Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Earl Klugh is the proverbial young man in a hurry. At 23, the Detroitbased guitarist has already accumulated a rather impressive set of jazz credentials: a year with George Benson, a stint with Chick Corea and even some time with George Shearing.
All that experience is coming in handy at The Cellar Door, where Klugh is appearing through tonight with singer Randy Crawford. From Benson, Klugh seems to have acquired a pop sensibility that disguises itself in jazz trappings, from Corea an affinity for the Latin sound and from Shearing a kind of laid-back elegance.
But even with those influences, Klugh is clearly is own man. While most of his contemporaries are obsessed with electricity, he's independent enough to insist on playing the acoustic guitar - which gives a lilting tone to tunes such as "Felicia" and "Wind and the Sea" and to let his music stand on its own, without lyrics.
As an instrumentalist, Klugh is quite impressive, showing a quickly individual style of finger-picking and often favoring a neo-Bossa Novs groove. His choice of material, though, is not so commendable. Neil Sedaka's Laughter in the Rain," an intrinsically weak number, and Motown's overdone "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" are best suited for background music - which may explain why Monday night's crowd talked its way through much of Klugh's set.