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Earl Klugh delivers perfect jazz night

AMERICAN jazz legend Earl Klugh in concert during the Stanbic Bank jazz festival in Lusaka on Friday. PICTURE: CHANDA MWENYA

WHEN it comes to jazz, Earl Klugh ought to be a household name in Zambia, except many will not associate the name with the tunes they hear almost daily on national radio, in-between programmes and as background music on many radio adverts.
And so when the 62-year-old American jazz legend dropped some familiar tunes at the Jazz Festival on Friday night, it was a wonderful feeling of “I know that tune” that gripped the crowd.
The two-day Jazz Festival, which is sponsored by Stanbic Bank and is in its second year running, was held at the top-deck car park at Levy Park mall and was attended by hundreds of people.
Earl Klugh began his performance with the Brazillian Stomp, a high tempo song that won him a standing ovation. Many more standing ovations were to follow for the Grammy Award winner that night, anyway.
And when he played Across the Sand, the song rang like an anthem. There were screams in the crowd with women mimicking the sound of the lead guitar, which is prominent in the song.
This is one song that has been overplayed on ZNBC radio, yet never lost its fervency.
The five-member band then dropped Jo Ann’s Song, The Last Song and Heart String, which proved why this Detroit Michigan-born jazz player is considered as the finest musician.
But it was David Lee Spradley, also known as D. Lee, the keyboard player, who overshadowed everyone on stage with his animated performance.
And he became a darling of the crowd.
“I’ve been Zambianised and I love it,” said Lee, who was born in 1954 in Seoul, Korea.
Not to be outdone, however, was drummer Ron Otis, renowned for his versatility and improvisation. He, too, wowed the crowd with his drumming.
Other star performances of the night were from the Oliver Mtukudzi with his Tuku music. If his music was not entertaining enough, his theatrical dance did the trick and the crowd loved it.
South African sensational trio, Mi Casa, led by J’Something, also put up a splendid show, playing some favourites, including These Streets.
But it was the band’s rendition of Brenda Fassie’s Vul’indlela that sent crowds dancing and singing along.
The band closed their performance with its hit song Jika, a danceable tune that sent the crowd dancing.
The night was curtain-raised by local artistes, including Abel Chungu, who was supported by his niece, Tasha. The duo closed their performance with the song Forever, with Tasha perhaps stealing the limelight from her uncle with her soulful voice.
A big public complement from Mi Casa’s J’Something drew the 20-year-old to tears.
Earl Klugh closed the night just a few minutes before midnight, and although he did not play The Rainmaker, the heavens did produce a few drops of rain that night.

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