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JAN HAMMER

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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Jan Hammer biography
Country: USA (birth Place: Prague, Czechoslovakia, but now USA Citizen)

Genre: Jazz Rock Fusion/ Electronica



One of the major keyboard players of the last 35 years, JAN HAMMER has one of the most distinctive sounds and styles in the jazz rock and electronica. Indeed his career can almost be split into the earlier jazz & jazz rock and the later electronica periods, although through his very extensive session work, a man working many fields of music can be heard. As soon as you play one of his own records or one of the many records he has guested, you know immediately he is there.

Jan Hammer was born 17th April 1948, playing piano at the age of four, and by the age of 6 he was receiving formal classical training. At the age of 14 JAN was performing and recording professionally through the former Iron Curtain countries. He formed the JUNIOR TRIO in high school with bassist MIROSLAV VITOUS (future founding member of WEATHER REPORT and drummer ALAN VITOUS. Both JAN and MIROSLAV attended the Prague Academy of Muse Ans, devouring classes in harmony, counterpoint, music history, and classical composition. They both won scholarships to the Berklee School of Music in Boston, and with JAN's arrival in the United States in the summer of 1968, on the heels of the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia, JAN HAMMER immediately made up his mind to become a U.S. citizen, doing so soon after.

JAN HAMMER is a multi-talented, multi-facetted musician, who's talent range from being keyboardist/conductor with jazz diva SARAH VAUGHAN pre-MAHAVISHNU, to guesting on a thrash metal fusion album by the UK band NETWORK in the mid 90's - and most points in between. He has graced many jazz rock fusion albums of the 70's (playing both keyboards and drums at times), and been most successful in using his musical skills to TV theme music, and shown that this doesn't have to be mediocre wall paper, and so otherwise be easily forgotten.

JAN HAMMER's musical career has been based firmly on developing the classical, jazz and rock repertoire. Following his Berklee period work in the jazz field, he became one of the founder members of the MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA, one of the most successful jazz rock groups of the early 70's. However, during his tenure, he increasingly became frustrated that few of his compositions were used (e.g. 'Sister Andrea'), as was BILLY COBHAM, and at the same time bemused by the spiritual path taken by JOHN MCLAUGHLIN; (stories abound...
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Buy JAN HAMMER Music


Miami Vice: Music From the Television SeriesMiami Vice: Music From the Television Series
Soundtrack
MCA Records 1990
Audio CD$3.29
$1.00 (used)
Escape From TelevisionEscape From Television
Soundtrack
Mca 1990
Audio CD$6.90
$0.34 (used)
First Seven DaysFirst Seven Days
Sbme Special Mkts. 2008
Audio CD$3.05
$2.57 (used)
Oh YeahOh Yeah
Wounded Bird Records 2006
Audio CD$9.88
$7.78 (used)
Best of Miami ViceBest of Miami Vice
Soundtrack
Aao Music 2004
Audio CD$10.71
$5.73 (used)
Chancer 7 Inch (7Chancer 7 Inch (7" Vinyl 45) UK MCA 1990
Mca
Vinyl$9.18 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
JEFF BECK FLASH ROD STEWART JAN HAMMER EPIC 1985 CANADA PRESS NEAR MINT US $3.99 Buy It Now 1h 7m
VINYL 7" SINGLE - CROCKETT'S THEME - JAN HAMMER - MCA1193 US $11.95 Buy It Now 2h 26m
vintage Miami Vice Vinyl Disc LP Record Album Jan Hammer Sep-1985 MCA-6150 US $0.99 [1 bids]
4h 48m
NETWORK - L.N.C. LNC CD (NEW Jazz 2000) Jan Hammer/Sven Olafson/Tim Crowther US $2.45 Buy It Now 5h 38m
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Jan Hammer Group Melodies lp,ORIGINAL LYRICS INNER, NO SPINDLE HOLES MARKS, NM! US $24.95 Buy It Now 6h 34m
JERRY GOODMAN Jan Hammer Orig 1974 "Like Children" LP NM- US $14.99 Buy It Now 7h 53m
Jan Hammer(7" Vinyl P/S)Miami Vice-MCA-MCA 1000-UK-VG+/VG+ US $10.99 Buy It Now 8h 18m
JAN HAMMER crockett's theme 9 am mix MCST 1541 uk mca 1991 12" WS EX/ US $15.37 Buy It Now 8h 28m
NEAL SCHON / JAN HAMMER "NO MORE LIES" 45 RPM US $3.99 Buy It Now 9h 47m
WL Promo 1977 JEFF BECK WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP live LP Mint- WLP PE 34433 US $16.80 Buy It Now 10h 7m
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JAN HAMMER ~ Escape From Television ~ VINYL LP US $6.82 Buy It Now 11h
1973 JAZZ ROCK FUSION Mahavishnu Orchestra Birds Of Fire Jan Hammer Vinyl LP @ US $1.99 Buy It Now 11h 11m
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12h 9m
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US $8.00 Buy It Now
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JAN HAMMER GROUP Oh, Yeah? Prog jazz fusion 10 days Lp US $4.26 [0 bids]
14h
Jeff Beck Jan Hammer Live PE34433 Epic White Lable Promo 1977 Stereo Jazz Fusion US $39.98 Buy It Now 14h 5m
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Jan Hammer "Crockett´s Theme" 1985 West German 7 INCH MINT RARE NEW OUT OF PRINT US $9.99 Buy It Now 15h 40m
JEFF BECK WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP live LP Mint- PE 34433 1977 US $11.99 Buy It Now 15h 47m
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Jan Hammer - Escape From Television - MCA #310802 US $5.11 Buy It Now 16h 48m
Jerry Goodman and Jan Hammer Like Childer US $4.00 [0 bids]
US $10.00 Buy It Now
18h 12m
JEFF BECK WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP VINYL LP LIVE EPIC US $2.00 [0 bids]
19h 14m
Timeless by John Abercrombie Jan Hammer Jack De Johnette OOP ECM 1047 US $16.00 [0 bids]
US $21.00 Buy It Now
19h 32m
John Abercrombie Timeless CD Jan Hammer and Jack De Johnette US $21.99 Buy It Now 19h 41m
LP Jazz-Rock JAN HAMMER GROUP Live 1978 Nemperor 424 PROMO ONLY US $19.99 Buy It Now 20h 43m
Miami Vice 12" LP 1985 VG++ Eagles Genesis Jan Hammer Nice Vintage Wax US $2.99 [0 bids]
20h 51m
Neil Schon & Jan Hammer Untold Passion 12" LP 1981 CBS FC 37600 VG+/VG++ US $3.99 [0 bids]
21h 10m
"Something Else" Jeremy Steig with Jan Hammer *NEAR MINT* 1989 Jazz CD US $22.47 Buy It Now 21h 24m
Stanley Clarke-Self Titled-Original 1974 Nemporer LP-Jan Hammer-Excellent Minus US $3.99 [0 bids]
21h 31m
Jeff Beck?LP?JAFF BECK WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP LIVE?w/Obi?japan?EX?!! US $14.99 Buy It Now 22h 30m
Jan Hammer - Beyond the Mind's Eye New Sealed Cassette US $24.50 Buy It Now 22h 30m
NEAL SCHON & JAN HAMMER HERE TO STAY cbs 83 A1B1 Lp +insert EX+ US $10.24 Buy It Now 1 day
DAVID FOSTER @RARE 1994-06 CD (Jan Hammer/Michael Kamen/Bolton/Thompson/Toto/Aor US $16.95 [0 bids]
1 day
JERRY GOODMAN & JAN HAMMER "Like Children" - LP1974 NEMPEROR NE 430 - NM US $12.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Escape from Television by Jan Hammer (CD, Oct-1990, MCA (USA)) US $3.50 Buy It Now 1 day
NEIL SCHON and JAN HAMMER LP Here to stay 1982 Columbia journey US $3.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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JAN HAMMER *DJ COPY* "OH, PRETTY WOMAN" 45 RPM US $4.49 Buy It Now 1 day
Jeff Beck-Livw w/Jan Hammer WLP Promo LP w/Timing Sheet Gold Stamp Near Mint US $22.98 [0 bids]
1 day
JAN HAMMER runner / before the storm VERY GOOD (VINYL 7' SGLE) US $9.39 Buy It Now 1 day
Miami Vice 2 - Phil Collins, Jan Hammer - Promo LP US $42.50 Buy It Now 1 day
Glenn Frey Jan Hammer ORIGINAL publicity PROMO photo press slide negative #3840 US $8.55 Buy It Now 1 day
Jan Hammer Escape From Television vinyl record MCA-42103 US $20.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Jan Hammer LP Oh Yeah US $4.49 Buy It Now 1 day
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The First Seven Days [Remaster] by Jan Hammer (CD, Legacy) US $3.43 Buy It Now 1 day
BILLY COBHAM SPECTRUM LP RECORD TOMMY BOLIN JAN HAMMER RON CARTER JAZZ FUSION+EX US $3.72 [0 bids]
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Jan Hammer "Miami Vice" Promo 12" !! US $1.99 [0 bids]
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JEFF BECK WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP LIVE AL 34433 VINYL LP 1977 FUSION VG++!! US $7.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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Crockett's Theme Jan Hammer UK 7" vinyl single record MCA1541 MCA 1991 US $18.71 Buy It Now 2 days
JEFF BECK WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP LIVE! LP 683 US $8.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Jan Hammer - The Best Of Miami Vice CD (2004) US $13.66 Buy It Now 2 days
Network L.N.C. CD NEW 2000 Jazz Rock Jan Hammer US $5.11 Buy It Now 2 days
Jan Hammer : Beyond the Minds Eye CD (1992) US $4.39 Buy It Now 2 days
V.A. Summer Jammin' 97 w/ DJ Jazzy, Jan Hammer, Eddy Grant and more US $2.95 [0 bids]
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JEFF BECK : WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP LIVE (INSERT) (34433) - RARITIES US $7.99 [0 bids]
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JOHN GOODMAN & JAN HAMMER : LIKE CHILDREN (430) - RARITIES US $8.99 [0 bids]
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JAN HAMMER GROUP : OH, YEAH ? (437) - RARITIES US $6.99 [0 bids]
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V.A. The Heat Is On Cd in Round Tin Box W/ Mink Deville,Glenn Frey,Jan Hammer US $6.95 [0 bids]
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JAN HAMMER : THE FIRST SEVEN DAYS (432) - RARITIES US $6.99 [0 bids]
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JAN HAMMER GROUP**OH YEAH?**CD US $12.50 Buy It Now 2 days
JERRY GOODMAN & JAN HAMMER**LIKE CHILDREN**CD US $12.50 Buy It Now 2 days
BILLY COBHAM Spectrum TOMMY BOLIN JOE FARRELL JAN HAMMER jazz funk fusion '74 LP US $15.95 Buy It Now 2 days
The First Seven Days by Jan Hammer [Vinyl VG+ / VG+] US $18.00 Buy It Now 2 days
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JAN HAMMER escape from television VINYL rarest GERMANY IMPORT great shape 1986 US $6.99 [0 bids]
US $12.99 Buy It Now
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JAN HAMMER-Escape From Television-CD-MCA cd album US $1.69 [0 bids]
2 days
JAN HAMMER Oh Yeah? Steve Kindler Fernando Saunders Tony Smith Nemperor LP US $7.97 Buy It Now 2 days
JERRY GOODMAN & JAN HAMMER Like Children Nemperor LP Mahavishnu US $7.97 Buy It Now 2 days
JAN HAMMER The First Seven Days Steve Kindler Nemperor LP Mahavishnu US $5.97 Buy It Now 2 days
SCHON & HAMMER HERE TO STAY VINYL LP COLUMBIA NEAL SCHON JAN HAMMER NM NEAR MINT US $12.95 Buy It Now 2 days
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NEAL SCHON (JOURNEY) AND JAN HAMMER 12" Promo Wasting Time / I'm Talking To You US $3.99 Buy It Now 2 days
NEAL SCHON of JOURNEY & JAN HAMMER Japan 1983 LP+Ob HERE TO STAY US $15.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Jan Hammer 45 Miami Vic Theme US $2.00 Buy It Now 2 days
"Classic Rock" "Jan Hammer Group" "Oh, Yeah?" "Rare Lp" US $9.99 [0 bids]
2 days
JEFF BECK With Jan Hammer Group Live LP JAPAN EPIC 25AP359 with OBI! US $18.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Escape from Television by Jan Hammer (CD, Oct-1990, MCA (USA)) US $2.99 [0 bids]
2 days
JEFF BECK WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP VINYL LP LIVE EPIC US $4.99 [0 bids]
2 days
Beyond the Mind's Eye by Jan Hammer (Cassette, Miramar) NEW US $14.99 Buy It Now 2 days
With The Jan Hammer Group Live Jeff Beck UK vinyl LP album record EPC86025 US $23.86 Buy It Now 3 days
JAN HAMMER - "The First Seven Days" LP 1975 ORIG 1st US PRESS - IN SHRINK US $23.88 Buy It Now 3 days
Jan Hammer - Miami Vice Theme (12514) MCA Records (1985) MCA 1000 - 7" Vinyl 45 US $6.29 Buy It Now 3 days
Jeff Beck with The Jan Hammer Group - LP US $7.99 Buy It Now 3 days

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JAN HAMMER shows & tickets


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JAN HAMMER discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

JAN HAMMER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 2 ratings
Make Love
1968
3.96 | 28 ratings
The First Seven Days
1975
4.35 | 52 ratings
Oh Yeah!
1976
3.67 | 6 ratings
Melodies
1977
2.05 | 3 ratings
Black Sheep
1978
4.00 | 1 ratings
David Earle Johnson with Jan Hammer: Time Is Free
1978
2.50 | 2 ratings
Hammer
1979
4.00 | 2 ratings
Hip Address (with David Earle Johnson)
1980
3.04 | 5 ratings
Untold Passion (with Neal Schon)
1981
4.00 | 1 ratings
Here to Stay (with Neal Schon)
1983
1.29 | 5 ratings
Music From The Television Series "Miami Vice" ("Miami Vice I")
1985
2.00 | 2 ratings
Snapshots
1989
1.26 | 4 ratings
Beyond the Mind's Eye
1992
1.24 | 6 ratings
Drive
1994
3.50 | 2 ratings
Snapshots 1.2
2000

JAN HAMMER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
Live in New York
2008

JAN HAMMER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

JAN HAMMER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 2 ratings
The Early Years
1986
3.04 | 5 ratings
Escape from Television
1986
5.00 | 1 ratings
No More Lies (with Neal Schon)
1998
3.00 | 1 ratings
Miami Vice: The Complete Collection
2002
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Best Of Miami Vice
2004

JAN HAMMER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Cocaine Cowboys
2007

JAN HAMMER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Oh Yeah! by HAMMER, JAN album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.35 | 52 ratings

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Oh Yeah!
Jan Hammer Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Jan Hammer unleashes a funky style of fusion on Oh Yeah? which sets it aside from his previous solo effort (The First Seven Days), which was a more laid back affair. Whereas on The First Seven Days Hammer seemed to be working through some ideas which wouldn't have fit in the Mahavishnu context, here Hammer produces his own vision of where the Mahavishnu Orchestra's style of vision might have developed. (Notably, there's actual guitar this time around courtesy of Steve Kindler, though Hammer does use his synths to create a faux-guitar effect once again here too.) Invigorating stuff which will appeal to Mahavishnu Orchestra fans.

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 Oh Yeah! by HAMMER, JAN album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.35 | 52 ratings

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Oh Yeah!
Jan Hammer Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars It's Hammer time ! Oh yeah it is (groan). Sorry about that I just couldn't resist. I have to agree with Dick and Slarts on their thoughts and rating for this one.This is the [&*!#] people. I must say I was very surprised with this one after spending considerable time wih his previous album "The First Seven Days".That was such a laid back and subtle album, very intricate and very far away from what Jan's previous band MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA was doing. Well "Oh, Yeah ?" is very MAHAVISHNU-like. Actually it's like a MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA / Herbie Hancock hybrid. This is energetic, dynamic and lights out good. We even get a composition from Rick Laird.The drumming from Tony Smith is unbeliveable, and Steven Kindler on violin simply shreds. We get a percussionist as well, and then there is Hammer with his variety of keyboards and synths. He has this Minimoog-Oberheim synth combination that sounds just like a guitar.

"Magical Dog" has this fantastic keyboard intro as the violin comes and goes. Nice prominant bass too. It's all so crisp and intricate. A calm with electric piano and violin follows. Nice. Percussion joins in then it kicks back in around 2 1/2 minutes.This is an amazing section. It sounds like guitar before 5 minutes.

"One To One" is a vocal track with a funky groove. What up ! "Evolve" is the Laird composition.The bass, percussion and electric piano sound amazing.Violin joins in then check out the drumming before 1 1/2 minutes.Violin then leads, then synths, then back to violin. Electric piano and percussion end it.

"Oh,Yeah ?" opens with drums as bass and electric piano join in. Synths too in this catchy song. Violin after 3 minutes. Drums and vocal expressions end it. Nice. "Bambu Forest" is probably my favourite. It's dark and powerful to start and very MAHAVISHNU-like. Love the drum work here. It sounds like guitar wailing away before 2 minutes as it continues for some time.Violin 3 1/2 minutes in.

"Twenty One" has some incredible violin and drumming in it early on.The violin is ripping it up.The synths and drums lead before 3 1/2 minutes. Man this song is a show-case for the drummer. Amazing ! "Let The Children Grow" opens with piano as the vocals join in. It's fuller before 1 1/2 minutes as the contrasts continue. A catchy tune.

"Red And Orange" opens with some killer drum and bass work. Electric piano joins in then violin and percussion. Powerful stuff. Some crazy synths 6 minutes in. A top three track for me.

A must for JRF types.

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 The First Seven Days by HAMMER, JAN album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.96 | 28 ratings

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The First Seven Days
Jan Hammer Jazz Rock/Fusion

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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 Black Sheep by HAMMER, JAN album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.05 | 3 ratings

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Black Sheep
Jan Hammer Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

2 stars Please, Hammer, don't hurt us!

I can sort of understand what Jan hammer was trying to do on this album. Up to this point, he had been primarily playing fusion. But here he wanted to establish himself as a rock synthesist. And he almost succeeds. On Jet Stream, Heavy Love and Jimi Hendrix' own Manic Depression, he actually achieves a Hendrix-like tone. His problem is that his songs kind of suck. Lyrically lame, and dead sounding in production, I wonder if raising Jimi himself from the dead could have helped this album.

Besides a few decent solos, Light Of Dawn, a ballad is not bad. It sounds similar to some of the ballads Jack Bruce has recorded over the years.

My LP, bought used decades ago, still has the fifty cent price tag on it. I wonder if I paid too much.

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 Live in New York by HAMMER, JAN album cover Live, 2008
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Live in New York
Jan Hammer Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by DoctorNerve

4 stars Truely epic solos from Jan Hammer on this release. Red and Orange is simply on fire. Hammer throws down some fantastic solos. Steve Kindler lays down some impressive violin solos as well. Tony Smith is superb throughout. I Remember Me is another highlight for me. The drums and interplay are top notch. If you want to pick up some Jan Hammer post Mahavishnu Orchestra this is a good one to get. The only problem I have is the obvious editing on a few tracks... plus you just know there is more music out there from this show they had to have dropped for the release. HOT!

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 The First Seven Days by HAMMER, JAN album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.96 | 28 ratings

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The First Seven Days
Jan Hammer Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Koper

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 observe than in other Jan Hammer's albums (most significantly audible in "Plant and Trees" and "Animals"). Fortunately, Jan Hammer decided to resign here from the exploration of funky-territory and soul-like vocals like on albums "Like Children" and "Oh-Yeah!". "First Seven Days" is archetypical concept-album, where the myth of world creation from Holy Bible's Genesis is illustrated by seven tracks (days), different in terms of moods and styles. All tracks are clear-instrumental, full of strong melodies and complex rhythms. Opening ("Darkness") and final ("The Seventh Day") are exceptionally beautiful and emotional. Sound landscapes and sonoric detailsare highly refined as for 1975. Masterpiece, five stars.

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 Drive by HAMMER, JAN album cover Studio Album, 1994
1.24 | 6 ratings

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Drive
Jan Hammer Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

1 stars "Please Hammer, don't hurt us!"

Well there's not much chance of getting hurt from this handful of cotton balls that Jan Hammer is lobbing at us on this album. Yes, the once fiery keyboardist is now serving up ladles of cold bland soup. Even the presence of the great guitarist and long time Hammer cohort Jeff Beck can't raise the level of this turkey. Just turn on the weather channel, or that channel that only shows automated weather maps of your area, and listen to the bland background dreck. Quiet Storm? This isn't even a light drizzle. I know Hammer can do better than this.

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 The First Seven Days by HAMMER, JAN album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.96 | 28 ratings

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The First Seven Days
Jan Hammer Jazz Rock/Fusion

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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  Escape from Television by HAMMER, JAN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1986
3.04 | 5 ratings

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Escape from Television
Jan Hammer Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars There are a lot of things working against this album before it even gets out of the gate; the music on here was made in the 80s, a lot of 80s sounding early digital keyboards were used in it's making and the songs on this album were created to serve as background music for some cheezy 80s TV shows. The big suprise is that this album sounds pretty good, especially if you take it for what it is; background music.

This isn't a true soundtrack album, instead what we have on here are twelve seperate semi-pop instumental songs that contain great original sounding, and often melancholy, melodies wrapped up in excellent innovative arrangements. Usually 80s keyboards are annoying, but occaisonally they seem to fit 80s music better than classic 70s analog keyboards would. For instance, some of the better 80s Genesis songs have unique keyboard parts that actually fit the song better because Banks is using the thinner more plastic sounds of that era. It is all part of a weird principal in which if something that is usually bad works, than it works better than something that is usually good.

Not all of the songs on here are pop oriented, some get into world music territory and others sound like prog-rock lite, sometimes even sounding like an easy listening version of Hammer's old Mahavishnu Orchestra. This album is not for everyone, but there are some listening groups that might like this kind of odd instrumental album. First, it's possible that people who like slightly progressive 80s pop rock groups such as Genesis, Asia or Toto might like this album. Also, people who like lite-rock groups who play lite- classical pieces, for instance groups like Sky or Mannheim Steamroller. Finally, people who like that unique style where instrumental progressive rock meets exotic lounge music, ie Manzenera's Primitive Guitars, Bo Hanson's Lord of the Rings or Fripp and Summer's Bewitched, might be able to dig this album.

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 The Early Years by HAMMER, JAN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1986
3.00 | 2 ratings

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The Early Years
Jan Hammer Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Rainer Rein

3 stars This one is surprisingly important record. In my oppinion the best record of Jan Hammer's solo music ever! Compilations are almost always the most unimportant records of artists' discographies... But just the vinyl version of "The Early Years" (without tame "Oh Yeah" which is only on CD version) is the record where all of the most important compositions of Jan Hammer are included - there are really the best opuses of Jan Hammer from 1974-1977. 3,5 stars really!

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Thanks to dick heath for the artist addition.

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