Jan Hammer: Waltz for Ivonna


Waltz for Ivonna


Jan Hammer (keyboards)


Maliny Maliny (MPS 1784595)

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Jan Hammer (keyboards), George Mraz (bass),

Cees See (drums)


Composed by Jan Hammer


Recorded: Munich, Germany, August 1968


Rating: 91/100 (learn more)

On Jan Hammer's debut record as leader, he switched between piano and organ for each number. (At least, that is how it is presented on the record.) It provides a nice sonic balance for this classically trained keyboardist to be heard in two very different but standard jazz contexts. Hammer's organ trio, as heard on this cut, is more traditional than his piano trio. His sound and approach are not that different from Larry Young's pre-Tony Williams Lifetime output, but Hammer focuses more on melody. Which makes all the sense in the world, since writing good melodies is one of his greatest strengths.

I have mentioned in other Hammer reviews that he seems to come from a simple place and incorporate all of his knowledge to build from there. The same is true on "Waltz for Ivonna." The simple becomes more engaging as it grows. He is joined on this live recording by fellow countryman bassist George Mraz, who would soon thereafter immigrate, as would Hammer, to the United States to study at the Berklee School of Music. His performance on this tune justifies that scholarship. The Dutch drummer Cees See filled out the trio. He was best known for playing with Klaus Doldinger, and holds up his end of the bargain for this triad. MPS has done all of us a great service by releasing this historic recording so it could be heard for the first time on CD. It gives us a very good sense of Jan Hammer's jazz bona fides.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky


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