By Dave Schwartz and Susan Donnelly
isles at NAMM can be exhausting so it was a welcome interruption when my
cell rang and it was Jann Klose confirming our 4pm appointment. Susan
Donnelly and myself wandered over to the Martin booth where Klose was
endorsing his favorite guitars. After brief introductions and the luck
of finding an open table in the booth, we settled in to discuss Klose's new
album, Reverie, and the life of a sing / songwriter.
DB Dave: Well let me open with congratulations on the new record. You
have an interesting style, there are so many textures to your music from
jazz to-- well, many other things. What can you tell me about the new
JK: Thank you very much. We started recording in May of 2007 and we
finished by the end of August/beginning of September. Over that period of
time we were in the studio about two weeks total.
DB Dave: Did you record this with your touring band or a group of studio
JK: The band that is playing on the record is the band that I tour with.
There were a few other folks on there, like friends that I donít necessarily
tour with, but weíre all New Yorkers.
DB Dave: The sound of the record is amazing. It sounds like you have a
dozen people playing at any given time.
JK: Obviously itís not that many, but I am glad it sounds like it. There
are certain songs that are more layered than others, but most of the songs
are straight-ahead live takes with only three or four people.
DB Dave: When I think of New York jazz scene, I think of Greenwich
Village coffee houses from the '60s, but certainly thatís not the way things
are today. Is there a large jazz scene happening in New York?
JK: New York definitely has a singer / songwriter thing going on. Itís a
very intimate scene, but intimate only in the sense that there are a number
of singer / songwriters that are locals that regularly play the city every
few weeks and then tour. So as I tour around the East Coast, Iíll run into
the same faces in many other cities.
DB Dave: As I said, my knowledge of new York singer / songwriters is very
limited. The only other artist that comes to my mind that sort of emerged
from the New York scene is Steve Forbert.
JK: I know him, I opened for him in Cleveland, Ohio a while back. I lived
in Cleveland from 1996 - 2000 and studied voice there with a gentleman named
David Gooding. During that time I used to play at a place called Wilburís
and the owner asked me to open for a few people and Steve Forbert was one of
DB Susan: Your music is very layered. Aside from the jazz influence you
have a reggae or islands feel. I understand that you have lived in many
JK: Yes, I grew up in South Africa and lived in Germany, and America,
DB Susan: Do you find that being exposed to diverse cultures has
influenced your music?
JK: Probably. I get asked that question a lot and, honestly, I donít
really know how to answer it. I would say that probably, but I think the
influences come more to the person than the music. But since Iím the
songwriter, it only makes sense that the influences will be in my music as
DB Dave: So you wouldnít call it a conscious approach to utilize certain
styles, but rather just something that comes out naturally?
JK: Definitely. I mean I like to incorporate as many different sounds as
I can. Anything that sounds a little different than what I have done in the
past is interesting to me and I want to use it. But I donít want to
incorporate a musical style just for the sake of using them. I want it to
fit, to be enjoyable. And I donít really think of my music in the sense of
musical styles, but more from a musical perspective. For example, on this
record, while we were mixing the album we kept adding things just as long as
they fit the song.
DB Dave: Youíre here at NAMM today as an endorser for Martin Guitars. How
does the Martin guitar add to your sound?
JK: Like many musicians Iíve played many different types of guitars. When
I found Martin, I stopped looking at other guitars. I really like them. They
make great guitars.
DB Dave: Susan owns a Martin as well.
DB Susan: I played every guitar that I could get my hands on and I kept
going back to Martin.
DB Dave: "Reverie" is your fourth CD, thatís impressive given the state
of the music industry today. It is so difficult for artists to cultivate an
enduring career. So when I interview an artist who has been fortunate enough
to release several records, I know that their career is more than about the
money or business end of things, I know that the artist has a true love for
the music as well as an understanding of the music business.
JK: Itís hard to rise above the noise because there are so many artists.
I think itís important to work at it every day and do your best.
DB Dave: Have you ever been to NAMM before?
JK: No I havenít.
DB Dave: Well, as you can tell, this convention can be a little
overwhelming. There are world class musicians from every genre of music just
walking the aisles. As you walk from booth to booth itís not uncommon to see
artists who you would never expect playing together. Have you run into any
other artists who youíve always wanted to jam with?
JK: We just had Ben Harper here in the Martin booth. I donít know about
playing with him, but I will probably go over and talk with him. I just saw
a friend of mine play, Alex Skolnick. He used to play in Testament. I have
played with him. I havenít really had a chance to walk around much Iíve been
so busy here at the Martin booth.
DB Dave: Iíve exhausted my questions. Is there anything you want to talk
JK: Just the new record. The response to this record has been great. We
will be on the road most of 2008. Weíre starting in New York and going from
there. Weíll be in the Northeast in April and then in July weíre heading to
Europe. And in the fall we hope to be on the West Coast.
I would like to thank Jann Klose for taking time out of his busy day.
Check out his new album, "Reverie." Youíll find it on his Web site: