Earl Klugh

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Earl Klugh, Festival de Jazz Riviera Maya 2008

Earl Klugh (pronounced "Kluh"), (born September 16, 1954 in Detroit , Michigan ) is an American jazz-pop-crossover guitarist ( smooth jazz ).


Klugh grew up in Detroit and found guitar playing when he saw Chet Atkins in the Perry Como show on television at the age of 13 , which in his own words made a defining musical impression. When he was fifteen, he played with jazz musicians like Yusef Lateef , who invited him to a jam session in Baker's Keyboard Lounge in Detroit and had him participate on his 1968 album Suite 16 ; he also played with George Shearing at the time .

Klugh played in George Benson 's band from 1973 and was part of Chick Corea's band Return to Forever for two months in 1974 , which, in his own words, also shaped him. His albums in the light fusion genre, which have been made since the mid-1970s , achieved millions of copies; Klugh was nominated a total of seven times for a Grammy . His debut album, Earl Klugh , came out in 1976 when he was signed to Blue Note Records . Several solo albums followed. Even when Blue Note Records was taken over by Capitol Records in 1979 , he stayed with this label (for example with Dream Come True in 1980 and with his first album that reached gold status - Crazy for You , 1981), but switched to Warner Brothers in 1984 , where his successful album Soda Fountain Shuffle was released that same year . For One on One (Tappan Zee Records, 1979) with keyboardist Bob James he received a Grammy in 1981 ("Best Pop Instrumental Performance") . Two of a Kind followed with James in 1982 and the album Cool in 1991 . He also recorded with George Benson Collaboration (1987), in the 1970s he appeared on Benson's albums Body Talk and White Rabbit (1971) and recorded with Chet Atkins (on Klugh's album Magic in Your Eyes , 1978). Klugh also worked as a composer for film music, such as with Hubert Laws in 1980 for the film How to Beat the High Cost of Living . In 1977 he worked on McCoy Tyner's album Inner Voices and in 1987 on the soundtrack album Siesta by Marcus Miller and Miles Davis .

From the beginning of the 1990s he played with his own trio ( Ralphe Armstrong on bass, Gene Dunlap as drummer). In the 2000s, he toured worldwide, including a 2005 State Department sponsored tour for tsunami victims in South Asia and for HIV victims with George Duke , Stanley Clarke , Ravi Coltrane and Al Jarreau . After a long break, his solo album Naked Guitar (Koch) followed in 2005 .

In his playing the most diverse influences mix from the Motown sound of his native Detroit (such as The Funk Brothers ), Sergio Mendes , The Beatles , Burt Bacharach , to Brazilian music, which he mixes to his own catchy style. Earl Klugh plays acoustic guitar. He sees himself less as a jazz musician: “There is an element of jazz in my music, but basically it's pop” .


  • Earl Klugh (EMI America / Blue Note, 1976)
  • Living Inside Your Love (EMI / Manhattan, 1976)
  • Finger Paintings (EMI / Manhattan, 1977)
  • Magic in Your Eyes (EMI Records, 1978)
  • One on One (Tappan Zee Records, 1979) (with Bob James )
  • Heart String (Capitol Records, 1979/2000)
  • Dream Come True (EMI / Manhattan, 1980/1993)
  • Late Night Guitar (Capitol Records, 1980)
  • Late Night Guitar, Volume 2 (1980)
  • Crazy for You (EMI / Manhattan, 1981)
  • How to Beat the High Cost of Living (Soundtrack, 1982)
  • Two of a kind (Blue Note, 1982) (with Bob James)
  • Low Ride (Capitol Records, 1983)
  • Wishful Thinking (Capitol Records, 1984)
  • Marvin And Tieg (Soundtrack, 1984)
  • Night Songs (Capitol Records, 1985)
  • Soda Fountain Shuffle (Warner Bros. Records, 1985)
  • Just Between Friends (Soundtrack, EMI America, 1985)
  • Collaboration (Warner, 1987) (with George Benson )
  • Life Stories (Warner Bros. Records, 1987)
  • Whispers and Promises (Warner Bros. Records, 1989)
  • Solo Guitar (Warner Bros. Records, 1989)
  • The Earl Klugh Trio Volume 1 (Warner Bros. Records, 1991)
  • Midnight in San Juan (Warner Bros. Records, 1991)
  • The Best of Earl Klugh (Capitol Records, 1991)
  • The Best of Earl Klugh, Volume 2 (Capitol Records)
  • Cool (Warner Bros., 1992) (with Bob James)
  • Trio Volume 2 (Warner Bros. Records, 1993)
  • Ballads (Capitol Records, 1993)
  • Move (Warner Bros. Records, 1994)
  • Sudden Burst of Energy (Warner Bros. Records, 1996)
  • The Journey (Warner Bros. Records, 1997)
  • The Best of Earl Klugh (Warner Bros. Records, 1998)
  • Peculiar Situation ( Windham Hill Records , 1999)
  • The Essential Earl Klugh (Capitol Records, 2003)
  • Naked Guitar (Koch Entertainment, 2005)
  • Music for Lovers (Best of) (Capitol Records, 2006)
  • The Spice of Life (Koch Entertainment, 2008)
  • HandPicked (Heads Up, 2013)


  • Chris Parker: Article "Earl Klugh" . In: Ian Carr , Digby Fairweather , Brian Priestley : Rough Guide Jazz. The ultimate guide to jazz. 1800 bands and artists from the beginning until today. 2nd, expanded and updated edition. Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2004, ISBN 3-476-01892-X .
  • Maurice Summerfield: The Jazz Guitar - Its evolution and its players (English). Ashley Mark Publishing 1978. ISBN 0-9506224-1-9 .

Web links


  1. 1953 is sometimes also given
  2. Interview in Guitar Player magazine . Klugh adds that he does not like all styles of jazz and that “jazz” is a label that is often attached to colored musicians.