John Klemmer: Quiet Afternoon


Quiet Afternoon


John Klemmer (tenor sax, Echoplex)


LifeStyle (Living & Loving)

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John Klemmer (tenor sax, Echoplex),

Bernie Fleischer (flute), Milcho Leviev (piano), Chuck Domanico (bass), Harvey Mason (drums), Chino Valdez (percussion)


Composed by Stanley Clarke


Recorded: North Hollywood, CA, February 1977


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

Reviewing this cut has given me the opportunity to check on something I have been wondering about for a couple of decades. What ever happened to John Klemmer? The popular and innovative sax player had virtually single-handedly introduced electronic effects, most notably the Echoplex, to the saxophone. The original Echoplex was ostensibly a tape-looping device that allowed Klemmer to riff against his own reverb. According to his website, Klemmer continues to use this effect to this day. But that's just it. I had to check his website to find this out. As his website's bio reveals, while Klemmer has been quite prolific over a long career, he has a habit of taking extended sabbaticals. These "breaks" may last several years. That is no way to maintain a commercial career that has drifted toward the pop world the last two decades, yet it is apparently how Klemmer finds peace of mind.

LifeStyle was the promise of a bright jazz and fusion future. Klemmer would be a good player without the effects, but their presence offered a unique and pleasing sound. His compositions were strong, and the band played them with confident ease. "Quiet Afternoon," written by Return To Forever bassist Stanley Clarke, has a delicate melody that is the antithesis of a typical fusion number. Klemmer plays it relaxed and cool for a while. The sound of his sax through the Echoplex is beautifully distinctive, as all that reverb hides the sound of his breathing. The midsection of the song calls for him to do some heavy lifting above a tasteful accompaniment, which he does impressively and effortlessly. The appealing opening strains return in all of their echoing glory.

It was nice to revisit this performance. If Klemmer had kept this up over the years, I would have visited many more times. But that is selfish on my part. An artist's soul is more important than any listener's needs.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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  • 1 JANICE // Mar 27, 2008 at 11:43 PM
    John Klemmer is & has been very alive, well & productive despite all rumors, opinions, speculations & assumptions . As Klemmer has always been more prolific in what he deemed the "album" & "recording" as primary art form over extensive non-stop grueling touring, the on-going chaos of the recording industry, along with the alarming decrease in suitable venues to perform, might well have more to do with Klemmer's recent longest, yet still very productive, sabbatical than anything else. A very rare review with something missing in most all critics press reviews & articles; Intelligence, Empathy, Commpassion, Thoughtfulness, Insightfulness, Understanding, Objectivity, Homework & Heart. Kudo's to you Mr. Kolosky.
  • 2 slimstain // Jul 23, 2008 at 04:17 PM
    Is "Janice" still using an echoplex?
  • 3 mo // Jan 10, 2009 at 01:26 AM
    I went to go see JK about 4 years ago in O.C. Ca. Wow! He played for about 10 min., sat in a chair did almost nothing. Was he high, maybe, but he did not play. His band was looking at him like he had lost it.I t was sad!