Jakko Jakszyk (pronounced Jack-chick) had a life-changing moment when he saw King Crimson playing Watford Town Hall on the 15th July 1971. Hearing the band that night instilled in the 13-year-old Jakko a determination to become a professional musician, setting him off on the road to what has been by any definition a remarkable career.
From reaching the finals of Melody Maker’s Battle of the Bands with his band, Soon After in 1975, he later formed art-rock outfit, 64 Spoons, once memorably described in the Melody Maker as ‘Stravinsky meets the Barron Knights,’ and later was signed to Stiff Records as a solo artist and a tour with Canterbury Scene legends Dave Stewart and Pip Pyle as a member of Rapid Eye Movement. Named by Guitarist Magazine as one of the top guitarists in the 1980s, his playing caught the attention of the legendary jazz guitarist Allan Holdsworth, who recommended him as his replacement in Level 42 with whom Jakko recorded and played live with for four years in the early 1990s.
A talented multi-instrumentalist his ability to work within the rigours of avant-garde rock through to sleek, intelligent pop have seen him work with a wide and diverse array of artists that includes Golden Palomino’s Anton Fier, Mica Paris, Tom Robinson, Peter Blegvad, Henry Cow’s John Greaves, Japan’s Mick Karn, and Richard Barbieri, Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin, Steve Hackett and Steven Wilson.
BBC 3 Radio commissioned him to create experimental colleges, The Church Of Lanza and the autobiographical The Road To Ballina, which explored the adopted Jakszyk’s search for his birth mother. Both were nominated for the prestigious Sony Radio Awards. In 2015 he was commissioned to write a musical fantasy around the real-life meeting of TS Eliot and Groucho Marx, starring Sir Lenny Henry for BBC Radio 3’s Between The Ears show.
In 2002 Jakko was a co-founder of the 21st Century Schizoid Band featuring ex-Crimson members Ian McDonald, Michael Giles, Peter Giles, Mel Collins, and later Ian Wallace, performing Crimson repertoire.
In 2006 Jakko released The Bruised Romantic Glee Club, a double CD featuring one disc of original material with a stellar cast list that included the legendary bassist Danny Thomas, Gavin Harrison, Robert Fripp, and others. Disc Two explored Jakko’s love of bands such as Soft Machine, King Crimson, and Henry Cow with distinctive cover versions of some of his favourite material from the Canterbury scene that included guests such as Hugh Hopper, Dave Stewart, Clive Brooks, Ian Wallace, Mel Collins, and Fripp.
After receiving an invitation to play with Fripp the pair recorded a series of improvised pieces which were then crafted into the core material for the Jakszyk, Fripp & Collins album, A Scarcity Of Miracles, released in 2011 and presented as a King Crimson ProjeKct. Featuring Tony Levin and Gavin Harrison it led directly to Fripp recruiting Jakszyk to become a full-time member of the newly convened King Crimson in 2013.
A recipient of the 'Chris Squire Virtuoso award' at the 2017 Progressive Music Awards at Shakespeare's Globe in London, Jakszyk has also earned a reputation as an in-demand remixing engineer and producer. In this role, he has been commissioned to remix several classic progressive rock albums in stereo and 5.1 surround sound including ELP’s Trilogy and Brain Salad Surgery, Chris Squire’s Fish Out Of Water, King Crimson’s THRAK, The Moody Blues’ In Search Of The Lost Chord and several in-concert performances of Jethro Tull included on the multi-disc reissues for Songs From The Wood, Heavy Horses, Minstrel In The Gallery and others.
Jakko continues to record and release solo recordings. 2020’s Secret And Lies for the InsideOut Music label, contains two tracks, Separation and Uncertain Times originating from King Crimson's writing sessions. Secrets And Lies balances sensitive writing, musical technique, and accessible tunes cast in an impressively cinematic sound world. Boasting guest contributions from Simple Minds’ bassist John Giblin, Level 42’s Mark King, and Van der Graff Generator’s Peter Hammill, who co-wrote one of the songs, it stands as Jakko’s most accomplished solo release to date.
Jakko Jakszyk with King Crimson
Live At the Orpheum (2014)
Live In Toronto 2015 (2016)
Radical Action To Unseat The Hold Of Monkey Mind (2016)
Live In Chicago (2017)
Live in Vienna (2018)
Meltdown: Live In Mexico City (2018)
Music Is Our Friend: Live In Washington and Albany, 2021 (2021)