Jan Hammer: Make Love
Jan Hammer (keyboards)
Maliny Maliny (MPS 1784595)
Recorded: live at Jazzclub Domicile, Munich, Germany, August 1968
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
Maliny Maliny was Jan Hammer's first album as leader. Recorded live in Germany, the recording was very much unknown outside of Europe. Eight years later, after Hammer had made a name for himself with the Mahavishnu Orchestra and his own solo recordings, the album was released in the United States under the new title Make Love. Finally, through the good graces of MPS, the album is available on CD under its original title. Detailed liner notes explain that the record actually was released under three different titles over the years. It is an interesting story, and I will not spoil it for you. I would rather that you obtain the CD and read for yourself. The liner notes also reflect that MPS took the release of this historically important recording seriously. Even so, bear in mind that due to translation issues and a few faulty memories, not everything you read may be entirely accurate. And sometimes it's even a bit funny.
Twenty-year-old Jan Hammer's trio included bassist George (Jiri) Mraz, who would go on to a highly successful career as well, and drummer Cees See. If you were told the piano player on this cut was Ramsey Lewis playing live in Hermosa Beach in 1966, you wouldn't doubt it for an instant. You don't realize it yet, but this performance will be Hammer's most out-of-character on the record. This type of piano jazz was popular at the time. Perhaps Hammer wanted to be hip in order to grab the attention of the club's patrons, many of whom were still eating. (Clanging silverware and glasses give that away.). Mraz does take a bowed solo that would be unusual on any of Ramsey's pop-oriented performances. The trio returns to the Lewis-like groove to finish things out. It took only one such performance for fusion fans to have a brand new appreciation of Jan Hammer and his roots. The greatest fusion musicians were great jazz players first.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky