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$5.85
$2.33 (used)
Miami Vice: Complete CollectionMiami Vice: Complete Collection
Remastered · Soundtrack
One Way Records Inc 2002
Audio CD$34.99
$79.99 (used)
Jan Hammer - Escape From Television - MCA Records - 255 093-1Jan Hammer - Escape From Television - MCA Records - 255 093-1
Import
Vinyl$169.80
$6.07 (used)
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MIAMI VICE Soundtrack sealed LP JAN HAMMER GLENN FREY TINA TURNER  PHIL COLLINS MIAMI VICE Soundtrack sealed LP JAN HAMMER GLENN FREY TINA TURNER PHIL COLLINS USD $47.00 Buy It Now 4h
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JAN HAMMER ‎- The Early Years (LP) (EX/EX) JAN HAMMER ‎- The Early Years (LP) (EX/EX) USD $15.38 Buy It Now 14h
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JAN HAMMER - MIAMI VICE THEME 7 JAN HAMMER - MIAMI VICE THEME 7" VINYL SINGLE USD $2.92 Buy It Now 22h
Jan Hammer ‎– Miami Vice Theme 7” – MCA 1000 – VG- Jan Hammer ‎– Miami Vice Theme 7” – MCA 1000 – VG- USD $3.85 Buy It Now 22h
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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 22h
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JEFF BECK-WIRED +FLASH +BLOW BY BLOW +WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP (4 ALBUMS)  LP JEFF BECK-WIRED +FLASH +BLOW BY BLOW +WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP (4 ALBUMS) LP USD $11.26 Buy It Now 23h
Mega Rare Jan Hammer Snapshots 1989 Germany CD FCS6491 Mega Rare Jan Hammer Snapshots 1989 Germany CD FCS6491 USD $19.99 Buy It Now 23h
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Jan Hammer - Escape From Television New CD Jan Hammer - Escape From Television New CD USD $8.98 Buy It Now 1 day
Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group Live & Jeff Beck Group RARE 8 Track Lot of 2 Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group Live & Jeff Beck Group RARE 8 Track Lot of 2 USD $14.99 (0 bids)
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Neal Schon & Jan Hammer Collection: No More Lies--Neal Schon CD 1998 Journey OOP Neal Schon & Jan Hammer Collection: No More Lies--Neal Schon CD 1998 Journey OOP USD $14.99 (0 bids)
1 day
1985 Miami Vice TV Soundtrack Cassette Tape Don Johnson Jan Hammer Glenn Frey 1985 Miami Vice TV Soundtrack Cassette Tape Don Johnson Jan Hammer Glenn Frey USD $4.99 Buy It Now 1 day
JAN HAMMER  Miami Vice Theme  45 with PicSleeve JAN HAMMER Miami Vice Theme 45 with PicSleeve USD $4.99 Buy It Now 1 day
JAN HAMMER~ OH YEAH~ ONE TO ONE~A KILLER~ MEGA RARE~ PROMO~ MINT~FUNK~ JAZZ 45 JAN HAMMER~ OH YEAH~ ONE TO ONE~A KILLER~ MEGA RARE~ PROMO~ MINT~FUNK~ JAZZ 45 USD $74.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Jan Hammer Miami Vice Theme 7 Jan Hammer Miami Vice Theme 7" MCA MCA1000 EX/EX 1985 picture sleeve, Miami Vice USD $9.08 Buy It Now 1 day
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Jeff Beck With The Jan Hammer Group Live cd 1977 Japan import ESCA 5229 Jeff Beck With The Jan Hammer Group Live cd 1977 Japan import ESCA 5229 USD $13.99 Buy It Now 1 day
JAN HAMMER Crockett's Theme 12 JAN HAMMER Crockett's Theme 12" VINYL UK Mca 1991 4 Track 9Mm Mix B/W Nitro USD $6.98 Buy It Now 1 day
JAN HAMMER - Miami Vice Theme / Evan / Original Vice Theme - MCA-52666 - 45rpm JAN HAMMER - Miami Vice Theme / Evan / Original Vice Theme - MCA-52666 - 45rpm USD $2.45 Buy It Now 1 day
JAN HAMMER Miami Vice Theme 12 JAN HAMMER Miami Vice Theme 12" VINYL UK Mca 1985 3 Track Extended Remix USD $6.98 Buy It Now 1 day
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 $4.39 Buy It Now 1 day
JEFF BECK WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP Live LP VINYL UK Epic 1977 7 Track Orange JEFF BECK WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP Live LP VINYL UK Epic 1977 7 Track Orange USD $9.50 Buy It Now 1 day
JAN HAMMER Miami Vice Theme 7 JAN HAMMER Miami Vice Theme 7" VINYL UK Mca 1985 3 Track Featuring Tv Version USD $2.92 Buy It Now 1 day
JAN HAMMER Tubbs And Valerie 12 JAN HAMMER Tubbs And Valerie 12" VINYL UK Mca 1987 3 Track Extended Version USD $4.39 Buy It Now 1 day
JAN HAMMER Runner 12 JAN HAMMER Runner 12" VINYL UK Mca 1988 3 Track Marathon Mix Dj Promo USD $6.98 Buy It Now 1 day
JAN HAMMER Tubbs And Valerie 12 JAN HAMMER Tubbs And Valerie 12" VINYL UK Mca 1987 3 Track Extend USD $4.39 Buy It Now 1 day
JAN HAMMER Oh Yeah 7 JAN HAMMER Oh Yeah 7" VINYL US Nemperor 1976 B/W Let The Children Grow (Ne006) USD $6.98 Buy It Now 1 day
JAN HAMMER Tubbs And Valerie 7 JAN HAMMER Tubbs And Valerie 7" VINYL UK Mca 1987 B/w Rico's Blues (mca1200) USD $2.92 Buy It Now 1 day
JAN HAMMER Crockett's Theme 7 JAN HAMMER Crockett's Theme 7" VINYL UK Mca 1986 Instrumental New Mix B/W Miami USD $2.92 Buy It Now 1 day
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 $9.08 Buy It Now 1 day
HAMMER (PRODUCED BY JAN HAMMER) Black Sheep LP VINYL UK Asylum 1979 9 Track HAMMER (PRODUCED BY JAN HAMMER) Black Sheep LP VINYL UK Asylum 1979 9 Track USD $12.44 Buy It Now 1 day
Jeff Beck w/ Jan Hammer Group - Live LP EX to NM Vinyl Jeff Beck w/ Jan Hammer Group - Live LP EX to NM Vinyl USD $8.99 (0 bids)
1 day
NEAL SCHON & JAN HAMMER NEAL SCHON & JAN HAMMER "Here To Stay" NM/NM 1982 JAPAN orig w/OBI & Poster USD $35.00 Buy It Now 1 day
JAN HAMMER - OH, YEAH? - JAZZ ROCK - NM- VINYL JAN HAMMER - OH, YEAH? - JAZZ ROCK - NM- VINYL USD $4.99 (0 bids)
1 day
JAN HAMMER & GLENN FREY 12 JAN HAMMER & GLENN FREY 12" Picture Disc MIAMI VICE Theme MCA-6150 USD $13.45 Buy It Now 1 day
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Jerry Goodman & Jan Hammer ‎– Like Children CD – WOU 430 – Mint Jerry Goodman & Jan Hammer ‎– Like Children CD – WOU 430 – Mint USD $60.16 Buy It Now 1 day
Jeff Beck with The Jan Hammer Group - Live 1977 Vinyl LP Jeff Beck with The Jan Hammer Group - Live 1977 Vinyl LP USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1 day
JAN HAMMER - Escape from Television - 1987 12 track UK LP JAN HAMMER - Escape from Television - 1987 12 track UK LP USD $18.89 Buy It Now 1 day
Jeff Beck & Jan Hammer Group Live / 1977 Jeff Beck & Jan Hammer Group Live / 1977 USD $6.98 (0 bids)
1 day
Robin Trower Jeff Beck/Jan Hammer 2 Live Lp's Lot EX/EX Vinyl 12 Robin Trower Jeff Beck/Jan Hammer 2 Live Lp's Lot EX/EX Vinyl 12" 33RPM USD $15.99 Buy It Now 1 day
VINYL LP - JAN HAMMER - SNAPSHOTS - MCG 6039 VINYL LP - JAN HAMMER - SNAPSHOTS - MCG 6039 USD $12.58 Buy It Now 1 day
JAN HAMMER - Miami Vice (UK 7 JAN HAMMER - Miami Vice (UK 7" single) USD $3.50 Buy It Now 1 day
BECK, Jeff with THE JAN HAMMER GROUP - Live - Vinyl (LP) BECK, Jeff with THE JAN HAMMER GROUP - Live - Vinyl (LP) USD $29.53 Buy It Now 1 day
Jan Hammer - Miami Vice Theme, MCA-1000 Ex Condition A1/B1 Jan Hammer - Miami Vice Theme, MCA-1000 Ex Condition A1/B1 USD $5.58 Buy It Now 1 day
Jan Hammer - Miami Vice Theme (Vinyl) Jan Hammer - Miami Vice Theme (Vinyl) USD $18.88 Buy It Now 1 day
Jan Hammer - Crockett's Theme (Vinyl) Jan Hammer - Crockett's Theme (Vinyl) USD $20.98 Buy It Now 1 day
JEFF BECK Japan Import Vinyl WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP Japanese OBI Audiophile JEFF BECK Japan Import Vinyl WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP Japanese OBI Audiophile USD $24.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Jan Hammer George Mraz Sealed MPC/BASF LP 1976 Jan Hammer George Mraz Sealed MPC/BASF LP 1976 USD $12.00 Buy It Now 1 day
JERRY GOODMAN - JAN HAMMER 8-TRACK JERRY GOODMAN - JAN HAMMER 8-TRACK " Like Children " NEMPEROR Canada 1974' USD $15.90 Buy It Now 1 day
Jan Hammer Escape From Television vinyl LP album record UK MCF3407 MCA 1987 Jan Hammer Escape From Television vinyl LP album record UK MCF3407 MCA 1987 USD $19.52 Buy It Now 1 day
Jan Hammer 12 Jan Hammer 12" vinyl single record (Maxi) Miami Vice Theme UK MCAT1000 MCA USD $15.31 Buy It Now 1 day
Jan Hammer 7 Jan Hammer 7" vinyl single record Crockett's Theme UK MCA1541 MCA 1991 USD $15.32 Buy It Now 1 day
JEFF BECK WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP LIVE PE 34433 (1977) 12 JEFF BECK WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP LIVE PE 34433 (1977) 12" LP GUITAR MAESTRO USD $4.97 Buy It Now 2 days
JERRY GOODMAN & JAN HAMMER Like Children Nemperor NE 430 LP  Mahavishnu JERRY GOODMAN & JAN HAMMER Like Children Nemperor NE 430 LP Mahavishnu USD $9.97 Buy It Now 2 days
JEFF BECK WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP LIVE  VINYL RECORD LP / 1977 JEFF BECK WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP LIVE VINYL RECORD LP / 1977 USD $19.99 Buy It Now 2 days
JEFF BECK W/ JAN HAMMER GROUP LIVE EPIC RECORDS 34433 STEREO 1977 VG JEFF BECK W/ JAN HAMMER GROUP LIVE EPIC RECORDS 34433 STEREO 1977 VG USD $0.99 Buy It Now 2 days
JAN HAMMER--CROCKETT'S THEME--MIAMI VICE----UK 12 JAN HAMMER--CROCKETT'S THEME--MIAMI VICE----UK 12" VINYL---1987---MCAX1193 USD $2.78 (0 bids)
2 days
JAN HAMMER THE RUNNER 12 JAN HAMMER THE RUNNER 12"(1988 ILL PIC RARE) USD $0.69 (0 bids)
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Hammer - Black Sheep - Very nice NM Promo LP - Jan Hammer Hammer - Black Sheep - Very nice NM Promo LP - Jan Hammer USD $5.00 Buy It Now 2 days
JAN HAMMER - Escape From Television - CD - **BRAND NEW/STILL SEALED** JAN HAMMER - Escape From Television - CD - **BRAND NEW/STILL SEALED** USD $17.95 Buy It Now 2 days
Jeff Beck WIRED UK Import Epic Jan Hammer  Label NM  LP Jeff Beck WIRED UK Import Epic Jan Hammer Label NM LP USD $13.48 Buy It Now 2 days
Tubbs And Valerie 12in 1st Vinyl (Jan Hammer - 1987) MCAT 1200 (ID:15011) Tubbs And Valerie 12in 1st Vinyl (Jan Hammer - 1987) MCAT 1200 (ID:15011) USD $6.27 Buy It Now 2 days
MIAMI VICE MUSIC FROM THE TELEVISION SERIES MCA-6150 (1985) 12 MIAMI VICE MUSIC FROM THE TELEVISION SERIES MCA-6150 (1985) 12" LP JAN HAMMER USD $4.97 Buy It Now 2 days
Live Jan Hammer Group/Jeff Beck CD Live Jan Hammer Group/Jeff Beck CD USD $3.99 Buy It Now 2 days
NEAL SCHON & JAN HAMMER, nm fusion lp on COLUMBIA, 1981ORIGINAL INNER NEAL SCHON & JAN HAMMER, nm fusion lp on COLUMBIA, 1981ORIGINAL INNER USD $9.95 Buy It Now 2 days
JERRY GOODMAN & JAN HAMMER LIKE CHILDREN record 1974 NE 430 NEMPEROR JERRY GOODMAN & JAN HAMMER LIKE CHILDREN record 1974 NE 430 NEMPEROR USD $3.99 (0 bids)
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The Best of Miami Vice [AAO] by Jan Hammer (CD, Jun-2006, AAO Music) The Best of Miami Vice [AAO] by Jan Hammer (CD, Jun-2006, AAO Music) USD $12.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Jan Hammer 'Crockett's theme' 7 Jan Hammer 'Crockett's theme' 7" single USD $1.68 (0 bids)
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JEFF BECK LP WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP LIVE PE 34433 JEFF BECK LP WITH THE JAN HAMMER GROUP LIVE PE 34433 USD $4.99 (0 bids)
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VINYL 7 VINYL 7" SINGLE - CROCKETT'S THEME - JAN HAMMER - MCA1193 USD $9.78 Buy It Now 2 days
AXEL F RARE 4 TRACK CD SINGLE! NILE RODGERS BEVERLY HILLS COP JAN HAMMER AXEL F RARE 4 TRACK CD SINGLE! NILE RODGERS BEVERLY HILLS COP JAN HAMMER USD $27.67 Buy It Now 2 days
Jan Hammer ‎– Beyond The Mind's Eye CD – MCD10752 – Mint Jan Hammer ‎– Beyond The Mind's Eye CD – MCD10752 – Mint USD $20.28 Buy It Now 2 days
JAN HAMMER, MIAMI VICE THEME, 1985 7 JAN HAMMER, MIAMI VICE THEME, 1985 7"x45rpm SINGLE RECORD USD $5.14 Buy It Now 2 days
JAN HAMMER - Miami Vice Theme - Excellent Condition 7 JAN HAMMER - Miami Vice Theme - Excellent Condition 7" Single MCA 1000 USD $5.58 Buy It Now 2 days
Jeff Beck With the Jan Hammer Group L - Jeff Beck Compact Disc Free Shipping! Jeff Beck With the Jan Hammer Group L - Jeff Beck Compact Disc Free Shipping! USD $9.80 Buy It Now 2 days
JERRY GOODMAN Jan Hammer Orig 1974 JERRY GOODMAN Jan Hammer Orig 1974 "Like Children" LP NM- USD $14.99 Buy It Now 2 days
JAN HAMMER      MIAMI VICE THEME       12 JAN HAMMER MIAMI VICE THEME 12" VINYL EX CON P/S USD $9.94 Buy It Now 2 days
JAN HAMMER - CHANCER  7 JAN HAMMER - CHANCER 7" VINYL PS USD $5.58 Buy It Now 2 days
JAN HAMMER  MIAMI VICE THEME MCA RECORDS UK 7 JAN HAMMER MIAMI VICE THEME MCA RECORDS UK 7" VINYL SINGLE in PICTURE SLEEVE USD $1.95 (0 bids)
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Los Grandes del Jazz 15- Jeremy Steig/Jan Hammer/Don Alias/Eddie Gomez- new tape Los Grandes del Jazz 15- Jeremy Steig/Jan Hammer/Don Alias/Eddie Gomez- new tape USD $5.00 Buy It Now 2 days
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JAN HAMMER Discography

JAN HAMMER albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.67 | 7 ratings
The First Seven Days
Classic Fusion 1975
.. Album Cover 4.26 | 8 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 Related Soundtracks 2002
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of Miami Vice
Jazz Related 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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Slartibartfast
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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