Jan Hammer: Your Love
Jan Hammer Group
Melodies (Wounded Bird WOU 5003)
Jan Hammer (synthesizers, keyboards),
Steve Kindler (violin).
Composed by Jan Hammer.
Recorded: Kent, NY, 1977
Rating: 86/100 (learn more)
Melodies was not exactly your fusion fan's wet dream. In fact, it was more of a nightmare. The pioneering jazz-rock star Jan Hammer was leaving the fold. There had been earlier indications of the move, but Melodies sealed it. For those of us who'd been feeding on a steady diet of superior fusion music from Hammer, it was like losing a brother. I had a gig as a jazz DJ when the record came out. To this day I remember searching each cut frantically for the Jan Hammer I loved. Instead I heard vocalized R&B and soul ballads. Those were OK for those who wanted to hear them. But you could count me out. I began to sweat. I may not have eaten lunch that day. Years later as I listen to the album again, I am heartened that nowadays you can download a single cut here and there to fill out your musical needs. So allow me to cherry pick.
"Your Love" was the album's final cut. If it had been the first selection, my panic attack would have been delayed by 3 minutes and 43 seconds. It is an instrumental featuring only Hammer and violinist Steve Kindler. It is beautiful. Once again Hammer displays his great composing skills and effecting playing style. The tune is performed on piano and violin with a synthesized backdrop. Hammer adds some synthesized flourishes. On its own, "Your Love" would not be considered jazz-rock. But a lot of fusion consisted of written-out arrangements that could be dropped into larger improvised pieces. This song would fit that category. And needless to say, compared with the rest of the album, this is fusion!
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky