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The Miami Vice Soul Is Here,
By A Customer
This review is from: Escape From Television (Audio CD)
There would be no Miami Vice without Don Johnson or Philip Michael Thomas. The same and not less can be said about Jan Hammer. When he left the series in the last season (1988-1989), even though his successor Tim Truman did a good job, it was like one of the principal characters left. This album contains the quintessential Miami Vice music, although Jan Hammer did material for a 5 CD set. It would be nice to have a Hammer's Miami Vice collection released one day, a complete one (you can find more Miami Vice music on "Snapshots 1.2", Miami Vice I, II, III).
All the music on this CD may be heard on Miami Vice, but the booklet informs that "Forever Tonight" (previously heard with vocals in the albun "Hammer") and "Before the Storm" are not Miami Vice tracks. These two tracks are, respectively, from "Child's play" and "Love at First Sight" episodes of the fourth season (after the release of this album). The hits "Miami Vice Theme" (unfortunately not the rare remix version unavailable on CD, nor the first four episodes "off-guitar version") and "Crockett's Theme" are together with great icons of the series. "Rico's Blues" (along with "Flashback" from Miami Vice volume I) could be named as "Tubbs' theme". "Theresa" shows Jan's refined production on combination of sounds. This can also be said about most tracks of the album, "Before the storm" and its Rhodes piano, "Forever Tonight" (and its remix) with the synth sounds, "Colombia" with the Andean flutes and percussion blocks (actually Farlight CMI samples) are just some examples. A complaint: some differences between what we hear on the episodes and on this album (mixing differences and sometimes more than that). Most of time what is on the CD is better treated than in the episode, but in the episode there was the first impression. But this does not put the style away, not a bit.
One could say that this music is more effective through the episodes action, which is quite non-sense. This music IS the episode action, not the contrary: it was made for that and works like that perfectly well. "The Trial" is the character of criminal judgement of young General Lao Li grandsons, "The Search", in the same way, the mood of Tubbs disappearance or the deadly encouter with druglord Mario Fuente (Frank Zappa). What would be of "Rites of Passage" or "The Prodigal Son" episodes without "Tubbs and Valerie" (one of the most remarkable Miami Vice tunes)? This happens also between "Trust fund Pirates" episode and "Night Talk" (orinally from the "Made for Each Other" episode). And what would be of "One way ticket" without the good vibrated "Rum Cay" and, on the other hand, the extremely dramatic and disturbed "Last Flight"? Possibly those moments would mean much less without those tracks.
Jan Hammer's Vice music was exhaustively imitated during the eighties, and even re-recorded by others. But his music character is unique as some of his timbres are. And for sure the musical character one could hear on this album. We must remember that Hammer is more than just Miami Vice. From Mahavishnu Orchestra to "The First Seven Days", from "Oh, Yeah?" to "Secret Admirer", he passed through lots of musical moments. This CD is one of them, a very important one: the Miami Vice Heart.