Jan Hammer + Jeff Beck Perform ‘Star Cycle’ Live

This video captures a live performance by the late Jeff Beck & Jan Hammer of Hammer’s composition, Star Cycle.

The performance is from a concert at the Hollywood Bowl in 2016, in celebration of Jeff Beck’s 50 year musical career. It highlights the musical chemistry between Beck and Hammer. Hammer is known for holding his own onstage with guitarists, including Beck, Al Di Meola, Carlos Santana, Neal Schon and even Eddie Van Halen.

Star Cycle comes from Beck’s 1980 album There and Back. The track may sound familiar to some listeners, because of its similarity to Hammer’s iconic theme to Miami Vice, from 1984.

The performance features the following performers:

Jeff Beck: Lead Guitar
Jan Hammer: Keyboards
Carmen Vandenberg: Rhythm Guitar
Rhonda Smith: Bass Guitar
Jonathan Joseph: Drums

While Hammer is sometimes celebrated for bring a rock sensibility to television soundtracks, the Miami Vice sound is inextricably tied to jazz fusion of the early 80s. His work with Jeff Beck on There and Back and with Al Di Meola on Scenario are clear precursors to his Miami Vice score.

Check it out and share your thoughts in the comments!

5 thoughts on “Jan Hammer + Jeff Beck Perform ‘Star Cycle’ Live

  1. Wow! I’ve been a huge Jan Hammer fan since I first saw the Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1973. Anybody who saw them would certainly have had to have added John McLaughlin to the list of incredible guitarists that Jan has played along side of. Although the main leads that cut through Birds of Fire, for example, are managed by McLaughlin and Jerry Goodman, when you see it live you can see how much Hammer contributed on synth. At some points, Hammer’s leads were nearly indistinguishable from McLaughlin’s because of his expert use of pitch bend. Then there is the fact that they are playing in either 9/8 or 18/8 (depending on how you count it in tempo), with everybody cutting the main time signature up their own way, makes that McLaughlin/Hammer lead playing all the more memorable. Seeing him here with Jeff Beck (RIP) really made my day.

  2. WoW utterly wOw what a performance¬°! by two of the best at(in)their craft(field)ever¬° Jan Hammer & (RIP)Jeff Beck truly inspiring thanx folks

  3. “Scenario” is a major keeper, but yes, Beck & Hammer were kindred spirits. Only people with similar sensibilities can play off of one another like that. Jan Hammer was one of the players who drew me into synthesizers as something you could play balls-to-the-wall rather than just being a novelty. Great concert moment.

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