Jan Hammer: Bambu Forest


Bambu Forest


Jan Hammer (keyboards, percussion)


Oh, Yeah? (Wounded Bird WOU-437)

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Jan Hammer (keyboards, percussion),

Steve Kindler (violin), Fernando Saunders (bass), Tony Smith (drums), David Earle Johnson (congas and percussion)


Composed by Jan Hammer & David Earle Johnson


Recorded: New York, April 1976


Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

Of all Jan Hammer's post-Mahavishnu Orchestra material, "Bambu Forest" comes closest in sound and purpose to Mahavishnu's music. Its circular motion is reminiscent of the arpeggio figures often used in the Orchestra's arrangements. Of note was Hammer's choice to not use a guitarist in his early post-Mahavishnu days. His synthesizers were becoming more and more capable of reproducing "guitar-like" sounds. In fact, on the bottom of many of his album covers during this time there would be the small remark that "absolutely no guitars were used on this recording."

The sweeping melody is played on the left-hand side of the keyboard. Fernando Saunders's throbbing bass, a key component throughout, aids the deepness of the song's main theme. Hammer's solo is as wild as any guitar slinger's. In the tune's slowed-down midsection the bass becomes even more pronounced as it bounces off the floor like a big rubber ball. The semi-sinister licks you hear are coming from violinist Steve Kindler. The tune takes on a bit of hope before turning back to the dark side. "Bambu Forest" may sound like a Mahavishnu number. But Jan Hammer would probably tell you that a large part of Mahavishnu sounded like Jan Hammer. And he would be right.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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