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John Klemmer

John Klemmer began playing guitar at age 5. After interests in graphics and visual art & writing with ambitions of being dancer, puppeteer, painter, sculptor, writer, & poet, at schools that include The Chicago Institute of Art, he began alto sax at age 11 switching to tenor sax by high school. In addition to extensive private lessons in piano, conducting, harmony, theory, composition, arranging, clarinet, flute & classical & jazz saxophone, that continued up through college, he also attended Interlochen's National Music Camp with the highest of accolades.

Upon graduating from High School, Klemmer, at an incredibly early age, signed with legendary Cadet/Chess Records in 1967, recording five plus albums, including his innovative hit album of the first of the jazz/rock fusion genre, "BLOWIN GOLD". Being a Chess Records Recording Artist availed him access to recording sessions & exposure to such artists & friends, Muddy Waters, Donny Hathaway, Phil Upchurch, Pete Cosey, Richard Evans, Minnie Riperton & Maurice White expanding his knowledge of R&B, Blues & Pop music. During this time he explored electronic saxophone developing his now trademark "delay" sound to create an ethereal, haunting & lovely "chord like" sound. Klemmer led his own groups touring the East Coast and Midwest, using the cream of the now legendary chicago sideman. He did his first PBS special for WTTTV Chicago.

He was also busy touring as sideman exploring every genre of Music in the rich Chicago scene with a variety of big bands, blues bands, dixieland groups, small Jazz groups, avant garde jazz groups, rock, R&B & pop groups as well as classical music & the cream of Chicago's jazz, rock, blues, pop & r&b musicians including rock guitarist Harvey Mandel & James Guercio (Original Producer of Blood, Sweat & Tears & Chicago) & many others.

He then moved to Los Angeles the following year where, for a very brief time, he was key soloist & arranger with The Don Ellis's innovative big band, touring Africa with Oliver Nelson for the State Dept., while also working with such diverse Artists as Tim Buckley etc. all while studying film composing with Albert Harris & vocal lessons with Seth Riggs. He primarily focused on continuing his jazz/fusion recordings for the Chess/Cadet label performing & touring including the Newport & Monterey Jazz Festivals, Antibes Jazz Festival, Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, & Montreux Jazz Festival Live Recording & T.V. Broadcasts.

His new location in L.A., at the height of the "Rock Explosion" exposed him to the then exploding music of the late 60's & early 70's on concerts with Janis Joplin etc. & local L.A. Rock groups & musicians. He incorporated these new styles etc. in his recordings for Cadet Concept/Chess & Impulse! records, constantly breaking new ground, broadening & increasing his critical interest & acclaim & fan base.

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Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


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