Blind since birth, Kloss first played professionally in the Pittsburgh area in the 1960s, and played with Pat Martino in 1965; later that year he made his first recordings at age 16 for Prestige Records. He continued to release on Prestige Records and Muse Records through the late 1970s, playing with Don Patterson, Jaki Byard, Richard Davis, Alan Dawson, Cedar Walton, Jimmy Owens, Kenny Barron, Jack DeJohnette, Booker Ervin, Chick Corea, Barry Miles (musician), Terry Silverlight, Richie Cole, and Gil Goldstein.
Kloss has recorded sparsely since 1981.
Early education and career
Kloss attended the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children where music was core to he school's curriculum, and he quickly proved to be an adept pupil, initially focused on piano. Eric's father, Dr. Allen Kloss was superintendent of the school and a pianist himself. The elder Kloss made a concerted effort to ensure that Eric got to hear, in person, every worthwhile musician that came through the Pittsburgh area. At age ten, Kloss switched from piano to saxophone, studying with Henry Marconi, and quickly distanced his teachers. By the age of twelve, Kloss was being invited on stage with established greats such as Sonny Stitt and Lennie Tristano, and soon became the featured soloist in Bobby Negri's Trio at the Playhouse Stagedoor Club in Pittsburgh. Club dates soon ensued beyond Pittsburgh, in Cincinnati, Atlantic City, and New York which led to Kloss sitting in with his Idols Eric Dolphy, Horace Silver, Art Farmer, and Terry Gibbs.
At the age of 15, Kloss achieved a breakthrough performance at the Civic Arena Jazz Festival, which lead to raves by Jazz publications such as Down Beat and many of the other Jazz musicians who performed the festival. He cut his first Prestige album Introducing Eric Kloss a year later, and by the fall of 1967 he recorded five more.
- Introducing Eric Kloss (Prestige, 1965)
- Love and All That Jazz (Prestige, 1966)
- Grits & Gravy (Prestige, 1966)
- First Class Kloss! (Prestige, 1967)
- Life Force (Prestige, 1967)
- We're Goin' Up (Prestige, 1967)
- Sky Shadows (Prestige, 1968)
- In the Land of the Giants (Prestige, 1969)
- To Hear Is to See! (Prestige, 1969)
- Consciousness! (Prestige, 1970)
- Doors (Cobblestone, 1972)
- One, Two, Free (Muse, 1972)
- Essence (Muse, 1973)
- Bodies' Warmth (Muse, 1975)
- Battle of the Saxes with Richie Cole (Muse, 1976)
- Together with Barry Miles (Muse, 1976)
- Now (Muse, 1978)
- Celebration (Muse, 1979)
- Sharing (Omnisound, 1981)
- Sweet Connections (1999, recorded 1979)
- Eric Kloss Life Force, Liner Notes