Jan Hammer's musical career is as firmly rooted in the fundamentals of classical, jazz and rock as it is committed to the future of electronics, synthesized sound, the possibilities of interactive media, television, film and animation. His walls are lined with Grammy awards and gold and platinum plaques from around the world. His name is found on scores of recordings spanning the 1970s to the '90s -- solo albums, collaborations with the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jeff Beck, Al Di Meola, Mick Jagger, Carlos Santana, Stanley Clarke, Elvin Jones, and many others.
Jan has composed and produced at least 14 original motion picture soundtracks, the music for 90 episodes of Miami Vice (2006) (which spun-off four soundtrack albums and its worldwide #1 hit theme song), 20 episodes of the popular British television series Chancer (1990), and the music for Beyond the Mind's Eye, one of the all-time best-selling music videos in Billboard chart history. Jan Hammer was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
He began playing piano at age four; formal classical instruction began two years later. By 14 he was performing and recording throughout Eastern Europe with his own jazz trio. He entered Prague Academy of Muse Arts, but with the Russian invasion in 1968, he came to the U.S., to attend the Berklee School of Music in Boston (on a scholarship) and become a citizen.
Jan spent a year as keyboardist/conductor with Sarah Vaughan. In 1971, he became a member of the original Mahavishnu Orchestra, (then) the most successful group ever to record and tour in the jazz- rock fusion genre, selling over 2 million records worldwide, and performing 530 shows before their December 31, 1973 farewell concert. Jan's solo career began with Sodom & Gomorrah (1975), produced and recorded at Red Gate Studio in his upstate New York farmhouse. Over the next decade Jan produced and performed on nearly 20 albums with his own bands (the Jan Hammer Group, and later Hammer), and such musicians as Beck, Al Di Meola, and Neal Schon (of Journey), among others.