Jan Hammer | Seasons, Pt. 1

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Seasons, Pt. 1

by Jan Hammer

Seasons Pt. 1 Is The First New Album in a Decade from Acclaimed Musician and Composer Jan Hammer
Genre: Pop: Pop/Rock
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Miami: Night
4:29 $0.99
2. 68 Reasons
3:49 $0.99
3. Ocean Drive
2:53 $0.99
4. Suite European
4:42 $0.99
5. Seasons
4:39 $0.99
6. April
3:37 $0.99
7. Winter Solstice
4:56 $0.99
8. New World II
3:11 $0.99
9. Sanctuary
3:00 $0.99
10. Suite Latin
3:25 $0.99
11. Causeway Bridge
2:10 $0.99
12. Cyclone
3:01 $0.99
13. It's Time
2:04 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Jan Hammer Seasons Pt. 1

New Album is the First in a Decade from Acclaimed Musician and Composer

On July 20, 2018 after a nearly 10 year-long hiatus, Jan Hammer – whose extensive body of work has spanned the musical spectrum from jazz to prog to classical to pop – will release Seasons Pt. 1, a compilation of existing musical sketches that Jan developed into full length compositions and selections that were created just for this album. Why the delay? Laughing, Hammer emphatically says, “It’s about time.”
“I’ve actually been thinking about releasing something new for 6 or 7 years,” he continues. “This is what happens – musical ideas had accumulated in my head over time until I suddenly realized that I had more than enough for an album.” In fact, Hammer says that he’s already at work developing what now only exist as sketches for a follow up album, which will be aptly titled Seasons Pt 2.
Seasons Pt 1 features 13 tracks that range in style from the dynamic “April” to the majestic, classically tinged “Suite European.” Hammer cites influences as far ranging as the varied strains of the music he grew up with to what he calls “the elephant in the room” – his four seasons scoring Miami Vice. “I really had these residual feelings of unfinished business,” say the two-time Grammy winner. “I’m proud of the work I did for the show, and there are echoes of that music that continue to resonate for me.”
Obviously, Jan’s music for Miami Vice continues to resonate with a large audience. “Crockett’s Theme” and “Miami Vice Theme” collectively have over 14 million streams on Spotify.
Hammer’s work during his five decade-long career alongside such critically acclaimed artists as the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Neal Schon, John Abercrombie, Al Di Meola, Tony Williams, Mick Jagger, and Jeff Beck (with whom he recently performed, for the first time in 10 years, at Beck’s 2016 concert at the Hollywood Bowl) seasons the album with flavors of rock and jazz. His background as a classically trained composer is also evident throughout.
While no single style can define the album. Hammer himself describes it as “cinematic,” and as a collection of “pop songs without words.” The opening track, “Miami – Night,” was inspired by Miami Vice director Michael Mann’s technique of spraying the streets with water when taping at night to set the mood for a scene. “When I wrote ‘Miami – Night,’ explains Hammer, it felt like I was creating an opening scene in a screenplay.” Hammer has created scores for film, television shows, commercials and video games both in the US and internationally, and it’s obvious that his ability to paint pictures with sound has served and continues to serve him well.
Hammer is also widely acclaimed as a pioneer in electronic music. He was among the first musicians to play the Minimoog Moog synthesizer in a live setting. He also explored the world of computer animation as the composer and performer of the original score for the Miramar Productions video album, BEYOND The Mind's Eye, which critic Leonard Maltin lauded as “a dazzling showcase for computer animation... mesmerizing... BEYOND The Mind's Eye reflects a maturing of the [computer animation] art." Seasons Pt 1 is evidence that Hammer’s own musical evolution is keeping pace with the evolution of virtual instruments. While he is constantly impressed by the way synthesized music continues to evolve, he also acknowledges tradition. “Of course, I still have Korg, Yamaha and Kurzweil keyboards in my studio and I am always drawn to where it all started, on my grand piano,” he says.
As he enters his 5th decade of creating music that endures the test of time, Hammer is excited about being back on the scene, gratifying his loyal fans and bringing new fans into the fold.

JULY 17, 2018
Jan Hammer – Seasons Pt. 1 (2018)
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I’ve always seen keyboard whiz Jan Hammer as a much more pivotal figure in the development of fusion jazz and instrumental rock than his name recognition suggests. Co-founder of the seminal fusion band the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Hammer was also present on key releases by guitar gods Jeff Beck, Al di Meola and John Abercrombie, and had a memorable collaboration in the early 80s with Journey guitarist Neal Schon. All this and more happened prior to his career turning 1985 soundtrack to the Miami Vice TV series that became a symbol of that decade. Hammer’s sleek, synthesized grooves were in lock step with the visual of that show and that era, a perfect marriage of cinema and sound.

His profile had lowered after that but he had been no less busy scoring for full-length films, television programs, commercials and even video games while still occasionally touring and making records. Since he hadn’t made records too frequently — his last came with Cocaine Cowboys in 2007, but that was an EP-length documentary soundtrack. Seasons Pt. 1 (due out July 20, 2018) is actually the first, full-length album of new material since Drive and that was a full quarter century ago. So, Hammer was due.

Surprisingly (or maybe not), Seasons Pt. 1 picks up right where Drive left off, continuing with his unique brand of wholly keyboard-based instrumental music that sits in a space between prog-pop, fusion jazz and New Age. On the prior album, there were a few guest musicians like Jeff Beck and Michael Brecker contributing on a track or two, but this time, it’s all Hammer. That matters little because, “All Hammer” and no one else never means this isn’t anything less than a fully orchestrated sound, all springing from his fertile mind and creatively assisted by technology.

What immediately apparently from the opener “Miami – Night” is that Hammer isn’t going to pretend to be anyone but himself. Not even his ‘old’ self. The overdriven improvisational days of Mahavishnu and the fiery fusion in group settings had long given way to a tightly syncopated sound completely conceived, programmed and performed by Hammer.

And that’s gets to the marvel of that approach: he can so effectively replace virtually any instrument and fool listeners thinking they are hearing an organic instrument not just because of similar tonalities, but how they are played. After some thirty plus years, no one has been able to make a Minimoog mimic a lead electric guitar as convincingly as Hammer, or even the rhythm guitar parts, for that matter. On “Ocean Drive” he even tosses in convincing acoustic guitar impressions. But much care is applied to rhythms, and the breezy, Caribbean sway in this song is finely textured.

A few of these cuts more than merely show lineage back to the Miami Vice days; sounds particularly 80-ish and aggressive like that “Miami Vice” theme song, and “New World II” is even more so in that vein.

A headlong dive into Continental classical forms is the mission of “Suite European,” not just mimicking entire string sections but also arranging the intricate movements. “Winter Solstice” is another turn back to Hammer’s classical background, the synths’ ice symphonic backdrop earning the song’s name. The festively Latin part of “Suite Latin” kicks well into the track, preceded by another virtual orchestral setting.

“68 Reasons” is a gently rolling rock ballad in the vein of Joe Satriani’s 1988 hit “Always With Me, Always With You,” even including a ‘guitar’ lead with a clean toned resonance like Satch’s. “Sanctuary” is not the same “Sanctuary” played by Hammer and the rest of Mahavishnu on Birds Of Fire, but like the older song is structured around a cyclical chord pattern, and hip hop rhythms underpin “Cyclone,” pointing to a possible new wrinkle in Hammer’s approach.

Since this new album is titled Seasons Pt. 1, you might guess that another volume is in the works, and you’d be correct. After all, Jan Hammer has got some catching up to do.



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