Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: World Music, Jazz, Pop, Rock
Reissue of this 1977 album recorded after leaving Jeff Beck's band but before he skyrocketted to fame with 'Miami Vice'. Features able assistance by Steve Kindler, Tony Smith and Fernando Saunders. 11 tracks. A 1999 Wounde... more »
Reissue of this 1977 album recorded after leaving Jeff Beck's band but before he skyrocketted to fame with 'Miami Vice'. Features able assistance by Steve Kindler, Tony Smith and Fernando Saunders. 11 tracks. A 1999 Wounded Bird release.
Though many tried, nobody played like jan hammer
charley hardman | occupied US | 05/10/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"hammer's touch is all over this cd, though it probably helps to understand a little bit of where the jan hammer group was in its development before listening to it.they had done 'oh yeah', a masterpiece of goofy music which will actually get you thinking that 11/8 and 21/8 are comfortable time signatures. (why hasn't madonna jumped on that bandwagon! ). hammer had done the mahavishnu route. he'd done 'the first seven days' . . . basically, they were ready to lighten up a bit, have some fun, and stop worrying about being more innovative than thou. what happened is that they were still nutso, but with a pop touch. i guess some people think that's pathetic; i think it's a blast. i even like the first song, a ditty which could easily be tossed away if you didn't know it was your buddy jan hammer. for me, knowing it's jan hammer does make a difference, as silly as that may seem, and makes it worth digging deeper into what may seem to be a shallow pop effort at first glance. there's a slight awkwardness to some of the songs ('i sing', 'window of love'), almost like it's an introspective 4-track demo. i think that's cool to hear from the same whack jobs who put out 'magical dog' not too long before.the vocals on 'melodies' have routinely been criticized for lack of polish; i think they serve the songs well, with an honest touch that comes easily from the writer of a song. beyond merely serving the song, some of the vocals are as good as gets. 'honey 5379' could've been a hit on soul/r&b stations had it been played. speaking of which, you aren't going to find songs that funk more than a few of these do. 'what it is' is classic shake-yo-thang material.i could go on about each song and what a treat it is to listen to when you're a jan hammer group fan. you have some WAY talented guys here trying to find their way out of the wonderful world of instrumental mania and into something with a little more . . . happiness? not sure how to describe it, but i'm glad i was there to hear this when it came out, and i'm glad to find it on cd. if you want to know what they were thinking when they made this, 'just for fun' pretty much says it all, though what these guys call making music for fun easily eclipses what most other people do. this album is riddled with taste treats. give it a chance if you buy it."
The Classic That Never Was
Andre S. Grindle | Brewer Maine | 09/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"No matter how many times I listen to it the Jan Hammer Group's 'Melodies'Other the fact the none of the musicians on this album are well known except Jan Hammer never ceases to be anything but purely impressive.The musicianship is first rate,Jan Hammer uses his 'guitar synthesizer' to great effect and his own production of this album is emmaculate-from song to song Jan's keyboards and synthesizer and Steve Kindler's violin often merge into one single entity.And these songs and lyrics truely as stylistically diverse as they come.One thing is every tune on here,even the instrumentals are very melodic as the title suggests-the breezy romantic R&B of "Too Much To Loose","Peaceful Sundown",Fernando Saunder's warbling "I Sing" and the lovely "Don't You Know" all evoke a relaxed,romantic mood and are very pituresqe.Saunder's bass on the hip-shaking funk tines "Honey 5379",the deep "You Are They" and "Just For Fun" is about as deep and economical as it gets-the latter being a wry commentary on the groups own music as they talk of "pleasing everyone" with their music and "fitting into a mold".Like the best of Stevie Wonder (and later Prince) The Jan Hammer Group actually prove here they are more then capable of playing music for any occasion.It's not a "black" or "white" sound or "rock","funk","R&B","classical',"pop" or "jazz"-actually it's a unique and distinctive combination of all five styles of music.The centerpiece of the album to me is the beautiful,transcendant "Window Of Love"-it's the kind of ballad you'd usually hear by a Stevie Wonder or Elton John but the eerie chord progressions and reverrbed drums have a sound all their own.And the lyrics,although I have my personal impressions of the lyrics it is definately being sung it is truely inspiration to someone or any people who are opressed-takes Earth Wind & Fire lyricism to almost a religious ferver.The most classical element comes on Steve Kindler's manic "Hyperspace",perhaps inspired by Jerry Goodman's wailing violin theatrics in Jan's old group Mahavisnu Orchestra.And I cannot understand why so many people I read in reviews of this band think of Kindler as a bad musician-I have never heard someone express tension and egoless playing so much yet be so theatrical at the same time.As for Hammer himself his range as a keyboardist is increbible.Of course his use of synthesizer like a spacy hard rock guitar is his best known attribute but he can play in a simpler,funkier style on moog and fender rhodes as well.And on the finale "Your Love" he displays his talents as a brilliant acoustic pianist-it's simple,economical and very beautiful and (to people who don't like pop music) will say this is the best song on the album,even with the moog flourishes.The only things I believe that kept this album from being successful and a pop chart hit were lack of familiarity with most of the musicians and one other simple fact:if Nemperor had stopped marketing the Jan Hammer Group as a jazz act then this album would likely have joined the ranks of Dark Side Of The Moonand Rumours as one of the great pop releases of the 70's.But marketing is marketing and I thank Wounded Bird for putting this out on CD.But if you like 70's pop and even if your knowledge of classic albums doesn't extend beyong what Rolling Stone magazine critics or VH1 tells you are classic albums this is more then worth your time picking up."
Very memorable music
M. Bashore | Okemos, Michigan, USA | 04/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I completely echo the sentiments of another reviewer: this aptly titled record features tracks that will stay with you for many years. I've owned probably 5 copies all together.
The comparison with (the very best of) Stevie Wonder is also appropriate: these are beautifully wrought, durable melodies that in some cases (the unforgettable "Your Love,") eclipse even Stevie in terms of richness and complexity. I love the variety of styles on the record as well. By turns spacey, funky, rocked out, almost all of the songs on "Melodies" are melodic to the max, regardless of the style. The only drawback is the instrumentation, which 30 years later sounds quite dated. Still, the almost overwhelming strength of the songs more than compensates. I've owned many hundreds of LPs and CDs in my life and since this record was released in '77, it's ALWAYS been in my personal Top 10. Best cuts: "Don't You Know," "Peaceful Sundown," "Just for Fun" and "Your Love.""