The code of the beat.

John Klemmer and Musical Border Towns


Personification of Jazz Fusion; A Lesson in Musical Border-Blending

By Amir Said (Sa’id)

John Klemmer’s “Free Soul” was one of the very first records I ever tracked down and bought at a record convention. I think I first heard the song when I was 19. There used to be a jazz program that aired on WNYC, here in New York. I remember desperately calling several radio stations, trying to get the name of the artist; all I heard was the name of the song, “Free Soul.” After finally receiving the name—John Klemmer, I went about trying to find (dig for) any and everything that hand John Klemmer’s name on it.

With such a powerful sax-based rhythm, “Free Soul,” a stellar blues-soul-jazz demonstration of what is commonly known as jazz fusion or free jazz, taught me a great deal. “Free Soul” was one of the first songs to really convey to me the possibilities of merging styles and contexts. And because hip hop/rap music is a sound that can truly convert any other sound into it’s own form, I’ve found that it’s very helpful to really study the broad strokes and subtle nuances of those other music forms that inspire me.

For educational purposes…

John Klemmer – “Free Soul”

John Klemmer – “Cry”

Nancy Wilson – “Sunshine;” featuring John Klemmer

The BeatTips Manual by Sa’id.
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About Author

Amir Said (aka Sa’id) is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BeatTips. A writer, publisher, and beatmaker/rapper from New York, Said is the author of a number of books, including ‘The BeatTips Manual,’ ‘The Art of Sampling,’ ‘Ghetto Brother,’ and ‘The Truth About New York.’ He is also a recording artist with a number of music projects, including his latest album 'The Best of Times.' Follow him on Twitter at: @amirsaid and @BeatTipsManual

  • i the t

    top video “removed by user”.
    if it’s the one i’m hoping it is, It’s an amazing track, used to drop this in the club around 93 and haven’t heard it for at least 15 yrs….

  • I the t,
    Yeah, it’s most likely what you think it is. In the early 1990s, there was a floating party in New York City, called “Soul Kitchen.” It used to be every Monday night. I went every now and again, when it was still a relatively underground thing. There was one DJ who actually played “Free Soul” at one of the Soul Kitchen events. So I can certainly imagine you playing it at a club, during the same period.

  • i the t

    it was that track !
    thanks for reminding….
    here’s the lp.

  • Excellent video. i like this very much and its so pretty too.

  • i like this very much and its so pretty too