Monday, August 12, 2013

Jan Hammer--Miami Vice Theme (1985)

     If you are over 30, you probably remember the effect that the show, "Miami Vice" had in the year 1985. The show was a huge hit and made Don Johnson into a star. It's use of color on the show became a trademark of the 80's (for better or for worse). It had an effect on fashion, as Johnson's pastel t-shirts with white coat and pants ensemble, became a fashion statement in a decade of strange fashion statements. I need to take the time to mention, in full disclosure, that your writer fell prey to that particular statement. Thankfully, all photograph evidence of this has been destroyed. Let's just say that the outfits look great on Mr. Johnson, but were not meant for men who are built like fireplugs.
     In an era where the creative outlets of music and film became fully wedded, the music took on as much of the scenery as the city of Miami itself. This was due mainly to the talents of Jan Hammer. Jan, who moved to the Untied States from Czechoslovakia in 1968 to take advantage of a scholarship from the Berklee School Of Music, was well intrenched in the world of Jazz, then Jazz Fusion. He was one of the pioneers in that genre as one of the original members of the Mahavishnu Orchestra. He released his first solo album in 1975 and then formed, The Jan Hammer Band that next year. For the next several years he traded off solo projects and band albums, including several very good collaborations with guitarist Jeff Beck and also with Al Di Meola.
     To the average Joe however, his most notable work started with Miami Vice. It can be stressful enough to score a movie or one TV show, but he consistently scored a number of pieces for the show. The theme not only gave him his only hit, but opened up a totally new field for him. Since he has scored a number of movies, and continued to record with many artists in jazz and pop fields.



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