The prodigious Jan hammer talks about the triton extreme.
There aren't many things that Jan Hammer hasn't accomplished during his 40-odd years in the music business. By the age of 14 the Prague-born keyboard prodigy was touring as part of a jazz ensemble, which also included future Weather Report man, Miroslav Vitous. He was then accepted at the prestigious Berklee School Of Music. He then toured with big name jazzers such as Sarah Vaughan and Elvin Jones, and joined John McLaughlin's esteemed Mahavishnu Orchestra. He further garnered critical acclaim for his solo work, and scored countless movie and TV soundtracks. Including, of course, Miami Vice, which earned him a couple of Grammys and two worldwide hits: Miami Vice and Crockett's Theme.
Not bad, eh. And it seems like he's showing no signs of slowing down. The soundtrack work still comes in thick and fast, all recorded at his massive studio complex just north of New York City, and he;s just finished a tour with guitar legend, Jeff Beck.
I suppose most people do think of me as a studio musician, says the ever-amiable Hammer, and I did go through a whole period where I wasn't interested in going out on the road. Touring had become such a big business. It didn't seem as much fun anymore. And, being a keyboard player, there was also the problem of whether your gear would survive being taken out on the road. Lots of different keyboards and synths and mixers, there was so much that could go wrong.
But not any more. The arrival of the Triton Extreme has revolutionized Hammer's live set-up.
One of the reasons I decided to tour with Jeff Beck was that I realised I could do a whole concert on this one keyboard. Just plug in to the PA, power-up and away you go. Give me a Triton Extreme with the Moss Board (which adds the powerful synth engine from the Z1) and I am able to recreate any sound and tone I have ever used in my entire career. And a whole load more I haven?t even dreamed of, yet. From the real hardcore sounds to the most beautiful strings, it's all there. Plus an incredible sample library.
In fact, it seems that Hammer has actually been a Triton fan for a few years now.
I got one of the real early ones and added the Moss board as soon as I could. For me, the Z1 is the real deal when it comes to synths. But the Z1 is not really enough to go out on the road with. Once I had the Moss board in the Triton, though, I realised I'd got all I needed right there in front of me. And on the Extreme, they've added the valve, which takes things that one step further.
Luckily, when you're just taking one synth on tour, making sure you've got a back-up is pretty easy.
It doesn't get any simpler, smiles Hammer. While I'm up there playing away on stage, I just have another Extreme sitting behind me all powered up and ready. If there are any problems, I just go from one Extreme to the other. Ha ha.
In the old days I used to tour with a collection of antique synths and cobbled together prototypes. If one of those broke down, I was screwed. Royally! That used to be the story of my life, running around some city somewhere, looking for spares. But then I discovered the Korg Wavestation and the M1, and that really turned me on to the idea that everything could be done in one instrument. The Triton Extreme is just a natural evolution.