After moving to Los Angeles from the Maryland/DC area in the mid '80s, Gregg Karukas quickly developed a reputation as a solid keyboardist/arranger as he found himself performing with the likes of Patti Austin, Shelby Flint, Richard Elliot, Melissa Manchester, Ronnie Laws, Sergio Mendes, Ricardo Silveira and Brenda Russell….and his own band which featured a young, undiscovered sax player named Dave Koz.
In 1987 Gregg released his first solo album, The Nightowl, which quickly became a Quiet Storm radio staple. That same year he became the original keyboardist with the Rippingtons, recording the classic Moonlighting project with Kenny G and David Benoit. Over the course of his 10 solo CD’s, Karukas has been one of the few artists whose own creative growth and commercial success perfectly parallels that of the smooth jazz genre as a whole.
Riding high on the success of his critically-acclaimed #1 radio hit Nightshift and his recent Best Keyboardist nomination at the National Smooth Jazz Awards, Gregg Karukas has created another gem in his latest solo CD, Looking Up. True to the optimistic, forward thinking title, Looking Up is a melodic, rhythmically diverse oasis in the midst of these challenging times, and his trademark sophisticated acoustic piano melodies sound warmer and more up-front than ever before.
That uplifting attitude shows in his concerts, as Karukas has emerged over the years as one of the genre’s most dynamic and inspiring live performers since he first took the stage at the 1987 Catalina Jazz Festival with the original Rippingtons and toured through the years with superstars Boney James, Rick Braun, Eric Marienthal and Larry Carlton.
"What really got me into music as a passion and a lifestyle was first seeing the Beatles, and then hearing Stevie Wonder and singer/songwriters like Carole King, James Taylor, Leon Russell, Laura Nyro and Joni Mitchell,” he says. “I was inspired by the idea that you could touch people's emotions with melodic songs and lyrics that meant something. People say my music sounds romantic and uplifting - and I look so happy on stage,” he says. “It's totally true. For me, the best music comes out of an inner feeling of either intense happiness or sadness. I always try to stay faithful to that original inspiration, because that is where the true ‘sound of emotion’ comes from.” www.karukas.com