Grits & Gravy and First Class Kloss!, the two LPs paired herein, were the third and fourth albums for Prestige by the sightless alto and tenor saxophone prodigy Eric Kloss. Kloss (b. 1949) could be described as an early freebopper, who not only had absorbed all of what bebop and modal developments had to offer but had also judiciously taken a page or two from the avant-gardists who were making their mark on the jazz of the mid-1960s. On the three sessions comprising this disc, Kloss fronts a quartet, a quintet, and a septet that is augmented by a female vocal group. On the five quartet cuts from Grits & Gravy, the rhythm section is merely one of the two or three best in the world at that time: pianist Jaki Byard, bassist Richard Davis, and drummer Alan Dawson. Dawson is retained on the quintet date, featuring Jimmy Owens, then a highly in-demand trumpeter-flugelhornist, as Kloss's front-line partner. The redoubtable Cedar Walton on piano and bassist Leroy Vinnegar complete the rhythm section. The septet selections, while more obviously commercial in nature, are nonetheless tastefully done.
with Danny Bank, Teddy Charles, Al Williams, Billy Butler, Ronnie Boykins, Robert Gregg, Jaki Byard, Richard Davis, Alan Dawson, Jimmy Owens, Cedar Walton, Leroy Vinnegar