Saturday, March 20, 2010

Jan Hammer Group "Melodies" (1977)

Jan Hammer is, of course, mostly famous for soundtrack work on Miami Vice. Those of a certain age will no doubt remember the scandal and long-running "flame war" that eventuated when Greg Phillinganes was bumped from the cover of the September 1985 edition of "Keyboard" magazine in favour of Jan.

Mr. Phillinganes is said to have snapped a keytar over his knee when an acquaintance pointed out that his name had been printed in the same size font as "Equipment Reviews".

But Jan had a long career before his work on Miami Vice secured him eternal fame, a Bill Gates bankroll and a white stretch limo with piano keys painted on the side. He spent the 70s mostly putting out jazz-fusion with outfits like the Mahavishnu Orchestra and his own Jan Hammer Group - while there's no denying his talent as a keyboardist, the style he was working in is generally of little interest to me (e.g. how is this not terrible).

However, today's selection is a just a normal love song that happens to hit a sweet spot between the 70s and 80s and come out totally unique, with an arpeggiated bass-line that anticipates the Miami Vice years underpinned by tough drums that hark back to the early 70s. The production is superb and studio nerds should find it a rewarding listen. Folks who mainly just like nice songs will not be disappointed either.

Jan Hammer Group - Don't You Know

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