JAN HAMMER
Classic Fusion / Jazz Related Improv/Composition / Pop Jazz/Crossover / Jazz Related Rock • Czech Republic

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Czech composer and polyinstrumentalist, born in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Because of the Russian invasion, in 1968 he went to the USA, where he started his musical career with the legendary Mahavishnu Orchestra. He worked with many different musicians, including Jeff Beck, Al DiMeola, Eric Clapton, Jerry Goodman, Mick Jagger and others. He also led his own Jan Hammer Group from 1976 till 1980. As a player, he is quickly recognizable for his excellent guitar-like solos. Jan Hammer is a famous music composer for many TV shows between the 1970s and 90s. The most famous one is Miami Vice, he wrote the music for 90 episodes (4 first seasons) and he's the creator of the worldwide #1 hit theme song : Crockett's Theme. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License and may also be available under the GNU FDL.
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Miami Vice: Music From the Television SeriesMiami Vice: Music From the Television Series
Soundtrack
MCA Records 1985
Audio CD$2.99
$1.60 (used)
Black Sheep / HammerBlack Sheep / Hammer
Wounded Bird Records 2005
Audio CD$38.46
$56.00 (used)
Escape From TelevisionEscape From Television
Import
Island UK 1999
Audio CD$4.40
$3.13 (used)
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Tommy Bolin Teaser Japan CD Jeff Porcaro Phil Collins Jan Hammer Tommy Bolin Teaser Japan CD Jeff Porcaro Phil Collins Jan Hammer USD $27.99 Buy It Now 1h 56m
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JERRY GOODMAN Jan Hammer Orig 1974 JERRY GOODMAN Jan Hammer Orig 1974 "Like Children" LP NM- USD $14.99 Buy It Now 6h
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Jan Hammer Miami Vice Theme 7 Jan Hammer Miami Vice Theme 7" Vinyl Single 1985 MCA Records - MCA 1000 USD $8.68 Buy It Now 9h
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JAN HAMMER Miami Vice Theme GLENN FREY You Belong To The City PICTURE DISC 12 JAN HAMMER Miami Vice Theme GLENN FREY You Belong To The City PICTURE DISC 12" USD $15.00 Buy It Now 10h
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7 7" PICTURE DISC VINYL RECORD jan hammer MIAMI VICE theme USD $4.95 (0 bids)
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 YOSHIAKI MASUO WITH JAN HAMMER-FINGER DANCING-JAPAN CD B63 YOSHIAKI MASUO WITH JAN HAMMER-FINGER DANCING-JAPAN CD B63 USD $12.50 Buy It Now 15h
VINYL LP Jeff Beck With The Jan Hammer Group Live Epic VINYL LP Jeff Beck With The Jan Hammer Group Live Epic USD $12.99 Buy It Now 17h
NEAL SCHON / JAN HAMMER NEAL SCHON / JAN HAMMER "SELF DEFENSE / NO MORE LIES" 45 USD $2.00 Buy It Now 17h
Snapshots 1.2 by Jan Hammer (CD, Nov-2000, One Way Records) Snapshots 1.2 by Jan Hammer (CD, Nov-2000, One Way Records) USD $39.99 Buy It Now 17h
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SECRET ADMIRER Soundtrack 1985 LP 1980's Teen Comedy OST EAGLES V/A Jan Hammer SECRET ADMIRER Soundtrack 1985 LP 1980's Teen Comedy OST EAGLES V/A Jan Hammer USD $6.99 Buy It Now 19h
Jerry Goodman & Jan Hammer Like Children LP Vinyl Record Very Good Condition Jerry Goodman & Jan Hammer Like Children LP Vinyl Record Very Good Condition USD $7.99 Buy It Now 19h
"Something Else" Jeremy Steig with Jan Hammer *NEAR MINT* 1989 Jazz CD USD $18.34 Buy It Now 19h
JAN HAMMER ESCAPE FROM TELEVISION 13 TRACK MIAMI VICE CD FREEPOST JAN HAMMER ESCAPE FROM TELEVISION 13 TRACK MIAMI VICE CD FREEPOST USD $18.61 (0 bids)
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Jeff Beck With the Jan Hammer Group Live JEFF BECK CD Jeff Beck With the Jan Hammer Group Live JEFF BECK CD USD $23.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Jeff Beck with The Jan Hammer Group Live, SBME SPECIAL MKTS. Jeff Beck with The Jan Hammer Group Live, SBME SPECIAL MKTS. USD $5.89 Buy It Now 1 day
1965 Ted Curson Miroslav Vitous Gustav Brom Jan Hammer Jazz Festival Prague NM 1965 Ted Curson Miroslav Vitous Gustav Brom Jan Hammer Jazz Festival Prague NM USD $23.57 Buy It Now 1 day
Jan Hammer - The First Seven Days Jan Hammer - The First Seven Days USD $8.07 (0 bids)
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Jeff Beck With The Jan Hammer Group ESCA5229 JAPAN OBI CD N-698 Jeff Beck With The Jan Hammer Group ESCA5229 JAPAN OBI CD N-698 USD $5.99 (0 bids)
1 day
Escape from Television by Jan Hammer (CD, Oct-1990, MCA) Escape from Television by Jan Hammer (CD, Oct-1990, MCA) USD $1.00 (1 bids)
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James Young with Jan Hammer - City Slickers Cassette Tape James Young with Jan Hammer - City Slickers Cassette Tape USD $4.95 Buy It Now 1 day
JAN HAMMER Oh, Pretty Woman ((**NEW 45 from 1979**)) *Roy Orbison Song JAN HAMMER Oh, Pretty Woman ((**NEW 45 from 1979**)) *Roy Orbison Song USD $4.00 Buy It Now 1 day
1985 VINYL 33 rpm MIAMI VICE THEME - PICTURE DISC ( U.S.A ) # 6150B 1985 VINYL 33 rpm MIAMI VICE THEME - PICTURE DISC ( U.S.A ) # 6150B USD $14.94 Buy It Now 1 day
'Crockett's Theme' JAN HAMMER 7 'Crockett's Theme' JAN HAMMER 7" vinyl single MCA 1193 USD $3.66 Buy It Now 1 day
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JEFF BECK WITH THE JAN HAMMER GOUP LIVE 25AP359 OBI LP Gh5293 JEFF BECK WITH THE JAN HAMMER GOUP LIVE 25AP359 OBI LP Gh5293 USD $0.99 (0 bids)
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James Young with Jan Hammer City Slicker EX 1985 Passport James Young with Jan Hammer City Slicker EX 1985 Passport USD $10.00 Buy It Now 1 day
CHARLIE MARIANO - HELEN 12 TREES , CD, JAN HAMMER , JACK BRUCE CHARLIE MARIANO - HELEN 12 TREES , CD, JAN HAMMER , JACK BRUCE USD $5.51 (2 bids)
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JEFF BECK WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP 1977 EPIC LPNM JEFF BECK WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP 1977 EPIC LPNM USD $14.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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TOMMY BOLIN TEASER JAN HAMMER PHIL COLLINS DAVE SANBORN 1975 NEMPEROR LP EX TOMMY BOLIN TEASER JAN HAMMER PHIL COLLINS DAVE SANBORN 1975 NEMPEROR LP EX USD $14.99 Buy It Now 1 day
JEFF BECK with the JAN HAMMER GROUP 1977 PE 34433 orange label LP NM JEFF BECK with the JAN HAMMER GROUP 1977 PE 34433 orange label LP NM USD $14.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Miramar Collection Vol. 2-TANGERINE DREAM/JAN HAMMER/PAUL SPEER NEW UNPLAYED CD Miramar Collection Vol. 2-TANGERINE DREAM/JAN HAMMER/PAUL SPEER NEW UNPLAYED CD USD $6.98 Buy It Now 1 day
RARE OOP Miami Vice CASSETTE TAPE soundtrack JAN HAMMER Glenn Frey Tina Turner ! RARE OOP Miami Vice CASSETTE TAPE soundtrack JAN HAMMER Glenn Frey Tina Turner ! USD $3.00 Buy It Now 1 day
NEW Live With the Jan Hammer Group (Audio CD) NEW Live With the Jan Hammer Group (Audio CD) USD $7.62 Buy It Now 1 day
Jan Hammer Tubbs And Velerie 7 Jan Hammer Tubbs And Velerie 7" vinyl single record UK MCA1200 MCA RECORDS USD $13.58 Buy It Now 1 day
Jan Hammer Miami Vice Theme UK 12 Jan Hammer Miami Vice Theme UK 12" vinyl single record (Maxi) MCAT1000 MCA USD $13.58 Buy It Now 1 day
Jan Hammer Crockett's Theme 7 Jan Hammer Crockett's Theme 7" vinyl single record UK MCA1541 MCA 1991 USD $13.58 Buy It Now 1 day
Jan Hammer 7 Jan Hammer 7" vinyl single record The Runner UK MCA1305 MCA 1988 USD $12.34 Buy It Now 1 day
Miami Vice Theme - Jan Hammer Miami Vice Theme - Jan Hammer USD $4.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Jan Hammer / Escape From Television Jan Hammer / Escape From Television USD $2.48 Buy It Now 1 day
Jan Hammer - Escape From Television (CD Album) Used Very Good Jan Hammer - Escape From Television (CD Album) Used Very Good USD $2.79 Buy It Now 2 days
JAN HAMMER - MIAMI VICE THEME - 12 JAN HAMMER - MIAMI VICE THEME - 12" VINYL SINGLE USD $1.43 (0 bids)
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Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group Live LP vinyl B1/A2 Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group Live LP vinyl B1/A2 USD $13.64 Buy It Now 2 days
#JAN HAMMER Crockett's theme / Miami vice-New York theme 1986 MCA VINYL EX #JAN HAMMER Crockett's theme / Miami vice-New York theme 1986 MCA VINYL EX USD $1.55 (0 bids)
2 days
OMNI Vol 6 CD Steve Kindler JAN HAMMER Ayman TANGERINE DREAM Patrick O'Hearn OMNI Vol 6 CD Steve Kindler JAN HAMMER Ayman TANGERINE DREAM Patrick O'Hearn USD $7.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Escape From Television   Jan Hammer Vinyl Record Escape From Television Jan Hammer Vinyl Record USD $13.59 Buy It Now 2 days
JAN HAMMER - Crockett's Theme (12 JAN HAMMER - Crockett's Theme (12") (VG/G+) USD $6.19 Buy It Now 2 days
JAN HAMMER - Crockett's Theme (12 JAN HAMMER - Crockett's Theme (12") (VG-EX/EX) USD $7.44 Buy It Now 2 days
JAN HAMMER THE MIAMI VICE THEME SONG 45 RPM RECORD. Vintage!!! JAN HAMMER THE MIAMI VICE THEME SONG 45 RPM RECORD. Vintage!!! USD $4.00 Buy It Now 2 days
JAN HAMMER SNAPSHOTS CASSETTE TAPE MCA UK 1989 JAN HAMMER SNAPSHOTS CASSETTE TAPE MCA UK 1989 USD $16.12 Buy It Now 2 days
JAN HAMMER: Don't You Know / Mono 45 (dj) rare Rock & Pop JAN HAMMER: Don't You Know / Mono 45 (dj) rare Rock & Pop USD $125.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Jeff Beck There & Back 1980 LP Textured Cover Shrink Jan Hammer EX Deep Clean Jeff Beck There & Back 1980 LP Textured Cover Shrink Jan Hammer EX Deep Clean USD $9.99 (0 bids)
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JERRY GOODMAN & JAN HAMMER Like Children Nemperor LP  Mahavishnu JERRY GOODMAN & JAN HAMMER Like Children Nemperor LP Mahavishnu USD $7.97 Buy It Now 2 days
JAN HAMMER The First Seven Days Steve Kindler Nemperor LP  Mahavishnu JAN HAMMER The First Seven Days Steve Kindler Nemperor LP Mahavishnu USD $5.97 Buy It Now 2 days
Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group Live LP 1977 Epic Records PE 34433 Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group Live LP 1977 Epic Records PE 34433 USD $14.99 Buy It Now 2 days
JEFF BECK WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP LIVE [USED CD] JEFF BECK WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP LIVE [USED CD] USD $5.23 Buy It Now 2 days
NEAL SCHON & JAN HAMMER HERE TO STAY FC38428 LP Dw3137 NEAL SCHON & JAN HAMMER HERE TO STAY FC38428 LP Dw3137 USD $0.99 (0 bids)
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STEVE GROSSMAN Terra Firma LP Jan Hammer Stone Alliance STEVE GROSSMAN Terra Firma LP Jan Hammer Stone Alliance USD $12.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Jan Hammer 45 TOO MUCH TO LOSE mono / stereo ~ VG+ to VG++ Jan Hammer 45 TOO MUCH TO LOSE mono / stereo ~ VG+ to VG++ USD $2.10 Buy It Now 2 days
JAN HAMMER MIAMI VICE 12 JAN HAMMER MIAMI VICE 12"(1985 ILL PIC) USD $1.23 (0 bids)
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JAN HAMMER CHANCER MCA RECORDS UK 7 JAN HAMMER CHANCER MCA RECORDS UK 7" VINYL SINGLE in PICTURE SLEEVE USD $1.73 (0 bids)
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Jeff Beck WIred LP rare 1976 Philippines pressing jan hammer charles mingus Jeff Beck WIred LP rare 1976 Philippines pressing jan hammer charles mingus USD $19.00 Buy It Now 2 days
JEFF BECK WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP LIVE 1977 EPIC PE 34433 VINYL LP RECORD JEFF BECK WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP LIVE 1977 EPIC PE 34433 VINYL LP RECORD USD $3.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Race Traxx - Various Artists (Tangerine Dream, Jan Hammer, Yello, Art Of Noise) Race Traxx - Various Artists (Tangerine Dream, Jan Hammer, Yello, Art Of Noise) USD $12.40 Buy It Now 2 days
JAN HAMMER Beyond The Mind's Eye Japan CD OBI '93 JAN HAMMER Beyond The Mind's Eye Japan CD OBI '93 USD $7.99 (0 bids)
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Escape from Television by Jan Hammer (CD, Oct-1990, MCA) Escape from Television by Jan Hammer (CD, Oct-1990, MCA) USD $5.99 Buy It Now 2 days
JEREMY STEIG/JAN HAMMER/DON ALIAS/EDDIE GOMEZ Europa Jazz LP VINYL Italian JEREMY STEIG/JAN HAMMER/DON ALIAS/EDDIE GOMEZ Europa Jazz LP VINYL Italian USD $8.06 Buy It Now 2 days
JAN HAMMER Early Years LP VINYL UK Epic 1985 8 Track But Sleeve Has Some JAN HAMMER Early Years LP VINYL UK Epic 1985 8 Track But Sleeve Has Some USD $3.90 Buy It Now 2 days
JAN HAMMER: Miami Vice Theme 45 (UK, pic disc) Rock & Pop JAN HAMMER: Miami Vice Theme 45 (UK, pic disc) Rock & Pop USD $15.00 Buy It Now 2 days
JAN HAMMER Crockett's Theme 12 JAN HAMMER Crockett's Theme 12" VINYL UK Mca 1991 4 Track 9Mm Mix B/W Nitro USD $9.73 Buy It Now 2 days
JEFF BECK LIVE WITH JAN HAMMER GROUP 2015 JAPAN RMST BLU-SPEC CD2 HIGH FIDELITY JEFF BECK LIVE WITH JAN HAMMER GROUP 2015 JAPAN RMST BLU-SPEC CD2 HIGH FIDELITY USD $28.95 Buy It Now 2 days
YOSHIAKI MASUO WITH JAN HAMMER Finger Dancing LP VINYL Japanese Electric Bird YOSHIAKI MASUO WITH JAN HAMMER Finger Dancing LP VINYL Japanese Electric Bird USD $12.34 Buy It Now 2 days
JAN HAMMER Miami Vice Theme LP VINYL US Mca 1985 3 Track Extended Remix JAN HAMMER Miami Vice Theme LP VINYL US Mca 1985 3 Track Extended Remix USD $6.19 Buy It Now 2 days
JAMES YOUNG WITH JAN HAMMER City Slicker LP VINYL Canadian Passport 1985 10 JAMES YOUNG WITH JAN HAMMER City Slicker LP VINYL Canadian Passport 1985 10 USD $3.90 Buy It Now 2 days
JAN HAMMER Miami Vice Theme 12 JAN HAMMER Miami Vice Theme 12" VINYL UK Mca 1985 3 Track B/W Extended Mix USD $6.19 Buy It Now 2 days
NEAL SCHON of JOURNEY & JAN HAMMER Japan 1983 LP+Ob HERE TO STAY NEAL SCHON of JOURNEY & JAN HAMMER Japan 1983 LP+Ob HERE TO STAY USD $15.99 Buy It Now 2 days
USED With the Jan Hammer Group Live (Blu-Spec CD) CD USED With the Jan Hammer Group Live (Blu-Spec CD) CD USD $29.99 Buy It Now 2 days
JAN HAMMER ESCAPE FROM TELEVISION 1st UK LP 1987 w/ INSERT Miami Vice Soundtrack JAN HAMMER ESCAPE FROM TELEVISION 1st UK LP 1987 w/ INSERT Miami Vice Soundtrack USD $11.79 Buy It Now 2 days
John Abercrombie Timeless Jan Hammer Jack De Johnette 12 John Abercrombie Timeless Jan Hammer Jack De Johnette 12" Vinyl Record USD $23.99 Buy It Now 2 days
JAN HAMMER - JAN HAMMER - "Too Much To Lose" - 7" Single 1977 US WL PROMO ONLY Stereo/Mono USD $12.88 Buy It Now 2 days
Jeff Beck With The Jan Hammer Group Live JAPAN BLU SPEC CD NEW OOP EICP-20022 Jeff Beck With The Jan Hammer Group Live JAPAN BLU SPEC CD NEW OOP EICP-20022 USD $29.69 Buy It Now 2 days
James Young with Jan Hammer City Slicker LP 1985 Passport New Sealed Rock STYX James Young with Jan Hammer City Slicker LP 1985 Passport New Sealed Rock STYX USD $9.98 Buy It Now 2 days
Jan Hammer - Snapshots JAPAN 1ST CD 1989 WARNER-PIONEER 22P2-2710 Jan Hammer - Snapshots JAPAN 1ST CD 1989 WARNER-PIONEER 22P2-2710 USD $16.99 Buy It Now 3 days
NEAL SCHON & JAN HAMMER Untold Passion 1981 JAPAN Only CD 1994 JOURNEY MEGA RARE NEAL SCHON & JAN HAMMER Untold Passion 1981 JAPAN Only CD 1994 JOURNEY MEGA RARE USD $79.00 Buy It Now 3 days
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JAN HAMMER Discography

JAN HAMMER albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.69 | 6 ratings
The First Seven Days
Classic Fusion 1975
.. Album Cover 4.06 | 7 ratings
Jan Hammer Group : Oh, Yeah?
Classic Fusion 1976
.. Album Cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Jan Hammer Group : Melodies
Pop Jazz/Crossover 1977
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Hammer
Jazz Related Rock 1979
.. Album Cover 1.76 | 3 ratings
Black Sheep
Pop Jazz/Crossover 1979
.. Album Cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Escape From Television
Jazz Related Improv/Composition 1987
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Snapshots
Jazz Related Improv/Composition 1989
.. Album Cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Beyond the Mind's Eye
Jazz Related Improv/Composition 1992
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Drive
Classic Fusion 1994

JAN HAMMER EPs & splits

JAN HAMMER live albums

.. Album Cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Malma Maliny (aka Make Love)
Classic Fusion 1969

JAN HAMMER demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Jan Hammer Group ‎: Live
Classic Fusion 1978

JAN HAMMER re-issues & compilations

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Early Years
Classic Fusion 1986
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Snapshots 1.2
Classic Fusion 2000
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Complete Collection
Jazz Soundtracks 2002
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of Miami Vice
Jazz Soundtracks 2006

JAN HAMMER singles (0)

JAN HAMMER movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

JAN HAMMER Reviews

JAN HAMMER Jan Hammer Group : Oh, Yeah?

Album · 1976 · Classic Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
aglasshouse
Mahavishnu Orchestra's first (and arguably most prolific) incarnation came to a painful end in 1973, as a sudden rise in popularity and a series of calamitous recording failures suddenly turned the great Mahavishnu into less of what they originally were into more or less the John McLaughlin Group. The band's original lineup, however, was so bursting-at-the-seams with talent and skill that it's members couldn't help but go on to form formidable solo careers -- Billy Cobham would traverse the jazz fusion path himself with Spectrum in 1973, and Jan Hammer, after collaborating with fellow musician Jerry Goodman, debuted his own solo material with The First Seven Days in 1975. The album was well-received, and showcased the excellent skill Hammer obviously had. He continued on with the jazz- fusion shtick until the 80's, where he found himself composing film and television scores for such programs as Miami Vice. For the time being however Hammer really got in the swing of things and, not but a year later, delivered the facetiously titled Oh, Yeah? in 1976.

It's common for musicians to take an album or two to really get going, and get going Hammer did. Oh, Yeah? is a romp through some of the most thought-provoking and challenging sides of the jazz rock genre, whether it be the thumping bass/timbale combination of 'Bambu Forest', the eclectic and insane callbacks to Mahavishnu on 'Twenty One', or the driving openers and closers, 'Magical Dog' and 'Red and Orange', respectively. Almost every single song has something different to say in their own right, such as the throwing in of drummer Tony Smith's soulful vocals on 'One To One'. Jan Hammer and his band utilize an almost proto-80s synth culture to design Oh, Yeah? to be a sort of generational bridge that sits on neither side of the waters. A culture clash it may be, but it's a good one. Jan Hammer himself is the main pioneer in this regard, and with his effective use of a gamut of different synthesizing and keyboard effects it's easy to see why his more progressive electronic leanings make a greater impact than the likes of new age artists like Jean Michel Jarre did.

Towering and powerful, Oh, Yeah? is a can't-miss album, not only of the jazz fusion genre but of 70's music in general. It is the definition of a passion-project and is justly the penultimate release of Hammer's career.

JAN HAMMER Black Sheep

Album · 1979 · Pop Jazz/Crossover
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
snobb
Prague-born keyboardist Jan Hammer left his home country after the Russian tanks invaded in 1968. In the States he made a successful career as a pianist for Sara Vaughn and others, then as a member of Mahavishnu Orchestra and later - as the author of soundtracks for the "Miami Vice" series.

His solo projects/recordings are barely known and not very popular (only the "Miami Vice" soundtrack is a different story). "Black Ship" is the first Hammer solo album where he plays not only keyboards, but also drums and percussion as well. Although the album has a sticker that claims, "No Guitars Used", there are also no guest vocalists, the only supporting musicians are Fernando Saunders on bass and drummer Tony Smith on some songs.

"Black Sheep" is a truly bombastic keyboards album - full of digital synthesizers, electronic drums, mostly terrible vocals and simplified music in the fashion of the 80s. Almost no fusion moments could be found here, the music is loud and a straight-ahead mix of AOR aesthetics and electro-pop with some pretentious and tasteless keys soloing (heavily imitating solo guitar passages). Obviously another former member of Mahavishnu Orchestra, John McLaughlin's solo success was a strong motivation for Jan Hammer when he recorded this album. Unfortunately, Hammer's version is far from successful. Even among Hammer's very inconsistent discography, this album is a real low point.

Should be avoided at any price.

JAN HAMMER Escape From Television

Album · 1987 · Jazz Related Improv/Composition
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
js
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, artists such as Prince and Devo were often able to enhance their music through cheezy 80s sounds in ways that more classic sounds would not have been able to. It is all part of a weird principal in which if something that is usually bad actually 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 isn't for everyone, but Hammer makes this odd mix of 80s art-pop, easy listening, world beat and progressive rock/fusion work because he took the time to write strong melodies supported by masterful arrangements.

JAN HAMMER Black Sheep

Album · 1979 · Pop Jazz/Crossover
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Slartibartfast
I'm almost wondering why I inflicted this remaster on myself other than to fill out the spot being vacated by Jan Hammer's "The Early Years", a compilation CD.

My first encounter with Jan's band he called Hammer was an LP called BLACK SHEEP an LP. fortunately it was available used for $2.00. I remember the first time I put my needle down on track 1, "Jet Stream", and wondering "what the hell is this crap?". I had previously acquired a new MELODIES LP and was disappointed somewhat, it did have a couple great tracks and bits in the rest I could sink my teeth in to. I'd really hoped he would have returned with better form and have an album opener like "Magical Dog" on OH YEAH?. At the time there wasn't much on this album that appealed to me. I've lightened up in my opinion on the album after re- listening these songs. Aww, heck, I'll do the song by song review, since I may be the only one:

"Jet Stream", purporting to be a rock 'n' roll song, has lyrics about opening your ear to new music, probably directed at his fans of Jazz/Rock and Symphonic Prog material.

Next comes "Heavy Love", just your average blues track. Not as annoying for me as it used to be. His Jan Hammer Group collaborators - Fernando Saunders (Bass) and Tony Smith (Drums) are on these first two tracks and only one other.

"Black Sheep" is fairly simple song. I came to like it a bit more when I copied a few of the tracks from the LP to a home made CD a few years ago. Nice bass line. Jan does some congos and also drums for most of the rest of these tracks. Unfortunately, David Earle Johnson (percussionist) is nowhere to be seen on this album. Jan did do a duo album with him that was released the same the year, TIME IS FREE (LP on the Vanguard label, currently [11/27/06] available in the US as an import), a much better album for the prog fans.

I still like "Light of Dawn" as much today as when I first heard it. It's a simple keyboard and vocal love song. Jan did the lyrics and he did a good job.

"Hey Girl" is a studio-generated piece with Jan only doing keyboards, drums, and vocals. Another dull attempt for Jan to do something pop. Probably only notable thing about this is that he apparently does a pretty good bassist imitation in addition to his trademark synthesizer mock guitar. No bassist or bass credit is given for this track.

"Waiting No More" sounds like a decent pop song. Too bad it didn't make to the charts. I don't think anything else charted until the Miami Vice soundtrack. Jan on everything except lyrics again.

Next up comes a cover of Jimi Hendrix' "Manic Depression". Might have been a fun live cover, but here he appears to be just showing off his mock guitar capabilities. I might be too harsh, he may have been intending more of a tribute piece. Still, one of the more progressive pieces here.

The last track "Silent One" is a 5 star piece by virtue of 4.5, which rounds to 5. Lyrics are by his wife, Ivona Reich. It starts out as a simple keyboard and vocal piece. Jan does all instruments and Bob Christensen (also on a few other tracks here) provides vocals. It's a love/love lost song. The second half of the song has a nice build up in musical intensity. The whole song structure is a lot like the last track on LIKE CHILDREN "Giving In Gently/I Wonder.

JAN HAMMER Jan Hammer Group : Oh, Yeah?

Album · 1976 · Classic Fusion
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I got this as an LP originally at a local Atlanta used record store for $2.00 along with Jerry Goodman & Jan Hammer Like Children more than a few years ago (those were the days). They made excellent companions which I taped on opposite sides of a 90 minute cassette. These albums were apparently fairly rare as I don't think I have ever seen any other copies for sale used or new. I even went to the trouble of making a CD from the LPs complete with little booklets from scans of the cover art.

I haven't seen any information on why it took so long for these to be remastered and released on CD. They are some of Jan's finest work post Mahavishnu. I think it's a testament to the quality of the original production that the remaster doesn't seem to improve much on the sound compared to CD version I made. Always a pleasure to be free of the LP needle noise of course, although my copies were in really good shape.

Back to this album, the instrumental songs are very high energy. Some progressive purists may be put off by the three vocal pieces. Oh Yeah?, in particular, has a heavy funk edge to it, but for me they just broadened my musical horizons a little. Those who have a problem with the vocal bits, will find the instrumentals very satisfying.

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