John Klemmer: Free Your Soul (Cadet Concept, 1969)
Charles Wright: What Can You Bring Me (Warner Bros, 1971)
I recently was asked by my fave publication, Wax Poetics, to help with scanning some album covers and these two were among the batch. I figured that if I was going to go through the trouble of scanning them, I might as well also just pull some music too.
Saxophonist John Klemmer’s later career is better remembered, especially for the ways in which he pioneered the use of the electric sax. However, Klemmer’s early career, beginning in the late 1960s, was experimental in its own way too, especially in his fusion blend between rock, soul and jazz. His song, “Free Soul” comes out of this era, featured on an album he cut for Cadet Concept, one of the most forward looking rock imprints of the time. With its big, full sound, powered by Klemmer’s powerful wails on the sax, “Free Soul” is one of the best examples of “soul jazz” I can think of, embodying the best qualities of both genres. This is funky yet easy like Sunday morning.
I promised before to bring back the sounds of Charles Wright and/or the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band. This is Wright sans the main Band but he’s still expressing himself and keeping the groove together in the jungle, baby. “What Can You Bring Me” is off his 1971 You’re So Beautiful LP and it comes with more snap, crackle and pop than a box of Rice Krispies. I love that guitar lick that starts it off and feel them chattering drums too. Wright’s vocals are rock solid here – he’s got a great, edgy voice that can swing from lilting balladry to screeching soul screams. Holla.