Neal Schon & Jan Hammer: Untold Passion
Untold Passion (Sony SRCS 6188)
Colin Hodgkinson (bass).
Composed by Neal Schon.
Recorded: Kent, NY, 1981
Rating: 96/100 (learn more)
When guitarist Neal Schon, the founding father of the mega-rock band Journey, started playing with fusion legend Jan Hammer, it really cemented Hammer's move into the rock mainstream. Or did it? Surprisingly, Untold Passion contains its fair share of non-vocal fusion numbers among its rock entries. There was still hope! At the very least, it suggested that Schon had great affinity for fusion music. To those who are familiar with Schon's background, this should not have been a surprise. The guy was a certified Mahavishnu Orchestra freak when he was young. (He has said in interviews that he still is a fan.) When Journey first started out, it was also heavily influenced by the Orchestra. To make the big rock bucks, that had to change and did. Enter vocalist Steve Perry.
"Untold Passion" is a superior piece of music. Schon and Hammer begin with revolving synthesizer arpeggios. Hammer, as drummer, kicks in with a backbeat as we hear his overdubbed synthesizer expose the melody. It is simply beautiful in a fusion sort of way. Schon then contributes an equally effective statement. The players trade off as the intensity continues to build until a cavernous edifice is created. In the Fusion dictionary, a picture of this song is shown next to the entry "Fusion Anthem." So it turns out that jazz-rock was still alive in 1981 and could be found lurking on a Neal Schon & Jan Hammer rock record! Yes, maybe there was still hope.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky