Jan Hammer: Oh, Yeah?
Jan Hammer Group
Oh, Yeah? (Wounded Bird B000IHYXE4)
Jan Hammer (vocals, keyboards),
Steve Kindler (violin), Fernando Saunders (bass, vocals),Tony Smith (drums, vocals), David Earle Johnson (percussion).
Composed by Jan Hammer & Fernando Saunders.
Recorded: New York, April 1976
Rating: 92/100 (learn more)
Keyboard and Moog pioneer Jan Hammer appeared on several important records during the end of his tenure with the Mahavishnu Orchestra and soon after. His keyboard voice was a key element in the success of Billy Cobham's groundbreaking fusion outing Spectrum. His playing and composing were integral parts of Jeff Beck's Wired. He also recorded with Elvin Jones and John Abercrombie. At the same time, Jan's solo career was burgeoning. Counting Like Children with fellow Mahavishnu alumnus Jerry Goodman, Oh, Yeah? was Hammer's third stateside release as a leader.
Slowly but surely Hammer was moving away from the heavy fusion of the early '70s to a more accessible sound. Oh, Yeah? was still a fusion album. But the seeds of another direction were being planted.
"Oh, Yeah?" is a light, bouncy and catchy number. So much so, it was even released as a single. In mood it was the antithesis of anything Mahavishnu ever played. Tony Smith starts things off with a shuffle beat. Hammer enters with a simple sing-songy Moog riff. It builds in complexity only to be interrupted by the humorous "Oh, Yeah?" vocal refrain (Jan Hammer calls it "grumbling"). Kindler often doubles-up with Hammer while the rhythm section maintains an almost robotic pulse. This is probably one of those songs that were a lot more complicated to play than it seemed. But if the goal was simply to generate some impressive licks, have fun and make heads bob, Jan Hammer and the band succeeded in a big way.
After many years of not performing in the United States, Jan Hammer appeared at the 2006 Moog Fest in New York City. Interestingly, he performed with the Mahavishnu Project as his backing band. His set opened with an energetic "Oh, Yeah?" It brought the house down!
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky