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Cover Article : Feature Last Updated: Jun 26th, 2009 - 00:12:06


Looking Up with Gregg Karukas
By Kim Betton, CRESCENDOjazz.com
Nov 12, 2007, 12:26

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Photo by : Bettie Miner

The tempo is just right. The sounds carry you from a peaceful place to an upbeat joyous ride. This master piece is called "Looking Up," the latest line of work composed and performed by smooth jazz piano great Gregg Karukas.

Playing off what he loves the most - sounds of emotions, Gregg Karukas' "Looking Up," on the Trippin N Rhythm lable, is a feel good album - right down to the bones.

Karukas told CRESCENDOjazz.com the title came out of writing several songs that started with one theme - a positive vibe with a smooth flair. "Looking Up is a way of approaching life and a way of getting you through tough times," he said.

Karukas shares the up-beat CD with guest smooth jazz artists, Michael Neal, Rick Braun, Peter White and more. "I am really happy with the way things turned out with the CD. The interplay with guest guitar players gives "Looking Up" a warmer sound between the acoustic piano and the guitar," Karukas said.
Gregg Karukas "Looking Up"

The performer, composer, writer and producer creates his works out of his own Los Angeles studio. Through his amazing musical talents, Karukas writes in a variety of styles, keeping it soulful and positive. "Whether it's funk music, R&B ballads or Brazilian tunes, the melody is really the priority for me, " added Karukas. "I'm always trying to get the best piano sound that I can. I've been producing and mixing my own records through the years. My main goal on this CD was to write music that was malotic, soulful and still funky," he told CRESCENDOjazz.com.

Karukas got his start in his native Bowie, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC. During his time around the beltway, Karukas organized a highly successful jazz band after spending years of training and performing with his high school's jazz band.
Photo by: Ken Weil

"TAKE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE, ESPECIALLY IN THE WAY THAT YOU DEAL WITH PEOPLE. DON'T LET THINGS GET YOU DOWN AND LOOKING UP IS REALLY THE WAY TO DO IT.
-GREGG KARUKAS

One evening following a DC gig, Karukas said a man came up to him, shook his hand, and complimented his excellent performance. That man happened to be one of the greatest pianists in the world of jazz, Les McCann - who later became Karukas' mentor and friend. "Les told me to play funky and play preety and that's something I live with today."

For more information visit www.karukas.com


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