Gregg Karukas

Gregg Karukas is originally from D.C.- Maryland, where he was a top fusion and studio player. Gregg came to Los Angeles in 1983 not to get his own record deal but to broaden his multi-keyboard playing and collaborate with other artists. It should not surprise anyone who is familiar with Gregg Karukas’s musical heritage from Maryland. He says, “The Beatles were what really got me into music as both a passion and a life style. Then I heard Stevie Wonder, Leon Russell and Laura Nyro, as well as singer/songwriters such a Stevie Wonder, Carole King, James Taylor, Leon Russell, Laura Nyro, Joni Mitchell and Carole King.” The idea of being able to touch people’s emotions through melodic songs and words that were meaningful inspired me. As a teenager my voice began to change and I stopped singing and started playing the piano and organ in different bands. Jazz was my next discovery. I was able to pay a lot of fees in Washington, DC jazz clubs, where I worked on my chops and wrote songs every day. Karukas was a talented young musician with a natural talent and good ears. He spent his childhood close to his father’s jukebox at the roadside tavern, listening to the best hits of the sixties, from The Beatles to Motown. As a teenager, Karukas was an organ player in rock and soul groups. However, his passion for jazz was sparked by Stan Getz’s Jazz Samba and Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five.” Karukas began to study jazz recordings, including those of Miles Davis and Ahmad Jamal, Chick Corea, Chick Corea, Chick Cortann, Chick corea, and Herbie Hancock. He also listened to mainstream jazz musicians like Clifford Brown, Lee Morgan, and Clifford Brown. Bill Evans, a master jazz pianist, was one of his greatest influences. Gregg, a 17-year-old from Bowie High School joined Tim Eyermann and formed East Coast Offering. Here he learned how to compose and played jazz in the city’s “jazz clubs”. After five years of playing together, they quickly established themselves as the city’s best original crossover band. Then Gregg and the rhythm section separated to form Natural Bridge. This band included Shannon Ford (Danny Gatton), Paul Simon, Gatlin Brothers, Gatlin Brothers), and Michael Manring, (Windham Hill), Michael Hedges and Montreux). They were the opening acts at The Cellar Door, where they opened for many artists, including Larry Carlton, Angela Bofil and The Robben Ford Band (preYellowjackets – this is where Gregg met Russell Ferrante), Jeff Lorber (w/Kenny Gorelick G.) and many more. Thanks to the early recommendations of Russell Ferrante, Yellowjackets keyboardist, Karukas found himself in Los Angeles in mid-’80s and quickly began performing with Patti Austin, Shelby Flint, Grant Geissmans, Ronnie Laws, Ronnie Laws, Brenda Russell. Since 1987 when he released his first independent album, The Nightowl (#1 Gavin in ’93), Karukas has been a rare artist whose creative growth and commercial success are comparable to that of smooth jazz as a whole. His Top 5 Radio hits include his latest # 1 Nightshift, Summerhouse, Key Witness (1991), Sound of Emotion (1992), and Blue Touch (1998), his breakthrough major label album that rose to..4 on The Radio.

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