on the album, the same thing. But for AAJ I wanted to put the two together for those unfamiliar with Jakko.

    Cheers!
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  8. #8
    Moderator Sean's Avatar
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    This is indeed a really good album. With enough Crim vibe to make many fans happy, and much more beyond that.

  9. #9
    Member Paulrus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean View Post
    This is indeed a really good album. With enough Crim vibe to make many fans happy, and much more beyond that.
    What I've heard so far makes me think of it as the intersection between A Scarcity of Miracles and newer King Crimson (although I guess to some that will be seen as a redundancy.) Thoughts?
    I'm holding out for the Wilson-mixed 5.1 super-duper walletbuster special anniversary extra adjectives edition.

  10. #10
    Member Boceephus's Avatar
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    It’s a stunningly good album. Yes, there are some KC undercurrents throughout, but just as many that are flavored by past recordings. The production is top notch & sound wonderful in my headsets.


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  11. #11
    On first listen, I enjoyed it quite a bit. I haven't really followed Crimson since Belew left so I've not really been engaged with the Jakko era, but this sounds quite nice. Certainly Crimsonesque moments throughout interspersed with some melancholy and lovely ballads. More listens required now that I've heard it once through.

    I will admit that I've had a visceral reaction to Jakko since I had a "Adrian got screwed" attitude about the band. Certainly that wasn't Jakko's fault so perhaps more listening to his years in the band is required now.
    No matter what anyone says, you are the decider of how you will listen to music.

  12. #12
    Member Boceephus's Avatar
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    “Separation” is the KC tune Fripp should have said, “That’s what I’m wanting to hear!”


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  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Splicer View Post
    On first listen, I enjoyed it quite a bit. I haven't really followed Crimson since Belew left so I've not really been engaged with the Jakko era, but this sounds quite nice. Certainly Crimsonesque moments throughout interspersed with some melancholy and lovely ballads. More listens required now that I've heard it once through.

    I will admit that I've had a visceral reaction to Jakko since I had a "Adrian got screwed" attitude about the band. Certainly that wasn't Jakko's fault so perhaps more listening to his years in the band is required now.
    I would suggest you do so, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

    As for Belew getting screwed? I would humbly suggest that particular situation was a lot more complex than guys like you and I are privy to.

    What I will say, over the past few years and now that I'm hard at work on my Crimson book for Panegyric Publishing? I believe that the anti-Fripp/pro-Belew people are being unfair to Fripp, one of the most egalitarian band "leaders" (quotes most intentional) I can think of. I think the biggest mistake, and this is AFAIK, is that it was Belew's decision to take the dispute public. It absolutely should have been kept private; just because we're fans doesn't mean we are entitled to know everything that should be really kept behind closed doors. I'm sure there are people here who followed the dispute carefully. I did not, other than thinking "man, what a shame." But I also believe that Fripp and Belew have since resolved their differences, even though Belew is not a performing member of the band.

    Personally, and I've written abour this often, I don't believe that Adrian would be a good fit for the current Crim. The simple reason? Because the current band is one where everybody shines and nobody shines. Even the lighting in no way focuses on any individual member of the band, and even though Jakszyk is the band's lead singer, when he is singing nothing is done to draw more attention to him than anyone else (other than that he is singing).

    Adrian is a wonderful, charismatic front man. The kind of guy you largely cannot take your eyes off of. And for that reason, he would not be a good fit, as he cannot help but draw attention to himself...it's not necessarily intentional, it"s just who he is, so that's not a criticism. But I honestly don't believe having someone who naturally, intrinsically draws so much attention to himself would work with the current lineup.

    So, don't get me wrong: I love his work in (and out of) Crimson. But I just don't think he's a good fit for the current lineup with its very specific vision.

    So yeah, I'd give the current band a chance and I think a great place to start is Meltdown, Live in Mexico, as you'll be able to see what I mean about the band with the video content, and (hopefully) get yer socks knocked off by the audio.... :j
    John Kelman
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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    As for Belew getting screwed? I would humbly suggest that particular situation was a lot more complex than guys like you and I are privy to.
    I don't follow the internal politics of groups so a very large amount of that stuff I simply don't know. As for your suggestion, I will listen.
    No matter what anyone says, you are the decider of how you will listen to music.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Splicer View Post
    I don't follow the internal politics of groups so a very large amount of that stuff I simply don't know. As for your suggestion, I will listen.
    Good deal. I only waxed on because you said:

    I will admit that I've had a visceral reaction to Jakko since I had a "Adrian got screwed" attitude about the band
    But if you don't follow such stuff, I think that's a good thing. I don't either, but there was so much ballyhoo and brouhaha here when it happened that if you were interested in Crimson it was hard to miss. Personally I don't care about their inner machinations beyond how they make their music.

    If you check the current band out, pls post your thoughts here; I'm curious what you think.
    Cheers!
    John
    John Kelman
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  16. #16
    Member Gizmotron's Avatar
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    Dang!
    What a great review! I too feel you knocked it out of the park because of all the back-history and explanations.

    I want to get this!

    I just marvel at your knowledge and ability to write so well.
    To appropriate the old “Butch Cassidy” line, you have vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals.

  17. #17
    It might be interesting to listen to the original versions of Before I Met You and It Would All Make Sense on the second Fjieri-album Words Are All We have on which Jakko has an important role:



    Love that album!

  18. #18
    If this is as close as we get to a new KC studio album, then I'm happy.

    The album, of course, stands on its own, independent of the shadow of Crim.

    Great follow-up to Bruised Romantic.
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by interbellum View Post
    It might be interesting to listen to the original versions of Before I Met You and It Would All Make Sense on the second Fjieri-album Words Are All We have on which Jakko has an important role:



    Love that album!
    Yes, which is why the two members are credited on Secrets & Lies, though Jakko told me he re-recorded it and it's apparently quite different. I'll have to give these a listen, thanks!!
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
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  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotron View Post
    Dang!
    What a great review! I too feel you knocked it out of the park because of all the back-history and explanations.

    I want to get this!

    I just marvel at your knowledge and ability to write so well.
    To appropriate the old “Butch Cassidy” line, you have vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals.
    That's very kind of you (FYI, I just wrapped my review of the new Crimson 1969 box, and decided not to re-cover the Original Master, 40th or 50th anniversary reissues as I've already covered them in great detail), many thanks!

    So the reviews, which will run tomorrow, focuses largely on the live material, recording session reels and Giles, Giles & Fripp, with links to the earlier reviews at the end. I still do some coverage to synopsize the othher stuff, but I really wanted to focus more on KC Mark I as an improvising unit, the remarkably meticulous recording of ITCOTCK, etc, so I do..again, in great detail.

    The truth is, as kind as it is of you to say, my only responses are: first, I really can't write any other way (!), and absolutely love diving deeply into the music in ways shorter reviews won't permit, including the actual process of making it; and second, I've been a music freak, geek and every other pathological description you can use since I was 10, so have almost 55 years behind me (!). I may seem to know a lot about this stuff, but I the truth is I can tell you all kinds of things about music...but know oh so very little about just about anything else (heck I can rarely even tell you what I will be doing in an hour!!

    Also, when I began writing about music in earnest, I followed the Stephen King school of writing: for 2-3 years, I literally wrote eight hours every day, barring the very few occasions where I couldn't (having a tremendously supportive wife has really helped too). The truth is, like learning an instrument, if you have any aptitude at all, doing it for eight hours a day every day? You can't help but get better. It also helps that I've a couple of good friends who are "lifer" writers, and have been both kind enough to provide constructive assistance and inspire me with every piece of writing that they publish.

    Anyway, it's very kind of you to say, but also, I learn plenty from people here...your good self included!
    Cheers!
    J
    Last edited by jkelman; 10-30-2020 at 09:05 PM.
    John Kelman
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    Freelance writer/photographer

  21. #21
    Another tune that isn't new is The Borders We Traded which was featured first on Jakko's Mustard Gas And Roses (1994). On that version he did everything, but on other tracks from that albumhe's being accompanied by Danny Thompson, Mick Karn, Richard Barbieri, B.J. Cole, Gavin Harrison (already) and Ed Poole.

    The original tracks from Fjieri are quite lovely partly due to the fantastic bass-work of co-writer Lori, which was very much in the honour of Mick Karn.
    I guess you've noticed there's a typo in the booklet. Both tracks from co-written by Lori and Stefano Panunzi have the latter written as Panuzi.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by interbellum View Post
    Another tune that isn't new is The Borders We Traded which was featured first on Jakko's Mustard Gas And Roses (1994). On that version he did everything, but on other tracks from that albumhe's being accompanied by Danny Thompson, Mick Karn, Richard Barbieri, B.J. Cole, Gavin Harrison (already) and Ed Poole.

    The original tracks from Fjieri are quite lovely partly due to the fantastic bass-work of co-writer Lori, which was very much in the honour of Mick Karn.
    I guess you've noticed there's a typo in the booklet. Both tracks from co-written by Lori and Stefano Panunzi have the latter written as Panuzi.
    Actually, I'm still waiting on my finished copy. InsideOut provides digital download promos, and Jakko sent me some pre+edited notes so I don't know it I spelled that name correctly...,I'd better check!!
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    Actually, I'm still waiting on my finished copy. InsideOut provides digital download promos, and Jakko sent me some pre+edited notes so I don't know it I spelled that name correctly...,I'd better check!!
    You did well, John.
    Got my copy from Burning Shed this week.
    B.t.w. it was curious I saw the name of Stefano Panunzi written twice wrong: in this booklet and in the latest edition of the Dutch prog-magazine iO Pages. In the latter is an interview with Tim Bowness. In his selected discography the album The Rose (2009) is included and here the name is spelled Penunzi :-)

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by interbellum View Post
    You did well, John.

    Well, you (and I) can thank Jakko for that!
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  25. #25
    Member rickawakeman's Avatar
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    This has been in heavy rotation at Chez Rick since I picked it up weekend before last.

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