Tuesday, May 14, 2024

John Klemmer | Chateau Love

It’s a big deal when an influential jazzman who launched his recording career in the 1960s records and releases a new record. The new album by contemporary jazz saxophone innovator John Klemmer, “Chateau Love,” was released by Touch Records USA/BFD/Orchard. Klemmer composed and produced a dozen new tracks for the intimate and soothing collection that generously clocks in at more than an hour of music.

“Chateau Love” marks a welcome return as it is Klemmer’s first new album since 1998’s “Making Love, Vol. 1.” Playing tenor and soprano saxophone along with synth, piano and vocal contributions, Klemmer’s sensual grooves, ambient jazz vibe and subtle melodies were crafted to create a feeling and an experience as well as to share his personal journey.

“‘Chateau Love’ is a place. It may be real, imagined or a concept that you can go to. It can be anywhere, or it can be your own invention. It’s your place for seclusion, intimacy, relaxation or romance. Each song/track is an expression and experience of my own personal yet universal journey to ‘Chateau Love,’” said Klemmer, who is known for pioneering the imaginative sonic effects he used on his saxophones.

Klemmer recorded “Chateau Love” live in the company of a legendary rhythm section comprised of bassist Abe Laboriel Sr., drummer Harvey Mason Sr. and percussionist Lenny Castro. Adding to the warm and enveloping harmonic backdrop are Ronnie Foster’s soulful keyboards and piano, and John Tropea’s chill electric and gentle acoustic guitars. However, it’s Klemmer’s horn play that stands stridently in the spotlight of each track - expressive and emotional without overplaying or being overwrought, connecting and communicative while maintaining a cool and collected demeanor, and intensely impassioned with a compassionate caress.

“Chateau Love” opens with an inviting rhythmic intro that sets the mood before melting into “Love Divine,” illumined by vocalist Katie Christopher’s enticing coos. Klemmer says the song is “the ultimate groove of celebration, of discovery, of mutual attraction.”

“Heartbeat” has a nocturnal feel, meditatively entrancing through Klemmer’s tenor and soprano saxes. He offers back-to-back expressions of gratitude on “Smile” and “Beautiful Words.”

Interestingly, Klemmer cites Bob Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody” as inspiring “Something More Than You and I.” “Dreams” rushes over the spirit like a cascading wave bringing to life fantasies and desires.

“Islands in the Sun” shines through the grace of Darlene Koldenhoven’s reassuring vocal hook on the tune that Klemmer calls “the zenith journey of the ‘Chateau Love’ concept.” The cut will be serviced to radio next month in a shortened playlist-friendly version, edited down from the album’s ten-minute-plus excursion.

Romantic closeness swoons on “Bliss Kiss” and “The World is in My Angel’s Arms,” tantalizing, tranquil and trusting constructs of affection. Declaring his devotion outright, Klemmer sings and plays keyboards on “You are the One,” offering a spoken word pledge. The “Love Divine Outro” leaves us with a lasting embrace. 

Klemmer began his career in his hometown of Chicago, releasing the first of more than thirty albums, “Involvement,” in 1967. His “Touch” and “Barefoot Ballet” albums were crossover successes in the mid-seventies. Klemmer is currently assembling alternate takes and outtakes from both albums so that fans old and new have the opportunity to discover more hidden gems contained within. His recordings, including solo sax projects, have been called precursors to fusion, smooth jazz and new age music, with Klemmer considered as a pivotal figure in the advent of these music genres. DJs and rappers frequently sample his tracks, introducing new audiences to Klemmer’s sound and songs. He’s shared the stage with George Benson, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis and Tracy Chapman, and he has been featured playing solos on records by Steely Dan, David Arkenstone, Nancy Wilson and John Lee Hooker, among others. In 1997, Klemmer teamed with bossa nova guitar great Oscar Castro-Neves for an album of duets titled “Simpatico.”

During the lengthy gap between his own album releases, Klemmer continued to record solo saxophone tracks for future projects. In 2018, he played a feature solo on contemporary jazz keyboardist David Garfield’s version of “Chasing Pavements.” Recording “Chateau Love” has reignited Klemmer’s artistic muse. He’s already at work on “Chateau Love Vol. 2,” which may contain more of his vocal performances.

The “Chateau Love” album contains the following songs:

  • “Chateau Love Intro”
  • “Love Divine”
  • “Heartbeat”
  • “Smile”
  • “Beautiful Words”
  • “Something More Than You and I”
  • “Dreams”
  • “Islands in the Sun”
  • “Bliss Kiss”
  • “The World is in My Angel’s Arms”
  • “You are the One”
  • “Love Divine Outro”

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...