Earl Klugh delights fans at Stanbic Festival

Music of Sunday, 22 February 2015

Source: Graphic Online

Earl Klugh Band

For lovers of smooth, crossover jazz, there couldn’t have been anything more blissful than sitting through almost 90 minutes of a live presentation by the well-known American guitarist, Earl Klugh, and his band.

That happened at the Accra International Conference Centre for some of the guitarist’s fans last Thursday, February 19, at this year’s Stanbic Ghana Jazz Festival.

It was a full house and Earl Klugh was in fine form as he pleasantly ambled along with tunes like Midnight in San Juan, Heartstring, Wishful Thinking, Vonetta and Cabo Frio.

The guitar giant was backed by Stan Sergeant (electric bass), Tom Braxton (alto/soprano sax and flute), Marcus Finnie (drums) and David Lee Spradley (piano).

There’s nothing more fulfilling for an artiste than to feel positive vibes from an appreciative audience. The acclaimed guitarist and his band changed tempo with precision and sometimes launched into a maze of modulations but were still able to carry the audience along.

Unlike most other headline acts, Earl Klugh is not the interactive type. He spoke very little and left the job of announcing song titles to the lively Spradley.

Spradley threw in a few Twi phrases to probably help him bond better with an audience that included former President John Kuffuor; Dr Kwesi Botchway and the New Patriotic Party’s 2016 presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo.

It was obvious the band had an exhaustively rehearsed game plan. There were solo spots for the sidemen which they filled with relish. Drummer Marcus Finnie, for instance, had a long, intense solo run that soared with a blaze of cymbals and strong, driving beats.

The audience asked for an encore when the band announced it was done for the night. After obliging to the request, the band threw forward bassist Stan Sergeant whose solos were accompanied by a few karate kicks. The audience loved it and gave the band a standing ovation at the end of it all.

The night was not all about the American players. Ghanaian musicians who also exhibited their expertise were the Jasper Band, Big Wellington Trio, Kyekyeku, Stanbic Rhythms, Akablay, Bernard Ayisa-Victor Dey Quintet and Uncle Ebo Taylor.

The show was well-packaged and it was on the whole an enjoyable evening of fusion jazz.

Outfits that partnered Stanbic Ghana to pull off this year’s jazz festival included Graphic Group Communications Limited, Quality Insurance Company, Buena Vista Homes, Somotex Ghana Limited, Lorient Kal Ghana, GOIL, Vodafone and Delta Airlines.