Earl Klugh

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Earl Klugh
Klugh in 1999
Klugh in 1999
Background information
Born (1953-09-16) September 16, 1953 (age 70)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
GenresSmooth jazz, jazz fusion
Years active1970–present
LabelsBlue Note, United Artists, Liberty, Capitol, Warner Bros., Koch

Earl Klugh (/kl/ KLOO; born September 16, 1953) is an American acoustic guitarist and composer.[1] He has won one Grammy Award and received 13 nominations.[2]


At the age of six, Klugh commenced training on the piano until he switched to the guitar at the age of ten. At the age of 13, Klugh was captivated by the guitar playing of Chet Atkins when Atkins made an appearance on the Perry Como Show.[3] Klugh was a performing guest on several of Atkins' albums. Atkins, reciprocating as well, later joined Klugh on his Magic In Your Eyes album. Klugh also appeared with Atkins on several television programs, including Hee Haw and a 1994 TV special titled "Read my Licks". Klugh was also influenced by Bob James, Ray Parker Jr, Wes Montgomery and Laurindo Almeida. 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.[1]

Klugh's first recording, at age 15, was on Yusef Lateef's Suite 16.[4] He played on George Benson's White Rabbit album and two years later, in 1973, joined his touring band.[5]

For their album One on One, Klugh and Bob James received a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Performance of 1981. He has since received 12 Grammy nominations, millions of record and CD sales, and continues touring worldwide to this day. Klugh also was awarded the “1977 Best Recording Award For Performance and Sound” for his album Finger Paintings by Swing Journal, a Japanese jazz magazine.[6]

Klugh has recorded over 30 albums including 23 Top Ten charting records—five of them No. 1—on Billboard's Jazz Album chart. With 2008's The Spice of Life, Klugh earned his 12th career Grammy nomination—his second nomination and release on the independent Koch label.

Each spring, Klugh hosts an event called Weekend of Jazz, featuring jazz musicians at the Broadmoor Hotel & Resort in Colorado Springs.[7] Jazz greats including Ramsey Lewis, Patti Austin, Chuck Mangione, Bob James, Joe Sample, Chris Botti, Roberta Flack, and Arturo Sandoval have all performed at the annual event. In November 2010, Klugh brought the 'Weekend of Jazz' to Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina.[8]


Klugh playing at the Festival de Jazz de la Riviera Maya in 2008

Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Label Notes
1976 Earl Klugh EMI
Living inside Your Love Blue Note
1977 Finger Paintings Blue Note
1978 Magic in Your Eyes Blue Note
1979 Heart String Blue Note
1980 Dream Come True EMI Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Fusion Performance
Late Night Guitar Blue Note
1981 Crazy for You Blue Note
1983 Low Ride Capitol
1984 Wishful Thinking EMI
1985 Nightsongs Capitol Grammy nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Performance
Soda Fountain Shuffle Warner Bros.
1986 Life Stories Warner Bros.
1989 Solo Guitar Warner Bros.
Whispers and Promises Warner Bros. Grammy nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Performance
1991 Midnight in San Juan Warner Bros.
1994 Move Warner Bros.
1996 Sudden Burst of Energy Warner Bros.
1997 The Journey Warner Bros.
1999 Peculiar Situation BMG
2005 Naked Guitar Koch Grammy nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Album
2008 The Spice of Life Koch Grammy nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Album
2013 HandPicked Heads Up

Earl Klugh Trio albums[edit]

Year Title Label Notes
1991 The Earl Klugh Trio, Vol. 1 Warner Bros. with Gene Dunlap and Ralph Armstrong
1993 Sounds and Visions, Vol. 2 with Gene Dunlap, Ralph Armstrong & The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Duet albums[edit]

Year Title Label Notes
1979 One on One Tappan Zee with Bob James - Grammy award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance in 1981
1982 Two of a Kind Manhattan with Bob James
1983 Hotel California/Super Guitar Duo Verve with Hiroki Miyano
1987 Collaboration Warner Bros. with George Benson
1992 Cool Warner Bros. with Bob James

Soundtrack albums[edit]

Year Title Label Notes
1980 How to Beat the High Cost of Living Columbia Hubert Laws & Earl Klugh
1983 Marvin and Tige Capitol Patrick Williams & Earl Klugh
1986 Just Between Friends Warner Bros. Patrick Williams & Earl Klugh


Year Title Label
2001 The Jazz Channel Presents Earl Klugh Image Entertainment
2003 Earl Klugh In Concert BMG/Image


  1. ^ a b Holland, Brian D. (1 February 2006). "Earl Klugh Interview: Guitars, George Benson and Naked Guitar". Modern Guitars Magazine. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Earl Klugh". GRAMMY.com. 2020-11-23. Archived from the original on 2021-08-30. Retrieved 2021-05-08.
  3. ^ Klugh, Earl. "Working with Chet Atkins". Mister Guitar (Interview). Interviewed by Tom Redmond. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  4. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Earl Klugh Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Archived from the original on 10 January 2016. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  5. ^ Carr, Ian; Priestley, Brian; Fairweather, Digby (2004). The Rough Guide to Jazz. Rough Guides. p. 446. ISBN 978-1843532569.
  6. ^ "Klugh Gets Jazz Award" (PDF). Cashbox. January 28, 1978. p. 57. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-04-23.
  7. ^ "Earl Klugh's Weekend of Jazz". Weekend of Jazz. Archived from the original on 17 January 2016. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Annual Weekend of Jazz". Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Archived from the original on 19 May 2022. Retrieved 12 December 2015.

External links[edit]