Eric Kloss

One of the brightest stars of Prestige’s roster during the second half of the 1960s, altoist Eric Kloss was a fiery post-bop soloist with a sound of his own, not only on alto but occasionally on tenor.

Blind since birth, Kloss developed quite young into a talented saxophonist. He worked in the Pittsburgh area in the early 1960s, playing with Bob Negri’s group when he was just 12. He studied with Lee Konitz, Sonny Stitt, and James Moody, working in 1965 with guitarist Pat Martino when he was 16.

Kloss made his recording debut that same year on the first of ten albums that he led for Prestige during 1965-1970. Eight of the recordings have been reissued on four CDs and they feature Kloss as a very open-minded soloist, grounded in bebop but not afraid to explore pop songs, complex originals, and free-form blowing.

About Time reissues the first two albums, Introducing Eric Kloss and Love and All That Jazz. Joined by either Don Patterson or Richard “Groove” Holmes on organ with Martino helping out on six selections, Kloss shows remarkable maturity on a set of standards and bluesy material. First Class brings back Grits and Gravy and First Class Kloss. The altoist during 1966-1967 demonstrates that he was up to the challenge of playing with pianist Jaki Byard and trumpeter Jimmy Owens, moving beyond hard bop into modal music.

Sky Shadows in the Land of The Giants reissues two challenging sets from 1968-1969 on which Kloss reunites with Byard while being inspired by either Martino or tenor saxophonist Booker Ervin. His final Prestige dates, To Hear Is to See and Consciousness, are back as Eric Kloss and the Rhythm Section. The rhythm section is Miles Davis’s (keyboardist Chick Corea, bassist Dave Holland, drummer Jack DeJohnette) with Pat Martino playing on half the selections. The music combines aspects of the avant-garde with early fusion in colorful fashion.

Eric Kloss stayed active until 1981 but since that time has adopted a much lower profile, playing occasionally in Pittsburgh and teaching.