Two For Tuesday: Earl Klugh

There have been a few jazz guitarists who have played the classical (nylon-string) guitar. Charlie Byrd and Laurindo Almeida come to mind, and Lee Ritenour (who plays it on a few songs) and Peter White are a couple of more recent players. Earl Klugh is one of the best of the bunch, who was praised by Modern Guitar magazine in 2006 as “one of the finest acoustic guitar players today.” He started out as a kid playing the piano, but switched to guitar when he saw Chet Atkins on The Perry Como Show when he was thirteen. He’s played on a couple of albums by Chet and got his break when he played on albums by George Benson and toured with him. About him Wikipedia says “His sound is a blend of these jazz, pop and rhythm and blues influences, forming a potpourri of sweet contemporary music original to only him.”

The song that hooked me on Earl’s playing has to be “Amazon,” which originally appeared on his 1980 album Dream Come True. I have it on his 1991 Blue Note “Best of” collection from 1991.

“Theme For A Rainy Day” is from 1991’s Midnight In San Juan. He’s joined on this song by harmonica virtuoso Toots Thielemans.

Earl has earned 12 Grammy nominations, including one for 1979’s One On One, which he recorded with keyboardist Bob James and for which they both received the 1981 Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. He’s recorded 30 albums altogether, most of which have reached the Top Ten and five of which have gone to #1 on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart. His most recent album was 2013’s Hand Picked, on which he’s joined by Jake Shimbakuro, Bill Frisell, and Vince Gill.

Earl Klugh, your Two for Tuesday, October 16 (Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!), 2018.