Jan Hammer

Jan Hammer ( born April 17, 1948 in Prague when Jan Hamr ) is a Czech jazz pianist and keyboardist, who now works primarily as a film composer.


Jan Hammer is the son of Czech singer Vlasta Průchová and cardiologist Jan Hammer senior. At the age of four, he began playing the piano. As a student he founded at the age of fourteen years, a jazz trio and played in many countries of Eastern Europe. He studied at the Prague Academy of Music until his period of study was stopped early after the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union. Shortly thereafter he moved to the USA where he had received a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston.


Mahavishnu Orchestra

Hammer was from 1971 to 1973 member of the Mahavishnu Orchestra and played with John McLaughlin (guitar), Jerry Goodman ( violin), Rick Laird (bass) and Billy Cobham (drums), the highly acclaimed fusion records "The Inner Mounting Flame " "Birds of Fire" and " Between Nothingness and Eternity " one. Until her farewell concert on December 30, 1973, she appeared at 530 concerts. The Jan Hammer Group then founded by him received great reviews, both from the jazz as well as from the rock area. The resulting album Timeless in June 1974 the guitarist John Abercrombie is one of the rare opportunities to listen Jan Hammer as pianist.


In 1978 he recorded the album " Black Sheep " on which he played every instrument himself. From this work out the group Hammer was born. In this year he also wrote three songs for the new album " There and Back " by Jeff Beck, released in 1980. The song written by him "Star Cycle" became the signature tune of the successful British television series "The Tube".

The early 1980s

The late 1970s until the early 1980s took Al di Meola with Jan Hammer albums " Elegant Gypsy ", " casino ", " Splendido Hotel " and " Electric Rendezvous " on. At the same time Jan Hammer toured with Journey guitarist Neal Schon & Hammer under the name already. Under this they released the albums " Untold Passion" (1981) and " Here to Stay " (1982). In the years 1982 and 1983, the Jan Hammer strap with Carsten Bohn, Jack Bruce and Colin Hodgkinson was on tour in the U.S. and Europe. In December 1983, Hammer played with Jeff Beck at new benefit concerts in the U.S. for Ronnie Lane's ARMS ( Action Research into Multiple Sclerosis ) followed Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker and many others took part. In 1984 he was involved as a producer and co-writer on the first solo album " City Slicker " by James Young ( Styx ). Also to Mick Jagger's album " She's the boss," he was involved.

Miami Vice

Jan Hammer had already composed three soundtracks for movies and music for numerous documentaries and commercials, but the public properly known as a composer, he was made possible by Miami Vice.

In 1984 he was commissioned to write the title theme and the background music for a new American crime series. On 2 November 1985, the Miami Vice Soundtrack stormed to the top of the Billboard charts. With more than four million sold copies of the album went platinum four times in the USA.

At the Grammy Awards in February of 1986, the " Miami Vice Theme " received two awards. One for "Best Instrumental performance in the area of ​​Pop " and a second for "Best Instrumental Composition". In addition, Jan Hammer received two Emmy nominations in 1985 and 1986. At the end of 1986 Jan Hammer by the readers of the magazine " Keyboard Magazine " "Best Studio Synthesist " is selected.

1988 Jan Hammer composed the theme music for the European television series Eurocops.

From the 1990s

In the 1990s, Jan Hammer put his attention again on film and television soundtracks (including " With I Come in Peace", " Curiosity Kills ", a television spot for Amnesty International, "Knight Rider 2000 ", " The Taking of Beverly Hills " and " Sunset Heat "). In 1995 he created the soundtrack for the pilot and the thirteen episodes of the series " Vanishing Son ". In 1996 the film music for " A Modern Affair" and "In the Kingdom of the Blind the Man with One Eye Is King ". From 1996 to 2000 he also wrote all the music for the station TV Nova, the first commercial television station in Eastern Europe from the Czech Republic. In 1997 he composed the soundtrack for the computer game " Outlaw Racers " (Mega Media ), 2003 edited Jan Hammer his debut album, released in 1975 on behalf of Sony Records and re- released a remastered version of it. In 2006, he won by rapper Terrance Quaites for a re-recording of the song " Crockett 's Theme ". In this version, the song reached in Germany for the second time the charts.


  • Maliny Maliny - " Jan Hammer Trio" with George Mraz and Cees lake; as MPS plate as Make Love (1968 )
  • Like Children - with Jerry Goodman ( 1974)
  • The First Seven Days (1975 )
  • Oh Yeah - Jan Hammer Group ( 1976)
  • Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group Live (1977 )
  • Melodies - Jan Hammer Group ( 1977)
  • Black Sheep (1978 )
  • Hammer ( 1979)
  • Untold Passion - with Neal Schon (1981 )
  • Here to Stay - with Neal Schon (1983 )
  • Miami Vice ( 1985)
  • The Early Years (1986 )
  • Escape from Television ( 1987)
  • Snapshots (1989 )
  • Beyond The Mind's Eye ( 1992)
  • Drive (1994 )
  • Snaphots 1.2 ( 2000)
  • Miami Vice: The Complete Collection (2002)
  • The First Seven Days (2003)
  • The Best Of Miami Vice ( 2004)
  • Black Sheep / Hammer (2005)
  • Mourners Rhapsody - ( Czeslaw Niemen with Ribbon - Jan Hammer, Rick Laird, John Abercrombie, and other musicians ) NYC, CBS 1974


Hammer was awarded in 1986 for Best Instrumental Composition and Best Pop Instrumental Performance for the Miami Vice theme each a Grammy Award.