JAN HAMMER Sr. (1920-1989)

15 years ago, on 2 may 1989, Jan Hammer Sr. died in Prague.  He was famous Czech jazz musician and cultural worker (a President of Prague Jazz and Modern Dance Music Club), a professional cardiologist and father of Jan Hammer Jr., who is very well known as a former member of Mahavishnu Orchestra.

Jan Hammer Sr. was playing bass as long ago as before WWII in quintet and big band of Emil Ludwik. After the war he was paying vibraphone in style of Lionel Hampton. His band, Rhythm 47, was the first one in Czechoslovakia that played bebop.

In 1947 Jan Hammer married Vlasta Pruchova, a jazz singer, and next year he graduated a music studio. That time he considered music as a hobby. Hammer was an initiator of many jam sessions and one of the best jazz organizers. In particular, it was his initiative in 1961 to set up Junior Trio consisting of Jan Hammer Jr. (piano) and two Vitous brothers - Miroslav (bass) and Allan (drums).

In 1964, vocal duet of Jan Hammer Sr. and his wife Vlasta, accompanied by Junior Trio, recorded a popular cover-version of Four Brothers, which then was performed during Jazz Jamboree 1966 in Poland.

References: (1) Jazz Forum magazine (Poland), 3, 1989; (2) Anthology of Jazz in Czechoslovakia 1958-1960, SUPRAPHON SUB 15184

submitted by: NikolaiShienok. Moscow, Russia