Jan Hammer Group | Melodies

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Pop: 70's Pop Urban/R&B: R&B Pop Crossover Moods: Type: Vocal
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by Jan Hammer Group

Jan Hammer's excursion into the world of R&B Pop. The members of his group are the same that recorded the album Oh Yeah and backed Jan and Jeff Beck on their year long tour resulting in the Gold album Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group Live.
Genre: Pop: 70's Pop
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Too Much to Lose
2:47 $0.99
2. Peaceful Sundown
3:56 $0.99
3. I Sing
4:21 $0.99
4. Honey 5379
2:38 $0.99
5. Window of Love
3:33 $0.99
6. What It Is
2:58 $0.99
7. Don't You Know
3:00 $0.99
8. Just for Fun
4:11 $0.99
9. Hyperspace
3:42 $0.99
10. Who Are They?
6:16 $0.99
11. Your Love
3:38 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
All Music Guide

By the time of Melodies, keyboardist Jan Hammer had largely shed his more experimental tendencies and settled into a comfortable, R&B-based fusion groove. The tracks on Melodies tend to be between two-and-a-half and four-and-a-half minutes -- just about the length of most pop songs -- and so some hardcore jazz listeners might be dismayed at the relative lack of boundary-stretching, even though that isn't really the point of this music. Its best moments are catchy, accessible, and funky.


5.0 out of 5 stars The Classic That Never Was, September 10, 2006
By Andre S. Grindle
Melodies (Audio CD)

No matter how many times I listen to it the Jan Hammer Group's 'Melodies' it 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 immaculate from song to song. Jan's keyboards and synthesizer and Steve Kindler's violin often merge into one single entity. These songs and lyrics are truely as stylistically diverse as they come. 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. Saunders bass on the hip-shaking funky tune "Honey 5379", the deep "Who 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 reverbed drums have a sound all their own. Lyricly the songs are truly inspirational and sung with conviction. 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 Mahavishnu Orchestra. 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. On the finale, "Your Love" he displays his talents as a brilliant acoustic pianist - it's simple and very beautiful. The only thing I believe that kept this album from being successful and a pop chart hit was the simple fact that if Nemperor Records a division of CBS who released the album in 1977 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 Moon and Rumours as one of the great pop releases of the 70's. I thank Wounded Bird Records for putting this out on CD. If you like 70's pop and even if your knowledge of classic albums doesn't extend beyond what Rolling Stone magazine critics or VH1 tells you are classic albums this is more than worth your time picking up.


5.0 out of 5 stars Very memorable music, April 9, 2006
By M. Bashore
Album review: Jan Hammer Group - MELODIES (Audio CD) Original release Nemperor (CBS) Records 1977

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 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 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."



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