14 June 2015

John Klemmer - 1972 - Waterfalls

Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5

John Klemmer is a saxophonist best known for making bangin' jazz to match your red velvet, disco bangin' pad.  I mean that as a complement.  Seriously.  This is a bit before all that though, with Klemmer following more experimental pathways.  Notably with his Echoplex, an analog delay sending his sax lines into infinity.  The rest is a groovy set of early 70's jazz fusion.  It doesn't quite reach the existential plains of a "In A Silent Way" or "Bitches Brew," but really, what does?

The two Prelude tracks are the zen heart of this album, and is one of the only things I've heard that make me recall the infinite space of Paul Horn's "Inside the Taj Mahal."  I think this is one of the only times I can recall the clicking of the sax valves to be a notable part of the sound.  These tones of orbital paths do crop up in window dressing on other tracks, filling in for the waterfalls of "Waterfalls I and II," but it's a more conventional setting.  "Utopia: Man's Dream" follows the fusion handbook pretty closely while also adding a touch of its own zang, while "Centrifugal Force" ups the funk a bit.

Jazz fusion can be absolutely unlistenable, or thrust jazz through the better parts of rock psychedelia and world beats.  Although not an absolute pillar of the form, John Klemmer's early career makes a great case for his saxophone's interstellar properties, and "Waterfalls" is an oft forgotten statement that reflects the colorful insanity of its front cover.


Anonymous said...


Horst said...

Cool! Many thanks

Anonymous said...

Thanks Doctor. I had forgotten this one existed.

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