Turn down the lights, pour the wine and slip this CD into your player for a perfect evening of romance. “THE SPICE OF LIFE”, which is slated for an April 29th release is a mellow collection of songs by the renowned Earl Klugh. It is his first release since 2005, and fans will find it well worth the wait.

The thirteen tracks on the CD offer a variety of jazz, R&B, and a little funk. Some of the songs are classics, but there are some Klugh originals: “Ocean Blue,” “Driftin’,” a soft, melodic pop piece; the funky “Sleepyhead,” “Snap!” and “Venezuelan Nights.”

Some of the pieces are backed by full, lush orchestration, while others feature the strength of the guitar alone. Those were the tracks I liked best. As a guitar player it was pure joy to listen to someone make the instrument sing the way he can. “Venezuelan Nights” was my favorite, a soft, classical piece that showcases Klugh’s nimble fingering. This is a Klugh original and he says he wrote it to honor Antonio Lauro, a classical guitarist and composer from Venezuela.

Klugh has been described by the Boston Globe as “one of the most highly esteemed jazz guitarists in the world,” and he lives up to that reputation in this new release from KOCH Records. According to the bio on his Web site, Earl decided to play guitar when he was thirteen and saw Chet Atkins play on the Perry Como’s TV show. Klugh says, “I’d never heard the guitar played like that. And the experience changed my life. It marked my destiny.”

Klugh was also influenced by The Beatles, Sergio Mendez, and Burt Bacharach, and he enjoys blending all of those these styles into one that is uniquely his own. Of this latest release he says, “I wanted to create something that would encompass a wide spectrum of directions: solo, standards, originals, electronic, acoustic and orchestral. I wanted to make a recording that would reflect where I am at this moment in my life, and something I am proud to present to my fans.”

Contributors to the CD include three-time Grammy winner and longtime collaborator Don Sebesky with five orchestral arrangements: “Canadian Sunset”; the Thelonious Monk classic, “Bye Ya”; and “C’est Si Bon.” Grammy-winning flute virtuoso Hubert Laws guests, and award-winning composer Eddie Horst arranges the chamber-group string accompaniment, on the Klugh original “Heart of My Life.”

Earl Klugh won the 1980 Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Performance for the million-selling album “One on One” with Bob James, and “Collaboration,” his 1987 album with George Benson, was certified Gold by the RIAA. He has recorded over 30 albums in his multi-million-selling career, including four No. 1 albums on Billboard’s Jazz Album chart and another 18 albums that charted in the Jazz Top Ten.

Maryann Miller – Maryann’s Blog

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