Translate Our Site

Zoo Music - Earl Klugh

Listen to a Grammy-nominated instrumentalist at the Zoo on July 29.


Jul 29, 2016
06:00 PM - 09:00 PM


ABQ BioPark Zoo
903 10th St. SW
Albuquerque, NM 87102


The highest praise Duke Ellington would offer people he admired was to say that their music was “beyond category” – and, in many ways, that phrase exactly captures the spirit of GRAMMY® Award-winning guitar virtuoso Earl Klugh and his new, largely solo CD, HandPicked on Heads Up (part of the Concord Music Group).  HandPicked debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Albums Chart and was nominated for Best Pop Instrumental Album at the 56th Annual GRAMMY® Awards.  This is a disc that clearly reflects the guitarist’s view that, “Everything has its place. The fun of it is that you are not in a box. Music has no boundaries.”

Since Klugh released his inaugural album in 1976, the Detroit-born master of the acoustic-classical guitar has become one of the most imitated icons of the instrument, issued dozens of discs, 24 of which have been on Billboard’s top-10 list of jazz albums and 6 that made it to the No. 1 slot. During that time, Klugh’s recordings also received 13 GRAMMY® nominations (the latest for HandPicked) – and his collaboration with pianist Bob James, One on One, walked away with the 1980 GRAMMY® Award for Best Pop Instrumental Album.

During the more than three-and-a-half decades since the Earl Klugh album came out on Blue Note, the guitarist’s magic on stage continues to delight audiences across the globe. Whether he is performing in a solo context, with his quartet, with his electric band, with his ‘Little Big Band” or with renowned symphony orchestras, Klugh is a master alchemist, turning nylon strings into pure musical gold. As he notes, “The essential excitement of music-making is renewed in every studio and stage performance. Once I get into the actual song, I try to go back to what made me write the song or decide to perform it. I try to keep myself in an open mind, so I don’t reproduce the record [but instead] create a live performance at that moment. I play it for myself as if it’s the first time I’m doing it.”

As a composer and songwriter, Klugh’s credit appears on a wide range of recordings from artists such as Aretha Franklin, Jamie Foxx, Roberta Flack, Mary J. Blige, Kenny Loggins, Al Jarreau and many others. And he has been a guest artist with musicians from Buffett, Loggins, Brenda Russell and Stevie Wonder to jazz masters Miles Davis and McCoy Tyner.

When it comes to films, Klugh’s guitar is on the soundtrack scores of How to Beat the High Cost of Living, Marvin and Tige and Just Between Friends. CBS Golf embraced Klugh’s “Take it From the Top” as their theme song for many years of exciting coverage of the sport.  And moving from the silver screen to television, he has performed on such iconic shows as The Tonight Show, Late Night featuring David Letterman, The Today Show and Good Morning America. In addition to his 13 GRAMMY® nominations and his GRAMMY® statue for the million-selling album, One on One, with Bob James, Klugh also won the 1987 Edison Award (the European equivalent to the GRAMMY®) for Life Stories and his 1987 disc with George Benson, Collaboration, was certified Gold by the RIAA. His latest three releases, Naked Guitar (2005),The Spice of Life(2008) and HandPicked (2013) went back-to-back-to-back as GRAMMY® nominees for Best Pop Instrumental Album.

Gates open at 6:00 p.m. Music starts at 7:30 p.m.

Zoo Music Sponsors