13 JAN 12 CHRIS SLAWECKI
In 1965 and '66, saxophonist Eric Kloss recorded his first two albums, on tenor and alto, in the royal soul-jazz company of guitarist Pat Martino and Hammond B-3 monsters Richard "Groove" Holmes and Don Patterson. Kloss was all of 16, and blind since birth. One of the best parts of writing this blog is getting my windows blown out by music I've never heard before, like About Time (Prestige, 2002), which combines Kloss' first two albums with sequencing that is thoroughly eye-opening and enjoyable.
For example, start from Miles Davis' "All Blues," where rolling Hammond organ chords put wheels on Kloss' tenor solo. Next, he dances through standards by the Gershwins ("Embraceable You") and Cole Porter ("You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To"). Then, he jams refreshingly "Just for Fun-K," a spirited Kloss original. And then, he races back into Miles' songbook, through a tenor/guitar soul-jazz steeplechase, but this time with "No Blues." Kloss effectively steers "The Shadow Of Your Smile" into a soft Brazilian, Stan Getz-like samba, and rides Jimmy Heath's warhorse "Gemini" into a monumental and climactic jazz jam, tearing the music open with full-throated tenor roars.
Health issues have kept him from recording since the 1980s, but it's "about time" that I heard Eric Kloss. Maybe it's time for you, too. First Class! (Prestige, 1997), which pairs up Kloss' next two Prestige releases, and the double play Sky Shadows In The Land Of Giants (Milestone, '93), are also available.