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Jerry Goodman - Jerry Goodman & Jan Hammer: Like Children CD (album) cover


Jerry Goodman


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.01 | 22 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Mahavishnu Orchestra fans rejoice! I know a lot of people were sad to see the original MO lineup dissolve, even though the second incarnation was equally fantastic, albeit in a different way. Fans who have a jones for more original Mahavishnu should look for this record. Jan Hammer, the virtuoso keyboardist known for his guitaristic signature Moog lead tones, and fiery violinist Jerry Goodman teamed up for this record - I'd love to know exactly how the conversation started, especially considering that two of these tunes - "Steppings Tones" (written by Mahavishnu bassist Rick Laird) and "I Wonder" - had been previously recorded and performed live by Mahavishnu Orchestra in the last days of the original lineup's existence. Perhaps they knew that the studio versions of those tunes, as recorded by Mahavishnu, were going to languish in Columbia Records' vaults (Until 1999, that is, when they were finally released on "The Lost Trident Sessions").

My experience with this album is unique in that I have been a Mahavishnu fan for over half of my life (since age 13!), and while I knew about this record, I was never able to find a copy, as it was long out of print by that time. I digested every note of every Mahavishnu Orchestra album I could get my hands on, but the enduring influence was always Jan Hammer and his beautiful Moog and Rhodes piano playing. I grabbed every record I could find that Jan played on, including the recordings with Jeff Beck - beginning with the live album "Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group LIVE".

Usually on a live album, an artist or group performs songs from their studio albums. I always wondered what studio album "Earth (Still Our Only Home)" and "Full Moon Boogie" came from, as I had all the Jan Hammer Group LPs, and they weren't on any of those. It never dawned on me to keep seeking out "Like Children".

Long story short; I finally have this record after all these years...I cannot describe what a trip it is to hear this now, since some of these tunes have literally shaped my musical taste (and my playing). It's like discovering a lost Mahavishnu album (another one ;-))!

So...what's it sound like?

Well, it's actually kind of quirky! The weird vocals that I never could understand on the Jeff Beck/ Jan Hammer live version of "Earth (Still Our Only Home)" are present here, sung by both Hammer and Goodman. They also sing on "Like Children" and "Full Moon Boogie", while Jerry Goodman sings solo on "Giving In Gently". The vocals are tucked pretty far back in the mix, with tons of echo added...I suppose to obscure the fact that neither Hammer or Goodman are world-class vocalists. Goodman really does a nice job on "Giving In Gently" though. Heartfelt and moving.

Jerry Goodman, in addition to being the Jimi Hendrix of violin, also plays guitar. While he's certainly no John McLaughlin, he definitely holds his own, even dueling with himself, Mahavishnu-style, on tunes like "Topeka". Jan Hammer plays everything else - keyboards (including Moog bass) and drums. He's not Billy Cobham, but I really enjoy his playing style. It has a recklessness to it that I really dig, similar to Stevie Wonder's drumming, albeit a bit more complex.

I bet this record was really fun to make. A truly collaborative effort.

Stylistically, it's all over the map, with Jan Hammer's full-on synth explorations via Oberheim digital sequencer, Minimoog, etc on "No Fear" (how he was able to do all those ostinati with a 256-note sequencer is mind-boggling) , Atmospheric, abstract tone poems such as "I Remember Me" and "Night", and fun stuff like "Country and Eastern Music" and "Full Moon Boogie". "Topeka" sounds like it would have been a Mahavishnu tune if John McLaughlin had given it half a chance.

Some of these tunes were recorded previously, as mentioned earlier, and some were recorded later. "Earth (Still Our Only Home)" is much slower and funkier here, but is lacking the energy of the Jeff Beck/Jan Hammer Live version (not to mention Beck's guitar stylings). "Full Moon Boogie" is almost a disaster here compared to the live version from the aforementioned album - not only is the groove better on the live recording, the vocals here sound almost like a joke. "Steppings Tones" was better played by Mahavishnu Orchestra. Since it's such a tightly-structured piece, it really benefits from a full band texture (and McLaughlin's guitar and Cobham's drums don't hurt).

However, I much prefer this rendition of Goodman's "I Wonder" here - it serves as a perfect segue from the moving, beautiful melodic "Giving In Gently", and the arrangement has more of a "rock" edge to it, partly due to Hammer's simple (but not simplistic) driving drums. Goodman contributes a very competent guitar solo to this tune. The emotional impact of the piece really works in this context, and is a great way to end a great record.

All in all, this is a fun experimental record, with plenty of stuff that will be of interest not only to Mahavishnu Orchestra fans, but to all fans of great music.

This has finally been reissued on CD by Wounded Bird yourself a favor and get it!

themootbooxle | 4/5 |


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