An acoustic guitarist with a very pretty tone, Earl Klugh does not consider himself a jazz player and thinks of Chet Atkins as being his most important influence.
Klugh played on a Yusef Lateef album when he was 15 and gained recognition in 1971 for his contributions to George Benson's White Rabbit record. He played regularly with Benson in 1973, was briefly a member of Return to Forever in 1974, and then in the mid-'70s began recording as a leader. After a couple well-received solo albums on different Capitol imprints including Blue Note, Klugh hit pay dirt with 1979's One on One, a Grammy-winning collaboration with pianist Bob James. More solo albums followed before the sequel to One on One, Two of a Kind, appeared in 1982. In 1984 he changed labels and released one of his most popular albums, Soda Fountain Shuffle, on Warner Bros. Klugh made his biggest artistic impression yet in 1989 with the self-explanatory Solo Guitar. Two years later he would return to the "serious jazz" repertoire of Solo Guitar, but this time with bassist Ralphe Armstrong and drummer Gene Dunlap on the acoustic bebop outing The Earl Klugh Trio, Vol. 1. Cool from 1992 found him working with Bob James again and was followed by three more smooth releases for the Warner Bros family before the jump was made to Windham Hill with 1999's Peculiar Situation. Compilations, live albums, appearances with others, and reissues filled the years leading up to 2005's Naked Guitar, a stripped-down, standards-heavy album for the Koch label. The Spice of Life followed in 2008. For the next four years, Klugh focused on touring and booking his Weekend of Jazz concerts at both the Broadmoor Hotel & Resort in Colorado Springs and the Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina. In 2013, he returned to recording. The album Hand Picked was released by Heads Up in the summer of 2013, and featured guest spots by Bill Frisell, Vince Gill, and Jake Shimabukuro. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi