Archive for September 23, 2012

In a recording career of over three decades, master guitarist Earl Klugh has been lauded first as a prodigy and groundbreaker, then a defining figure, and ultimately, as one of the true statesmen of contemporary jazz. With 2008’s The Spice of Life, Klugh earned his 12th career Grammy® Nomination – his second nomination and release on the independent Koch label. As follow up to his 2005 masterpiece, Naked Guitar, Klugh succeeds in creating a statement every bit as compelling.

Working in a local music shop and haunting the Detroit jazz landmark Baker’s Keyboard Lounge accompanied by his mother, Klugh found encouragement from the giants of jazz as a young man: “George Benson was my first and foremost mentor; I worked in his band for a year, at 17. He spent a lot of time with me, and was key in helping me sign my first record deal,“ which resulted in the debut album Earl Klugh (Blue Note, 1976). Klugh declined an invitation to join Stevie Wonder on tour to concentrate on his own career, but this too remained a cherished vote of confidence.

Years after inspiring Earl so crucially — and by then a longtime friend and collaborator — Chet Atkins zeroed right in on Klugh’s forte in Guitar Player magazine, noting Klugh’s use of a profound talent and artistic daring to create a mainstream music. “Earl can wail with the best,” said Atkins, “but he prefers to touch people emotionally. He reaches your heart with that romantic special something.” Klugh’s closeness to his listeners has been a constant of his career and his life: “I’m always amazed that fans are so loyal. So many have shared stories and memories of what my music has meant to them. It’s the most wonderful compliment I could ever receive.”

In recent years, Klugh has toured on nearly every continent, carrying the banner for jazz music, its legendary musicians, and for global social awareness. Joining such legends as George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Al Jarreau, Bob James, Patti Austin and Ravi Coltrane, Klugh has twice traveled on goodwill tours to India, jointly sponsored by the U.S. State Department and The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. Klugh received the honor of 2008’s Best Jazz Concert by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Earl Klugh has recorded over 30 albums in a multi-million-selling career including 23 Top Ten charting records – five of them No. 1 – on Billboard’s Jazz Album chart. He has been nominated twelve times for the Grammy, in jazz fusion, best arrangement and pop instrumental categories, winning the 1980 Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Performance for the million-selling album One on One with Bob James. He won the 1987 Edison Award for Life Stories (Europe’s Grammy Equivalent). Klugh’s first Koch album, Naked Guitar, was nominated for Best Pop Instrumental Album, as well as his second Koch effort, The Spice of Life. Collaboration, his 1987 album with George Benson, was certified Gold by the RIAA.

Even with the many accomplishments of a long career, Earl Klugh doesn’t necessarily believe there is a peak level to playing guitar. Klugh reflects, “My enjoyment is searching out new things to play every day, and ways to play them. There’s so much more I want to do. If there were nothing else to learn and do there’d be no reason to play.”

Friday, October 12, 2012 – 7:00 pm

MCG Jazz Hall, 1815 Metropolitan St, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15233