This week will feature keyboardist Gregg Karukas. Born in 1956 in Washington DC, he experimented with drums, guitar, trumpet and keyboards as a child, but it was not until his teens that he pursued music professionally as a keyboardist, producer, and composer. After a period working as a studio musician in D.C., he moved to Los Angeles in 1983, where he developed a melodic and soulful style of music that made him a mainstay on the smooth jazz and radio circuit. He became a major part of the pop-jazz scene, playing with (among others) Richard Elliot, Grant Geissman, Ronnie Laws, and David Benoit. Karukas worked for a year and a half with Melissa Manchester. He also had a band that featured the young saxophonist Dave Koz. In 1986 he hooked up with Russ Freeman to become a founding member of the Rippingtons featured in our Program 33. His keys can be heard on The Rippington’s classic 1987 Moonlighting CD.
In 2013 Gregg Karukas won a Grammy for best new age album. This award was for producing, composing, playing all the keyboards, arranging, and engineering the Echoes Of Love CD, a collaboration with Omar Akram. I will play a selection from this award winning album. Also I will play a song written and performed by Karukas for his lovely wife Yvonne. Sadly she later tragically developed a brain stem tumor and passed away in March of this year.
I will play Billboard’s top three songs in smooth jazz this week.
I am really excited about our first new release this evening. It will be an early listen from a blockbuster album due out on June 22nd. This is a follow up to Dave Koz’s 2013 Grammy nominated release “Summer Horns,” . This album Titled “Summer Horns II From A To Z” will showcase 11 tunes from four of smooth jazz’s biggest stars. All have been featured on this program. Joining on this project are the saxophonists Dave Koz featured on our Program 23, Richard Elliot from Program 14, and Gerald Albright from Program 30. Joining these sax players is trumpeter Rick Braun featured on our Program 10. Also part of the project is Aubrey Logan with trombone and vocals.
Immediately following the album release this group will begin a tour of North America. Each player could easily do their own show but with all the star power on stage, this promises to be an incredible event. We are very fortunate that this tour will be in Sacramento July 27th. What an opportunity to see so many of smooth jazz’s finest artists. We also have new releases to play from Basia, Nick Colionne, and Vincent Ingala
In the second hour we will hear from Diana Krall, Rob Tardik, David Benoit, Euge Groove, Peter White, Jessy J, Jeff Golub, David Garfield, Fourplay, and Chuck Loeb.
Our conclusion is my favorite song from this week’s featured artist Gregg Karukas.