Jan Hammer: Hyperspace
Jan Hammer Group
Melodies (Wounded Bird WOU 5003)
Jan Hammer (synthesizer),
Steve Kindler (electric and acoustic violins, electric guitar, cello).
Composed by Steve Kindler.
Recorded: Kent, NY, 1977
Rating: 85/100 (learn more)
There are slim pickings for fusion fans on Melodies. Jan Hammer's new direction was clearly evident by this time. The album contains plenty of wonderfully fleshed-out ideas as expected. But the attempt to go mainstream with a mix of those ideas, R&B and soul vocals created a genre all its own that was not to the liking of many people I knew. Tony Smith and Fernando Sanders, the other members of the Jan Hammer Group, are great musicians and could sing. But I must admit I still cringe at the entrance of their voices on Melodies. To me they impinge on the great fusion festivities. I would say the same if Stevie Wonder and Al Green were the vocalists! If it ain't broke…
"Hyperspace" is a worthwhile cut. Written by gifted violinist and composer Steve Kindler, it mixes classical music, electronica and jazz opera. The piece would have been a good fit on Hammer's earlier classic The First Seven Days. The two musicians create a palpable drama. The music is precise and ingratiating. The synthesized electronics, for those days, give "Hyperspace" an added attraction. Only the allusion to improvisation exists. But the tune could be dropped into the middle of any fusion anthem and work.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky