Earl Klugh - Earl Klugh/Living Inside Your love/ Magic In Your [BGO Records - 2021]
Here from the folks at BGO Records is another two-CD set of 1970’s albums by African American guitarist Earl Klugh, who plays an approachable blend of lite-Jazz fusion and smooth jazz. The set features three albums in all-we have his 1976 debut album Earl Klugh, its follow up Living Inside Your love, also from 76, and 1978’s Magic In Your Eyes. The sound over the two discs is a mellow, lightly moody, and often melodic jazz-pop- with elements of disco, funk, soul and occasional world music flavours weaved in here and there.
The release is presented in BGO house style packaging- coming in a slim double jewel case, with a card slip sleeve. The release features in a glossy sixteen-page booklet- this takes in all the albums track listings/ credits, and an eighty-page write-up about the three albums and Klugh himself by Michael Heatley.
Klugh was born in Detroit Michigan, and since 1976 he’s released around thirty albums, with twenty-three of these appearing in the jazz charts over the years- with his last released album being 2013’s Handpicked, which saw him focusing on a blend of smooth and crossover jazz. He has a playing style that blends a great sense of melody and flow, with accomplished execution and skill- yet he’s never too showy, or indulgent- focusing primal on tuneful, relaxing, and mellow lite jazz fusion and smooth jazz.
The first disc takes Klugh self-titled debut album from 1976-this appeared on EMI and was an eight-track affair. The album kicks off in great fashion with the Spanish guitar meets dramatic funk grooves of “Las Manos De Fuego (Hands Of Fire)”. Moving onto the lightly jaunting harmonic keys, swooning strings and rich guitar picks “Angelia”. There’s mellow tick-tocking groove meets flighty bright guitar playing of “Laughter In The Rain”. Or the stripped back ornate classic-meets- slight Spanish guitar flourishes of “Waltz for Debby” which later adds in moments jazz piano darts and soothing synth trails. All in all, it’s a great debut album, which highlights both Klugh’s wonderful playing and his ability to switch moods nicely.
Moving onto disc two, and we have two albums here- the first of those is Living Inside Your Love, which is from 1976 , and it saw Klugh moving from EMI to Blue Note. It’s a seven-track album- which moves from Klugh cover of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” with nice layers of strutting ‘n’ picking guitars, light grooving organ cover, and hiss ‘n’ snapping percussion. There’s darting synth, female soulful harmonizing vocals, and rich warming guitar lines of the album’s title. With this album been topped off with tight ethic bass and percussion “Kikio” with enthusiastic easy listening guitar from Klugh. Again, another consistent and varied album
The second half of the disc is taken up by Magic In Your Eyes- this was the fourth album from Klugh, and it still found him on Blue Note. The album featured nine tracks in all with- with these going from slow bounding bass, trippy synth texturing, and elegant melodic guitar tones of “Alicia”. There’s simmering ‘n’ swooping synth opening of “Lode Star” which moves into light funk grooves, spacy synth tones ‘n’ texturing and bright-yet-urgent guitar struts. Or the mellow rolling vibe meets elegant, picked guitar and country swooning slide of the wonderful title “Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues”. With this album playing out mellow layered guitar strum and pick of “Cry A Little” which also feature light popping percussion and gentle synth string ebbs. Again, another most worth/ varied album, and I particularly enjoy the subtle synth/ electronic elements on this album.
So, if you enjoy mellow/ easy listening jazz or lite jazz fusion this release will most certainly be something you’ll be wanting to pick up. Also, early on this year BGO released another double-disc release of three of Klugh’s other 70’s albums Finger Paintings, Heart String, & Wishful Thinking- and I can wholeheartedly recommend that too. To pick of either or both head over to BGO Records here Roger Batty