Klugh returns to SA for Joy of Jazz

2012-05-18 14:18

Master musician Earl Klugh – regarded as one of the finest acoustic guitar players in music today – makes a welcome return to South Africa in August with a repertoire that will cover all aspects of his impressive career.

He will be one of the star attractions at this year’s Standard Bank Joy of Jazz, which will be staged in Newtown from August 23 to 25.

Also appearing at this prestigious event are giants like Grammy award winner Kurt Elling, who has been hailed as the male jazz vocalist of his generation, trombone master Wycliffe Gordon, Latin maestro Eddie Palmieri and even the world-famous Duke Ellington Orchestra.

Luminaries from the African continent include Caiphus Semenya, one of South Africa’s most celebrated artists; Bakithi Kumalo, who made his name internationally thanks to his performance on Paul Simon’s Graceland; Manu Dibango from Cameroon; and Mory Kante from Guinea, whose hit song Yé Ké Yé Ké was one of the first African singles to sell more than 1 million copies in Europe.

In our interview, Klugh said he was “excited” to be returning to Africa after a lengthy absence.

“I was in Cape Town and Johannesburg about eight years ago, so it’s been a while. This time around, I’ll be playing music from my whole career.

“It will be a history of my career, an overview from the beginning up until now. I will also be putting together compositions from the late 70s and 80s with some of my newer compositions.”

He finds it hard to pinpoint any career highlights, not surprising with the number of accolades and awards he has received, including 12 Grammy nominations and 23 top 10 records on Billboard’s jazz album charts – five peaking at the top.

“When I think back on all the people who I have met or played with, it is amazing. There was a wide variety of people. I’ve worked with vocalists, writing songs with them, but I haven’t done enough of that.

“I’m not a lyricist, but I always listen for something fresh and new when working, and hope people will listen to it.”

Klugh’s most recent album, The Spice of Life, came out four years ago. Since then, he’s been busy with a number of projects while touring the world.

“I grew up during the 60s and 70s, so all the new technology has been a little hard to grasp, but I’ve been working on it and I enjoy it.

“I get up in the morning, turn on my computer, browse the internet and see what’s going on. I see what new recordings are out, what artists are doing.”

» Klugh performs on the Joy of Jazz’s Dinaledi Stage on August 23 and 25. Book at Computicket

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