Klemmer, John

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Klemmer, John

Klemmer, John, American saxophonist; b. Chicago, 111., July 3, 1946. His descent is particularly disappointing in that he was once a barrier-melting innovator; his work was dominated by blandness after the mid-1970s, blacking out a talent that could have consistently explored new territory in the common ground between jazz, rock, and R&B. Growing up in the Chicago area, he studied with the charismatic jazz teacher and saxophonist Joe Daley and cut his teeth by playing professionally while still in his mid-teens. After an all-acoustic first date as a leader, he began to head into an exciting area where the rock of Hendrix met post-Coltrane soulful saxophone, sometimes beautifully mellow, sometimes incendiary, almost always amazingly agile. After moving to Los Angeles in the early 1970s, he produced work that became more commercially popular but artistically vapid. Sporadic dates in the 1980s gave way to silence in the 1990s.


Waterfalls (1972); Fresh Feathers (1974); Touch (1975); Barefoot Ballet (1976); Cry (1978); Arabesque (1978); Nexus for Duo and Trio (1978); Brazilia (1979); Mosaic: The Best of John Klemmer (1979); Blowin’ Gold (1982); Music (1989); Simpatico (1997).

—Greg Baise