Earl Klugh Weekend of Jazz at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort

I was just remarking to Patrick about the fact that I really don’t have a working geography in my head of the Carolinas and nearby Atlantic coast. As a matter of fact, I really have a shabby understanding of the New York and Jersey Atlantic coast, where I happen to visit and play rather frequently. But visits to the Carolina part of the Atlantic coast are really rare.

So anyway, we froze our butts off on this cold Carolina coast, in NOVEMBER. I hope you can tell, I’m laughing and smiling here in delight. But I’m serious about the cold. The golf resort is right on the coast… I mean 50 yards out of the side door and you’re walking on the sandy beach. And so, quite naturally, when it’s not hot summertime, there’s gonna be cool and gusty coastal weather.

But-  Earl Klugh’s weekends of jazz are always warm and cozy and happy wherever they are. And so it was down here at the Kiawah Resort, with grits in the morning. Earl and Denise always do something special with their jazz weekend that involves an opportunity for jazz guests and artists to meet and say hello, for cocktails or lunch, always optional. See—Always warm and cozy! For instance, this time, we had a wonderful afternoon Question & Answer session with Earl, and Burt Bacharach, and Jay from Spiro Gyra, and local DJ/Journalist Richard Todd. That was fun. I’ve done lots of these Q&A afternoons, but it’s always with press, not guests/audience people. It’s a lot less clinical like this. It was obvious how touched and moved and warmed by the presence of Burt Bacharach everyone was. Humble and sweet and generous is what you get from Burt Bacharach.

8:45pm saw me and my band in full swing on the resort’s big open lawn, with 1200 people in white folding chairs under mushroom heaters in rapt attention after Spiro Gyra left the stage appropriately hot for me and my guys. This audience was great, and even though they shivered and blew on their cupped hands to stay warm, they gave off a wonderful heat and warmth of their own, and we had a great time. There were two ladies down front and left of me who jammed so hard all night, and repeatedly high-fived each other at special moments during songs and after songs. They stayed all night.

There was wonderful applause and cheering when Earl suddenly joined me in the middle of the set to do “This Time.” It’s almost difficult for me to grasp how old this piece of music actually is. I heard it pre-1980. It became the title song for the 1980 release of my own. It’s a little wacky that I’ve always considered Earl to be one of the ‘baby-child geniuses’ in our shared genre.   In any case, it’s a staple in my repertoire, and often it’s pointed out and pointed to by others as a big favorite and high point of excellence.

Earl and the band must have been oh-so-thankful for those little hot pocket hand-warmers that they had stuffed in their pockets to keep their fingers warm. We did finally prevail over and above the chill in the air, but I can tell you, it was breathing down our collars. And the audience’s standing ovation at the end surely involved some attempt to move around and stay warm… We did come back for more, and there were smiles and happiness all around. And off they all went to an after-hours party in the hotel lobby bar that was extraordinary. Normally, people are getting in their cars and heading off to home in all directions. Home, on this night, was just moments away on foot. Party over here!!

 I’ll be up at 6 in the morning to start a long day, with a flight in the morning and then a rehearsal and concert that same day. Goodnight!


See you in Newark with Christian McBride and the Big Band!


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