Stereo Review



Jan Hammer Group, MELODIES
Nemperor JZ 35003

Recording: Excellent
Performance: Excellent

To me, the music has always spoken louder than words; and this quartet is definitely unabashed about playing and saying exactly what they feel. These four musicians are passionately in love with the music, as is evident by their ability to play literally anything from classical to pure funk. Which, when seriously considered; it's just about as broad a spectrum imaginable.

Vocals by drummer Tony Smith and Detroit's own Fernando Saunders are both powerful and sensitive. There Is not one weak spot on this album. And this is extremely rare under any circumstances.

Jan Hammer once again demonstrates his total mastery over all recent developments in the electronic keyboard idiom. Not to mention the beautifully compelling "Your Love," written and performed by Hammer on the acoustic piano, synthesizers, mellotron, and assisted by Steve Kindler on violin. Kindler's performance on the album is reserved, with the exception of "Hyperspace," which he wrote, and serves as a perfect vehicle for his talents.

Tony Smith shows us the true meaning of what a professional drummer is all about. His playing at times seems deceptively simple. But upon closer examination, one realizes that the ease with which he plays sometimes disguises his flowing, thoughtful complicated style.

Fernando Saunders is by far the most impressive addition to Hammers' group, with his flawless performance and impeccable bass tone. His knowledge and use of guitar, cello, electric piccolo base, the bass itself. and vocal work can leave us with but one thought; we'll all be. hearing a lot more of this man in the near future.

If you don't want to miss out on one of the more important performances of today's music, I'd pick up this album immediately (JOD)