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Unplugged - Gregg Karukas

Uploaded On:  Sunday January 1, 2023

Great melodies; the essential quality that has defined Grammy-winning keyboardist / composer / producer Gregg Karukas’ 13 solo albums over a three-decade-long career, with many #1 radio hits, both sophisticated and accessible. Serenata, his first ever solo piano project, offers romantic impressions of classic songs from iconic Brazilian artists Milton Nascimento and Dori Caymmi as well as new and re-imagined Karukas originals. Gregg will also step into the classic piano trio format to play some of his best known songs and jazz classics – “unplugged”.

Coming out of a four-year hiatus, following the loss of his wife Yvonne from brain cancer, Gregg found the challenges of both the Covid isolation and developing his solo piano voice to be the perfect catalyst for reclaiming beauty, hope and, most importantly, new original music.

A genre-crossing veteran of Smooth Jazz, Brazilian, New Age and R&B/Pop, Gregg Karukas looks back on his years touring with Brazilian artists Sergio Mendes, Dori Caymmi and Ricardo Silveira in the 1990’s as some of his favorite musical experiences.

After a recent move, Gregg discovered a dusty box of live cassette recordings of shows in the 1990’s with Dori and Ricardo Silveira and was curious to check out one particular tape marked “Dori – Le Cafe”. Says Gregg, "I had to buy a used cassette deck to play it, and it was one of our magical nights. I sat down at the piano and recalled many of his lush, melodic songs as best as I could and got very emotional, especially since I had also recently found the video of our wedding in 1992, where Dori sang 'O Cantador' during the ceremony and 'Travessia' was our first dance. That evening pulled me out of my comfort zone and set me on a surprising new adventure that I hope will bring some peace and joy to all who are suffering during this challenging time.”

“Most people think of Brazilian music as highly rhythmic, based on samba, or carnival,” Gregg continues, “but there are so many other great qualities that encompass a world of influences; I love the more emotional, romantic melodies, and while I don’t understand any of the Portuguese lyrics, these songs are very special to me”.

This performance was originally recorded on August 7, 2022, at Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach, CA.