Here’s the gist of Earl Klugh’s latest efforts: he proves that he’s an interesting songwriter and a good guitar player, and his latest album, Peculiar Situation, flows from song to song without melting into a pile of acoustic guitar and saxophone laced crap. But don’t thank Earl Klugh.
Thank Al Turner.
All of the tunes remain interesting despite the fact that the guitar playing is underwhelming and the sax playing is, well, sax playing at its most typical. The rhythm section, consisting of the aforementioned Mr. Turner on both bass and drums, is solid throughout and creates an interesting flow to a potentially stagnant album.
Turner’s consistently hip slap bass lines add a nasty funk feel to the entire album, save the ballad type tracks, and the odd Caribbean-feeling “Desert Paradise.” His ability to jump right in and take control of the low end, (and the entire album for that matter,) make for a surprisingly good smooth jazz experience, which is quite often a less than a simple task.
Now on to the rest of the album. Earl Klugh, as I mentioned, is an intruiging songwriter, and a good guitar player. Peculiar Situation has a slow feel to it at times, and Klugh brings life to the laid back melodies. His passion for his music definitely mostly shines, but every so often he seems to be either drifting away or trying to hard. Either way, it’s not the worst thing anyone’s ever been accused of, and overall the guitar parts are definitely above average.
As for the saxophone of Lenny Price, it is smooth but uninspiring. Between his solos and rhythm fills, he looms like the voice of Fran Drescher does in Spinal Tap, as you know full well that eventually, in between all of the good music, you’re going to have to hear some more of it. Dread.
All in all, Peculiar Situation is relaxing without drifting into lazy boredom. The bass lines keep it fresh and different, and make the album a worthwhile purchase for the smooth jazz fan.
// Notes from the Road
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