John Temmerman's Jazz Band
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John Temmerman's Jazz Band

Skokie, Illinois, United States | SELF

Skokie, Illinois, United States | SELF
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"Mark Turner"

Chicago's been keeping a secret from the rest of the jazz world in the name of John Temmerman. The secret has been exposed on his latest recording, The Power of Two, for what it really is - top notch and immensely entertaining jazz. Featuring a group that can jam with pure funk, swing with the best, and groove you to the bone; Mr.Temmerman's Obsession Quartet delivers the package with full rewards to listeners who appreciate their music uncut, and full of immense talent. John Temmerman has been performing in and around the Chicago area for many years. He's had music stints with the University of Illinois Jazz Bands and Berklee School of Music. He also teaches music in the area. His rich and robust tenor saxophone is profound and the new recording features one of the tightest jazz quartets in the Windy City.

The Power of Two features a vivid display of the multifarious range of the quartet's talent. It opens up with a soulful rendition of the Miles Davis timeless classic “All Blues.” John's sax sings strong and smooth with excellent solos from all band members. The next selection whispers a cool Latin melody entitled “Costa Del Sol”. The rhythm sections jams tight on the title cut “The Power of Two” which is dedicated to his wife. It's then on to the pure funk fest appropriately called “Slam Time” which features the band spreading the funk with good rhythm and excellent solos. Temmerman's band has skill, experience, and cohesiveness. Bassist Steve Hashimoto strong lines and smooth solos are stellar. Listen to the bass on Wayne Henderson's “Whispering Pines “. The rhythm is outstanding. Drummer Rusty Jones's rhythms are colorful and crisp, displaying skills of a true master. All the musicians are excellent and one of the highlights on the recording is guitarist Neal Alger. His skill and versatility are incredible. From the too funky cut “T.C.B In E” to the bluesy swinging selection “Slick Color”, Alger's pours out liquid grooves and incredible solos.

John's talent on saxophone is filled with harmonic depth and incredible range, reminiscent of the imminent Dexter Gordon. His solos are rich and soulful. He penned half of the songs and the arrangements are all stellar. It would be a real treat to see this band perform live. Native Chicago music fans will no longer be a able to keep this little known secret from spreading. It deserves to be exposed. This is feel good music that grooves and will make you smile. Highly recommended.

John Temmerman's Jazz Obsession Quartet

Track listing: 1. All Blues 2. Costa Del Sol 3. The Power Of Two 4. Slam Time 5. Whispering Pines 6. Nice And Easy 7. T.C.B. in E 8. Plan B 9. Slick Color 10. When The Lights Go Out 11. Secondary Ignorance 12. Come To The Table

Personnel: Neal Alger- Guitar, Rusty Jones- drums, John Temmerman- sax, Steven Hashimoto- Bass

Style: Mainstream | Published: March 01, 2002 - All About

"Alan Henderson"

One of the exciting things about Grover Washington, Jr.'s live concerts was his ability to play electric jazz-funk one minute and straightahead jazz the next. Jazz-funk and pop-jazz dominated most of the late saxman's studio albums, but on stage, everything from "Mr. Magic" to Oliver Nelson's "Stolen Moments" was fair game. A similar outlook prevails on The Power of Two, which finds Chicago tenor man John Temmerman fluctuating between straightahead jazz and not-so-straightahead jazz. Temmerman's big tone is reminiscent of Dexter Gordon, but while Gordon generally stuck to bop (except for the occasional modal tune), Temmerman is obviously comfortable with straightahead post-bop as well as jazz-funk. Parts of The Power of Two exist in a modal Joe Henderson/John Coltrane/Yusef Lateef world; other parts are closer to the sort of groove-oriented jazz-funk that one associates with Washington, Wilton Felder and Ronnie Laws. And Temmerman, to his credit, is expressive in both areas. The Chicagoan plays convincingly on Miles Davis' "All Blues," Wayne Henderson's "Whispering Pines" and various post-bop tunes of his own, but he is equally appealing on jazz-funk tracks that include Max Bennett's funky "T.C.B. in E" and "Slam Time" (a Temmerman original that isn't unlike something the late Eddie Harris--who was also from Chicago--would have done in the ‘60s or ‘70s). Leading his pianoless Jazz Obsession Quartet--which also includes guitarist Neal Alger, electric bassist Steven Hashimoto and drummer Rusty Jones--Temmerman doesn't do anything groundbreaking. All of these 2001 performances could have been recorded 30 or 40 years earlier. But Temmerman is good at what he does, and The Power of Two is an enjoyable demonstration of his versatility. - The All Music Guide

"Marshall Vente"

John Temmerman: The Power of Two

John Temmerman plays the tenor sax with a big sound, studies with Mark Colby and has a love for jazz that is best expressed by his website domain name. He is one of the newer players on the scene who apparently does something else as a vocation and plays jazz for the experience alone. There is nothing wrong with playing jazz and having a day job, many have done this before, including pianist Denny Zeitlin. In fact, many produce great music because of their day job, they are free to explore and create without the financial anxiety that often accompanies jazz.

Well-known Chicago musicians join Temmerman here: guitarist Neal Alger, electric bassist Steve Hashimoto and drummer for all occasions, Rusty Jones. The program is very original, diverse and modern. The only standards included are All Blues and Nice and Easy. The core of the repertoire is Temmerman's fine compositions that include much of the melodic, harmonic and rhythm advances of the last thirty years. There is a taste of bebop, blues, rock, Latin and straight-ahead jazz. Slam Time evokes Eddie Harris' approach to a rock oriented two-chord vamp. Wayne Henderson's Whispering Pines is a complex modal tune with surprising twists and turns. Come to the Table is based on a hymn and becomes a fine straight-ahead number based on swing.

Temmerman and his quartet play well throughout and no one misses a note. Check out one of the new voices on the Chicago scene.-MV - Jazz Institute of Chicago

"Richard Bourcier"

It’s been about five years since John Temmerman sent me a copy of his first recording titled Jazz Obsession Music on cassette. That tape spent a lot of time in my car and became a happy part of many journeys. The tenor-man from Skokie, IL has now issued a new CD and it’s a gem.

Following educational stints at Berklee, De Paul University and the University of Illinois, Temmerman left a promising business career and picked up his horns again in the early 90’s. John currently teaches clarinet and saxophone plus Jazz Theory & Performance to students at all skill levels.

This unit has been together for several years and it shows. The band is very, very tight! The Power Of Two explores funk, fusion and mainstream jazz including several Temmerman originals including my personal favorite, the contemplative Plan B. The leader’s powerful tenor is enhanced by Neal Alger’s energetic and imaginative guitar work. Hashimoto and Jones sound as if they have been playing together forever. Just listen to them on Slick Color. Wonderful interaction!

Visit the Jazz Obsession website for audio samples. You’ll enjoy this fine quartet. -

"Ferdinand Maylin"

The Power of Two
John Temmerman's Jazz Obsession Quartet

John Temmerman, tenor sax; Neal Alger, guitar; Steven Hashimoto, electric bass; Rusty Jones, drums.

Johm Temmerman makes a good job of the opening number, "All Blues", by Miles Davis; he has a large, earthy sound which layers nicely over his excellent backing group. He ambles through most Jazz styles on this set; contributed to by some thoughtful solos with the guitar of Neal Alger. The bass of Steven Hashimoto and the drums of Rusty Jones are also right on the money as they follow John on his pleasant twists and turns. Six of the twelve tracks are his own work; "Slam Time" is one of his that gives Rusty Jones on drums a decent solo. Moving through "Whispering Pines" by Wayne Henderson; an old 1974 Crusader album, straight into the laid-back swing of "Nice And Easy", a song made famous by Frank Sinatra. John has a warm, fat sound to his tenor, with just a touch of vibrato; his playing is honest and direct, at times there is a refreshing innocent feel to it. He rounds off the set with "Come To The Table", a tune inspired by the hymn "One Bread, One Body", giving the electric guitar of Steven Hashimoto a good solo outing. This is a pleasing CD presented by good musicians. It is worth having. - Jazz Now Magazine

"Wes Gillespie"

This is a wonderful album with many of the tracks penned by John Temmerman and very good they are too. The covers include the legendary 'All Blues' from Miles, 'Nice & Easy' from Sinatra, 'Whispering Pines' from that classic Crusaders album 'Southern Comfort' and a version of Tom Scott's rendition of 'TCB in E'. (Scotty even provided the lead sheet for the recording.)

This is a band that has been together for some time, their interplay has not been something produced for this album but born out of endless live sessions I'll wager. The tracks cook from start to finish and the solos, particularly by John on Tenor and guitarist Neal Alger, are reminiscent of the late night jazz club scene when the crowd have been warmed up and had a few drinks and are ready to party. The rhythm section have a Ron Carter and Tony Williams feel.

The killer cut on the album for me is the wonderful 'When the lights go out', being a sucker for the music from 'Round Midnight', 'The Fabulous Baker Boys' and the '2 a.m.Paradise Cafe' this track has all the laid back sax and reverent guitar solo you will need to get set for dreamland.

Being a BIG Tom Scott fan and Wayne Henderson it was refreshing to hear covers of their work. 'Whispering Pines' by Henderson is played with a fluency and passion which works wonderfully well and the sound reminds the writer of a jazz period many years ago when George Benson, Kenny Burrell and Mundell Lowe were providing guitar interplay for the great musicians and vocalists of the 50's and 60's.

This jazz is timeless and the cuts sound as good today as back then especially the interpretation of Alan Bergman's masterpiece for 'old blue eyes' 'Nice & Easy', John's lead keeps the melody in full view which is easy on the ears and smooth on the soul.
'TCB in E' heads down the Tom Scott type path with a hard hitting, driving groove which was originally the theme song for 'The nine lives of Fritz the Cat'. It has a solid rhythm section pouring out the riffs as the guitar provides licks to the melody.

This CD will appeal to jazz traditionalists and may not fit the current 'en vogue' smooth jazz scene but there are enough of us about to make this a hit.

A thoroughly enjoyable and clever album played superbly throughout and will add to the growing reputation of one of the Windy City's tightest jazz quartets. Available from, and CDStreet amongst others.

Further information about this album are available from John Temmerman directly. I'm sure John would be delighted to discuss this album with you.

Review by Wes Gillespie who also writes reviews for All That Jazz, The Brazilian Music Review, Sony Jazz and hosts the Sony Jazz Europe website.


Track Listing

Jazz Site Rating - 9 outa 10

- (UK)

"Brad Walseth"

The song selection immediately caught my attention: Half the songs are originals penned by Temmerman himself, while the other half is an eclectic mix of covers ranging from Miles Davis (All Blues) and the Lew Spence, Alan Bergman & Marilyn Keith standard "Nice and Easy" (made famous by Frank Sinatra) to "Costa Del Sol" (from the Final Fantasy video game series). I was especially excited to see two songs from the 70's: "Whispering Pines" written by trombonist Wayne Henderson and performed by his group The influential and criminally underrated 70's jazz funk group The Crusaders; and the song "T.C.B. in E" by L.A. Express bassist Max Bennett. The 70's are often regarded as a wasteland in jazz history, but both of these groups recorded some compelling work during that era.

Good taste in music having been determined, I now turned my attention to Temmerman's abilities as a bandleader, and I was pleasantly surprised by the makeup of his group. His Jazz Obsession Quartet consists of Steven Hashimoto on electric bass, Rusty Jones on drums, and Neal Alger on guitar. These are well known names to Chicago jazz fans, and their playing on the recording is, as to be expected, first rate. Temmerman's arrangements leave plenty of room for each player to show their stuff, and they do so with relish. Jones plays a tasteful supporting role throughout, but lets loose on numbers like "Slam Time." Hashimoto takes a few choice solos - his riffs on "Secondary Ignorance" are especially attractive. Meanwhile, Alger especially displays his wide-ranging talents - which have led to his being held in esteem as one of the top young guitarists in Chicago.

Tenor sax man, Temmerman displays some nice songwriting ability: His songs fit right in with the covers, but it is his playing style that is most unique. Playing smoothly and confidently in control, Temmerman mostly plays on the beat or slightly behind it - giving the music a relaxed feel. This approach is unusual and welcome in an era when most players try to speed ahead of the beat and cram as many notes into a phrase as they can. This isn't to say Temmerman doesn't have chops (his "Plan B" is a highlight and a good example of the heat he can generate), but he understands the beauty of space and of playing within the melody, as on Michael Lawrence's ballad "When the Lights Go Out." John's reworking of the hymn "One Bread, One Body" into the bluesy "Come to the Table" ends the CD on a triumphant note. It is good to hear local musicians displayed so successfully on this project. All and all, an enjoyable exercise with good song choices and playing that is a welcome addition to any jazz collection.


"Gordon Baxter"

he "Power of Two" is the first album from John Temmerman's Jazz Obsession Quartet--he previously recorded an album in a trio--and dates back to 2001. As the name of the group suggests, this is jazz all the way, albeit with a dash of latin and funk thrown into the mix for good measure. They are led from the front by tenor saxman John Temmerman.

Half of the tracks on the power of two are covers, including the opener, "All Blues," which is taken from Miles Davis' classic "Kind Of Blue" album. The covers are arranged to suit the line-up of tenor sax, guitar (Neal Alger), bass (Steven Hashimoto) and drums (Rusty Jones). In the case of "All Blues" this means a different sound, because sax and guitar stand in for trumpet and piano. Like all of the tracks here, though it is nicely done. Temmerman is a good sax player, and wherever he leads, the band always follow as a unit, and Alger is a guitarist who is equally at home playing rhythm or taking the lead spotlight. As you would expect, the bass and drums also get their chances in the spotlight too.

The rest of the covers include the bossa nova beat of "Costa Del Sol," one from Frank Sinatra's repertoire ("Nice And Easy") and the more funky "TCB in E." Temmerman's original material also stands up to favorable comparison. It all adds up to make "The Power Of Two" a good jazz album. It works well as background music, but also stands up to closer listening too. This is at least partly due to the fact that the Jazz Obsession Quartet are a tightly knit unit, where everyone knows their own, and everybody else's place in the grander scheme of things.

"This review is copyright © 2003 by Gordon Baxter, and Blues On Stage at:, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without permission." - Blues on Stage (


1995: Jazz Obsession Music by the John Temmerman Trio (with Mike Allemana, Guitar and Matt Ferguson, Bass). This has limited availability directly from John.

2001: "The Power of Two" by John Temmerman's Jazz Obsession Quartet (with Neal Alger, Guitar, Steven Hashimoto, Bass and Rusty Jones, drums)

2008: "Live in Evanston - John's Mixed Bag" by the John Temmerman Quartet (with Neal Alger, Guitar, Steven Hashimoto, Bass, Rusty Jones and Steve Magnone, drums and special guest Steve Thomas, trumpet on 2 cuts)

CD available from and John; electronic downloads available from most major online services.



The Johnny Griffin classic “Chicago Calling” can also be considered a reference to the suburbs of the Windy City. Skokie, IL native, John Temmerman, influences include tenor titans like Chicago’s Eddie Harris, Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter and mutlti-instrumentalist Rahassan Roland Kirk. His third recording “Live in Evanston – John’s Mixed Bag captures his band in live quartet and quintet performances from 2007 and 2008.

Temmerman, who pursues his music career on his terms, has a “day gig” as Controller for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This is not as uncommon as many jazz musicians are also degreed professionals, for example Pete “LaRocca” Sims, Eddie Henderson, and Von Freeman.

There is no evidence, however, of the stereotypical mindset of a “numbers cruncher” in his endeavors, but the balance of a methodical approach with the emotionalism inherent in any of the great players who inspire him. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois and earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago.  “I’m fortunate in that I don’t have to pull out my horn unless I really, really want to do it,” he says. “It’s tough to pursue jazz as a primary source of income. Teaching can be lucrative if that’s what you want to do … Nothing wrong with having a day job. You need to figure out how you want to survive because performance is a tough way to go.”

Temmerman’s interest in jazz was piqued as a teenager; he plays tenor soprano and alto saxophone and clarinet. After years spent earning an advanced degree, establishing a family with his wife Tina and their son Joe and developing his professional business career, he was drawn back into the music world in the early 1980’s, started a trio in 1995 and began performing live.

With his solid, no-nonsense straight ahead approach to music it’s no surprise that he’s inspired by the legends -- and a few unsung heroes as well. He cites the Miles Davis classic Kind of Blue as a major inspiration, but you can immediately hear the influence of the great Long Tall Dexter in his performances. “When I hear the Dexter Gordon album Go and the song ‘Three O’Clock In The Morning,“ that’s what a tenor saxophone is supposed to sound like. Dexter had a big tone and less is more approach.

“Dexter is my main guy on tenor, says Temmerman, “But I've listened to many mainstream players: John Coltrane, Stanley Turrentine, Coleman Hawkins, Eddie Harris, Zoot Sims on both tenor and soprano, Wayne Shorter, Yusef Lateef, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and lots of others, including some lesser known players like Bootsie Barnes, Buck Hill and Tina Brooks. I've also enjoyed the versatility and power of crossover players, like King Curtis, Grover Washington, Tom Scott and Wilton Felder from the Crusaders.”

You’re as liable to see Temmerman playing soprano in Chapel on Wednesday morning with the Gospel Choir at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Lutheran Center as on the bandstand of a jazz club. “Playing with the Lutheran Center Gospel Choir is a joy. I enjoy interpreting hymns. ‘Just A Closer Walk With Thee’ (featured on Mixed Bag) is an example. For me, the purpose of music is to glorify God. God gave me a need to perform and teach music. I went along with that, even though I denied it for a while. “ He is firmly grounded in his family, his faith and unapologetically places both above music. “I have my wife, who suffers from FSH Dystrophy to care for and have to be closer to home than some musicians.”

Temmerman currently teaches students in his home; he’s been known to assign some of the more avant garde recordings of Eric Dolphy as required listening.
His sage advice to young musicians? “Find a way to do what you love. I have a non-music career and what that does is give me a means to perform music on my own terms. So, even if the career direction isn't music, don't stop playing. Don't stop creating.”

Chicago has a strong and legendary tenor tradition, from the “Little Giant” Johnny Griffin, “Jug” Gene Ammons, Von & Chico Freeman to Clifford Jordan and numerous unsung talents. Thanks to the airplay and recognition Temmerman has gained with each successive recording, his talent is no longer a well-kept secret of the Windy City.