Smooth Jazz and Southern Gospel on DVDDon Albert
Jazzaholic by Don Albert: What an opportune time to release an Earl Klugh DVD.
The master guitarist will be heard at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz in Newtown, Johannesburg in late August. In a recent interview I did with him he explained his guitar, which he plays on the DVD as well. “It’s an acoustic guitar that has been amplified. It’s not an electric guitar, it’s a classical guitar. I’ve been playing the nylon (string) acoustic guitar all my career and just over the last couple of years they have made a lot of improvement in the electronics that makes the guitar sound so much more natural.”
Unfortunately the personnel of the band is not given, but they are so good. The saxman plays alto, tenor and soprano plus EWI. On one track he plays alto and soprano together. His playing is as good as any player in this style of jazz. The bassist almost wears his thumb out pumping the rhythm along and the drummer is excellent. On track 6 ’Take It From The Top’ it sounds like a big band backing the group, if it isn’t and it’s the keyboardists, they are to be congratulated for obtaining such a real sound.
There is also in interview with Klugh complete with little cameo anecdotes about Yusef Lateef and George Benson, plus remarks about jazz and movie music.
Twelve super tracks that will satisfy every smooth jazz fan.
If you want a real ’feel good’ DVD look no further than Blind Boys of Alabama: Gospel Live at Tipitinas. I know Tipitinas in New Orleans, it’s a funky place.
The Blind Boys of Alabama sing the righteous, down home, call and response Southern Gospel with a blues feel that gets your hands clapping, a good example is ‘You Got To Move‘ which hits a stunning groove.
Just imagine Gospel, Blues and New Orleans jazz all rapped together and underpinned with traditional New Orleans piano and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, who strut their stuff on ‘Bourbon Street Parade’, plus guests Dr John, Marva Wright, Henry Butler and Susan Tedeschi. The latter almost steals the show with her gritty singing and guitar playing on ‘People Get Ready’. The hour and a quarter concert seems to fly by.
Both DVDs are on the Revolver label, and to top off the good music is that they retail at plus minus R60 each, which is indeed a bargain.
Don Albert is a saxophonist and jazz journalist. He spent 12 years with The Star Newspaper on the Tonight! section writing about jazz. Currently he writes jazz CD and book reviews for Financial Mail and is the South African Correspondent for Downbeat (USA) and Jazz Journal International (UK). He has presented radio programmes on jazz and served awards.as judge at prestigious competitions. He has also won numerous awards.