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Eric Kloss: Sky Shadows/In The Land Of The Giants

Glenn Astarita By

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Although he’s apparently maintaining a low profile these days, saxophonist Eric Kloss recorded quite a few albums for Prestige records by the time he reached the tender ago of 19. Here, Prestige has reissued Kloss’ Sky Shadows and In The Land Of The Giants on 1 Compact Disc. From the liners....” This Music, from 1968 and ’69, finds the emerging Kloss in full flight, whether the setting is post-bop or modal, standard or balladic”. At this juncture, Kloss shows maturity, outstanding technical chops and depth while the now famous supporting cast were obviously motivated and geared up for these sessions.

Tracks 1-5 were originally released as Sky Shadows and feature: Kloss; Alto & Tenor Saxophones; Pat Martino; Guitar: Jaki Byard; Piano: Bob Cranshaw; Bass and Jack DeJohnette; Drums. Here, Kloss’ “In a Country Soul Garden” is soulful, bouncy and blends R&B and Jazz motifs featuring a vibrant tempo and memorable hook as “Sky Shadows” also serves as a fitting vehicle for Kloss’ often linear phraseology. On “Sky Shadows”, Kloss’ straight-up yet fluent approach along with near flawless intonation, counterbalances the narrative style and clear toned phrasing by the great guitarist, Pat Martino. Here, the late pianist Jaki Byard, performs as if he were truly inspired or motivated for both of these sessions. Byard’s impossibly fast lead soloing and rippling chord clusters are awe-inspiring! Sadly, Jaki Byard is no longer with us yet his numerous contributions to jazz and jazz education are meritorious and will stand for many years to come.

Tracks 6-11 were originally released on In the Land Of The Giants as the personnel here consists of Kloss; Alto Sax, Booker Ervin; Tenor Sax; Jaki Byard; Piano; Alan Dawson; Drums and Richard Davis; Bass. Highlights are, an absolutely stunning, up-tempo version of Miles Davis’ “So What” featuring the towering and vigorous tenor saxophone work of the late Booker Ervin. Here, Kloss and Ervin take turns reaching for the stars via soaring and electrifying lead soloing!........Not a cutting contest yet these esteemed gentlemen perform with conviction as if they were possessed by spirits... Kloss’ sweet alto sax tone and sumptuous phrasing is evident on “When Two Lovers Touch”. On the Ellington classic, “Things Ain’t What They Used To Be” Kloss’ expressionism and emotive lyricism displays mature sensibilities and expertise for such a young lad.

Prestige has performed a dutiful service for jazz enthusiasts by releasing these gems from a man who seems to have toggled his career between fame and relative obscurity. Recommended.. * * * *

Web: www.fantasyjazz.com

Title: Sky Shadows/In The Land Of The Giants | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Prestige Records

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