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THE FIRST SEVEN DAYS

Jan Hammer

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Jan Hammer The First Seven Days album cover
3.96 | 29 ratings | 6 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing


1. Darkness/Earth In Search Of A Sun (4:31)
2. Light/Sun (6:44)
3. Oceans And Continents (6:16)
4. Fourth Day - Plants And Trees (2:46)
5. The Animals (6:14)
6. Sixth Day - The People (7:15)
7. The Seventh Day (6:11)

Total Time 40:08

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians


- Jan Hammer / piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano, Moog Synthesizer, Oberheim synthesizer and digital sequencer, drums, percussion, Freeman string synthesizer, Mellotron
- David Earle Johnson / congas and percussion on 5, 6
- Steve Kindler / violin on 2, 5, 6, 7

Releases information

LP 1975 Sony Music Entertainment Inc.
(Reissued on CD in 2003 by COLUMBIA/LEGACY)

Thanks to ANDREW for the addition
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JAN HAMMER The First Seven Days ratings distribution


3.96
(29 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
24%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
45%
Good, but non-essential (28%)
28%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)
3%

JAN HAMMER The First Seven Days reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Here's one of those rare albums that not only sounds just as good as it did in 1975, but has actually improved with age. The first solo project by the keyboard ace of the original MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA was (by Prog standards) only a modest instrumental concept album at the time, which might be one reason why it plays so well over 30 years later.

Maybe there were just too many keyboard virtuosos strutting their stuff in the mid 1970s, and an undemonstrative artist like Hammer was simply lost behind the glare of all those sequined capes. And maybe a little time and distance were needed to best appreciate the seamless blend here of so many different influences: prog rock, jazz-rock fusion, world music, middle-European folk songs (Hammer was a native Czech), the Western classical- orchestral tradition, and of course all the emerging trends of late 20th century electronica.

Or maybe, in retrospect, it's simply the glorious sound of all those vintage analog keyboards. The sonorous mini-moog and mellotron intro to "Darkness/Earth in Search of a Sun" has to be one of the more dramatic album openers in modern rock, and when the sequencers rev into action and the drums (played by Hammer himself) kick in, it's hard not to experience a twin shiver of nostalgia and exhilaration.

The album is loosely drawn around the biblical myth of Genesis, with each of the seven tracks representing another day of creation. But don't worry, there's no religious agenda behind it: Hammer admits in his liner notes he was only looking for an excuse to record an LP's worth of music, and besides (he adds), each metaphorical day might have actually lasted several million years. After all, wasn't the sun itself supposedly made on the third day?

The music itself might be said to be its own eloquent act of creation. It helped to jump-start what continues to be an incredibly prolific career: check out the dizzying list of Hammer projects, both solo and in collaboration, on his pages here at Prog Archives. It's an impressive résumé to be sure, but at the top of the list his debut effort still stands apart as something truly special.

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Send comments to Neu!mann (BETA) | Report this review (#106294) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, January 06, 2007

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars First post-MO album from Hammer, and a bit of a surprise move, away from the usual JR/F that we expect from him. While there are jazzy touches on TF7D, this is definitely more of an electronic music album, probably the one that gave him his electronic wizard reputation. Coming with an acclaimed artwork (although I find it completely average and even borderline overly naïve), this is a concept album (Jan disclaims it, but it's tough not thinking of it as such) that relates the Christian genesis of our world, without the religious content. This was his first shot at producing an album, and he did so in his brand new studio at home, somewhere in upstate New York and he plays every instruments on it, which means a wide array of keyboards and drums/percussions.

The album starts on some strong mini-moog, mellotron-filled track In Search Of A Sun, but the following Sun/Light is less enthralling, with the Sun part an unconvincing piano piece, while the Light sounds like it comes from rejected Tomita tapes, although this is not as violent a criticism you would believe (early Tomita s extraordinary stuff). Similarly to Sun, I find Oceans And Continents boring repetitive piano pieces, sometimes interrupted by a clumsy Wakeman or Emerson personification on synths over a bunch of synth layers. Plants and Trees sound like a Debussy piano piece (although Hammer was probably thinking more of Dvorak when writing it).

The flipside starts on the third day and Animals. The anachronic jungle beats might induce you to hear wild animals, but normally there is no humans yet to make these drum beats yet. I find this piece quite clumsy and dated, no matter my previous remark. The People has Jan playing some violin (real? 'cos the guitars on the second track was fake), while Seventh Day returns to the uneventful Sunday of a certain creator already bored of his new toy. Maybe Jan was bored as well.

While I've always respected Hammer's career and achievements, I've often been irritated at how some people make him out to be such a wizard of electronic music and especially at calling this album a masterpiece to be filed among the best. It would be easy to say that somehow Hammer missed the nail with this album, but it's more complex than that!! While TF7D is a good album, we're far away from the Germans, or Isao Tomita, etc. let alone some of the more adventurous Hancock in terms of electronics: Hancock's electronics in Mwandishi and much later with Rock It is certainly a worthy answer to Hammer's Miami Vice (BTW: I find both pieces atrocious piece of 80's crap). While usually hailed as a masterpiece by many, I beg to differ about this album, but I'm one in a small minority... But don't say I didn't warn you.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#184252) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I wasn't expecting this when I picked this up. The former keyboardist for MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA has created an album here that is almost the polar oposite to what his former band used to release. Maybe that isn't too surprising since they didn't breakup in exactly the best of terms as it seemed to be a McLaughlin versus the rest of the band attitude before they folded the tent. So yeah none of that high energy, intense fusion that we were used to hearing. I always think of this guy that came in my store a few years ago and we got talking about music and MAHAVISHNU ORHESTRA came up and he related how he couldn't listen to "Birds Of Fire" all the way through because it just too much for him. I was grinning when he told me that. It was just too overwelming for him. He should listen to "The First Seven Days" because this is about as laid back as your going to get. In fact I kept thinking of Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays' "When Witchita Falls..." album. This was the first record Jan produced for himself in his newly built studio in his home in upstate New York.This is all about Hammer and the variety of keyboards he employed including piano, Fender Rhodes, electric piano, moog, sequencers, synths, string synths and mellotron. While I wouldn't call this a mellotron album it is on all but one track but it's used in the background usually. I do like when the mellotron choirs come to the fore though.There is a guest percussionist and violinist helping out as well.

"Darkness / Earth In Search Of Sun" opens with a spacey atmosphere including mellotron.The synths start to kick in before 2 1/2 minutes followed by drums as the atmosphere disappears.Great sound ! Jan describes this song as feeling like your lost groping in the dark when suddenly this gigantic globe which is slowly spinning reveals itself. "Light / Sun" opens with piano then it turns spacey before 2 minutes as the piano stops.The tempo picks up 4 minutes in then back to that spacey sound after 5 1/2 minutes.

"Oceans And Continents" is as Jan describes "Probably the most visual piece on the whole album, this goes back to Van Gogh, painting vast brush strokes from left to right and as far as the eye can see, a landscape painting". Piano to start then these intricate sounds come in after 2 minutes. "Fourth Day-Plants And Trees" is a short, laid back piece that reminds Jan of his homeland. "The Animals" is percussion and synths led early on. Cool sound. A change 4 minutes in as it becomes a little more aggressive.

"Sixth Day- The People" is as Jan describes it "turning from pure acoustic into a much more lush electric thing, the entrance of people, humans". Mellotron ends this one in style. "The Seventh Day" is Jan's ode to joy so he says. Piano to start then it becomes fuller a minute in. Nice. Even fuller 5 1/2 minutes in.

A good album that i have to be in the right mood for. A low 4 stars but this one is an interesting and laid back listen.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#497789) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, August 05, 2011

Latest members reviews

5 stars Wonderful album, one of the all-time greats in progressive music (at least in this jazz-rock oriented sub-genre) and, in my opinion, highly underestimated. It would be, however, classified predominantly as progressive-electronic because the presence of fusion and jazz elements is more difficult to ... (read more)

Report this review (#322208) | Posted by Koper | Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Jan Hammer: The First Seven Days - Fresh from working with the much lauded John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, the time was right for Hammer to explore the limits of the new fusion of jazz, rock, and world music (before it even had name) on his own. The album and song titles are simpl ... (read more)

Report this review (#125481) | Posted by convocation | Monday, June 11, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars First a note of thanks - it was only through recommendations on this site that I heard of this album. Labels can be unfair - there's really only two kinds of music, good or bad - but if we are attaching labels then this album strictly falls under the category of symphonic rather than jazz/ ... (read more)

Report this review (#72167) | Posted by Phil | Friday, March 17, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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