db                             October 1976


Make Love—MPS-BASF 20688: Make Love;
Waltz For Ivona; Braching; Domicile’s last Night;
Maliny Maliny; Goats Song; Responsibility
Personnel: Hammer, piano and organ; George Mraz,
bass; Cees See, drums.

Hammer’s increasing commercial viability was likely the key incentive in BASF’s decision to release Make Love, a live recording presumably from his pre-synthesizer days in trio format. I say “presumably” because BASF has seen fit to afford no information about when the session was taped, only that it was recorded at the noisy Domicile in Munich, where the crowds din occasionally drowns out the musicians.  Still, in the intimate club atmosphere, the reserved performances included are perfectly acceptable.  The Jan Hammer of Make Love is a young musician heavily indebted to the bluesy, mid–‘60s persuals of Ramsey Lewis, Herbie Hancock  and Jimmy Smith.  Few of the mannerisms that so clearly define Hammer’s modern style – the fiery, arcing phrasing, the slurring, exclamatory attack—are in evidence, and, as a result, the record should be listened to from the perspective of its historical importance.

Playboy                                                                                  November,  1976

Jan Hammer 
Oh, Yeah? (Nemperor/Atlantic)
Make Love (MPS/BASF)

There’s little doubt that Jan Hammer is now in the public consciousness.  As soon as we heard the First Seven Days album, we knew it was going to happen, and it has.  The kind of music that’s getting him all of the attention these days; the LP with Jeff Beck (Wired), and Oh, Yeah? featuring the Jan Hammer Group (Hammer on almost every kind of keyboard, Steve Kindler, violin, Fernando Saunders, bass and vocals and Tony Smith, drums and vocals).  Oh, Yeah? is a very tricky package.  Hammer plays as if he had a dozen fingers on each hand, and some of the numbers sound like they’re designed to transport you straight to disco land—a strong almost hypnotic beat, figures that repeat themselves and vocals that can vie for honors with any of the biggest pop-rock groups around.  It’s all done marvelously well, mind you, but it has the stamp of a commercial cookie cutter.  Oh, Yeah? was recorded in Hammer’s Red Gate Studio in upstate New York.

Make Love (originally released as Maliny Maliny in 1968) on MPS/BASF was recorded live in Munich when Hammer was only twenty years old and before he was influenced by western pop.  Maybe that has something to do with this writer’s appreciation of it over the former.  Hammer only plays piano and organ; he just has bassist George Mraz and drummer Cees See for backing and there are no vocals within earshot.  Simple stuff—but  cerebral enough to bring you back for multiple replays.  It boils down to what’s new and what’s nuance.  We’ll take the velvet glove every time.