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Eric Kloss: One, Two, Free

Jim Santella By

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Recorded in 1972 on Muse, this album features Eric Kloss on alto sax, Pat Martino on guitar, Ron Thomas on piano, Dave Holland on bass, and Ron Krasinski at the drums. Highly prolific in the 1960s and ‘70s, both the Pittsburgh saxophonist and Philadelphia guitarist had been creating albums that incorporated funk, pop, rock, and some free jazz. The times have changed and genre definitions aren’t what they used to be, but the music lives on.

In agreement with the kind of electronic revolution jazz was taking on in the early ‘70s, this session included Fender bass, electric piano, and Martino’s outspoken electric guitar. Alto saxophonist Kloss and the guitarist share melodic chores on "One, Two, Free" over a driving bass ostinato that occupies the entire first movement. A suite in three parts, "One, Two, Free" goes on to explore overlapping tones through Martino’s "Elegy." The movement is rather brief and pastoral, but serves to separate the Mingus-like first movement from the soulful Ron Thomas third movement "The Wizard." Each member of the ensemble builds the final movement’s intensity from soulful dance music to calliope-like science fiction thematic material.

Carol King’s "It’s Too Late" opens comfortably with a tambourine beat, the familiar melody, and a rock drummer’s attitude. Like legendary soulful improviser Eddie Harris, the leader goes on to tell his own story with saxophone blue notes, alternating clipped and legato phrases, intense clusters, and an eventual return to the familiar melody. Pat Martino shares his enthusiasm with his own remarkable stretches. At thirteen and a half minutes, the track offers a familiar tune performed in a unique jazz manner. Kloss’s "Licea" contains some of Martino’s best work as well as the composer’s intended saxophone themes. Successfully tying together popular music of the time with improvised "hard core" jazz, Eric Kloss created a well-rounded program with something for everybody to appreciate. Recommended.

Track Listing: One, Two, Free; Elegy; The Wizard; It

Title: One, Two, Free | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: 32 Records

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