Album Review: Jan Hammer – Seasons Pt. 2
Listeners of a certain age know Jan Hammer for his work with the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Jeff Beck; younger ones will recall his “Miami Vice Theme.” In recent years his music has often leaned toward new age. But his latest release, Seasons Pt. 2 synthesizes (so to speak) all of his disparate stylistic excursions. It’s an instrumental set full of classic-sounding keyboard textures, but it has teeth. His strong melodic sense and facile ability to combine a vast array of sounds is well showcased here.
The peerless drumming of Simon Phillips provides some of the rock-solid bottom end on these tracks, and Hammer – who plays everything else you’ll hear on the set – masterfully evokes the sound and feel of basses, guitar and whatnot-else through deft use of his keyboard arsenal. (Though I’m pretty sure he’s playing some real stringed instruments here as well.)
A wonderfully evocative set, the album has something of a theme, but as with much of the best instrumental music, the listener’s imagination can take flight in whatever direction it chooses. The music is varied, exploring a wide variety of tonal qualities and emotional directions. It’s thrilling, peaceful, contemplative and propulsive, though obviously not all at once.
About the Author
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4000-plus interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill's work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance (including monthly events Music to Your Ears and Music Movie Mondays), and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts. In Spring 2023 he is co-teaching a history of Rock 'n' Roll at UNC Asheville's College for Seniors. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues -- more than 30 to date -- and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. His second book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, was published in 2021 by HoZac Books. His third book, What's the Big Idea: 40 Great Concept Albums will be published in 2024. Read even more about him here.