Jan Hammer/Melodies/
Nemperor JZ 35003

This man's list of credits is incredible. With John McLaughlin, he formed the first edition of the Mahavishnu Orchestra. He was a strong catalyst in the resurgence of Jeff Beck's career, composing, producing and playing. He is a piano player who is actually known more for his synthesizer than anything else.

Melodies is a radical departure from anything he's ever attempted. "I'd been asking myself what's wrong with today's music," Hammer states. His answer is the album's title. "l was coming to the end of the road with jazz/rock, even though people were copying it. There are only so many years you can milk out of a style...to the average listener it is just a lot of notes, being played very fast, they can't sing along to it. I'm tired of it. I just skip those things that sound too busy. I want to write and play music that holds my interest, that's the only way I can expect to hold other people's interest.

The result is his first pop record. He sees it as a more direct form of communication with the audience, short melodic vehicles for himself and drummer Tony Smith, violinist Steve Kindler, and bassist Fernando Saunders. There are no guitars. "I cannot accept a steady diet of a group that includes guitars."

Melodies is eleven tracks with only two instrumentals. All four band members sing. Hammer wrote the music. Ivona Reich, his wife, wrote the lyrics. It should be a big surprise to a lot of people, especially the jazz fans. They just won't believe it.