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Laura Karst

Music critics and fans praise Laura Karst’s warm and smooth alto voice, her interpretation of lyrics as a true storyteller, and her versatility as a singer of a wide range of jazz styles, and in a variety of languages. She can swing hard and scat, or get an infectious bossa nova or samba groove going, and she will hold you emotionally captive as she sings her ballads.

San Francisco Bay Area jazz vocalist Laura Karst used to surprise her audiences when they learned that, by day, she was the chair of a prominent college’s French department, up until her retirement in 2017. She enjoyed her day job, but singing jazz has been her greatest love for the past 20 years. Laura is a seasoned solo performer, having headlined in a number of Bay Area jazz venues, including the Tabard Theatre in San José, Angelica’s Main Stage in Redwood City, Café Pink House jazz club in Saratoga, the Lobby Lounge of the San Jose Fairmont, Tarragon in Sunnyvale, Sumika in Los Altos, and the Octavia Lounge jazz club in San Francisco. In 2017, Laura was the invited Guest Artist at the Hilo Bay Café in Hawai’i, and she has also performed in numerous jazz clubs in Paris, such as Autour de Midi et Minuit, Péniche le Marcounet, Le Caveau des Légendes, Le Café Universel, and La Crêperie ELO. As an ensemble singer, Laura has sung in the 5- and 6-voice vocal jazz groups, Vocal Flight and JAZZ-ology, winning First Place at the Reno Jazz Festival and multiple national awards from DownBeat Magazine during Laura’s tenure with them. With JAZZ-ology, Laura has performed in jazz clubs in Manhattan, NY, and in Paris, Lyon, and Grenoble, France. She is a lyricist as well, collaborating primarily with the award-winning European jazz composer and vocalist, Loïs Le Van, whose album “Vind”, featuring exclusively Laura’s lyrics, was selected as Album of the Month by Jazz News Magazine in October 2019.


All About Jazz featured Laura's track "Errática" from her new album "Dancing in Darkness" as its Song of the Day on September 10th, 2022. The track was then named in AAJ's Top Ten Songs of the month of September 2022.

DownBeat Magazine's 2017, 2018, and 2019 First Place Award, and 2016 Outstanding Performance Award (awarded to the 5-member vocal jazz ensemble JAZZ-ology, in which Laura sang Alto).

All About Jazz - featured Download of the Day (Laura's rendition of "There's No You", from her first album "Little Did I Dream"), January 20th, 2013.

DownBeat Magazine's 2008 Outstanding Performance Award (awarded to the 6-member vocal jazz ensemble Vocal Flight, in which Laura sang Alto).

First Place at the 2007 Reno Jazz Festival (awarded to Vocal Flight).


“Laura Karst is a top-notch jazz singer who has a haunting voice and adventurous spirit… [She] digs into the lyrics… Some of these songs were originally composed as instrumentals but she makes the interval leaps with apparent ease… “Dancing in Darkness” has plenty of fine singing along with enough variety and surprising moments to hold one’s interest throughout.”   

—- L.A. Jazz Scene, August 2022 issue (Scott Yanow)"

“The Bay Area singer with a velvet-smooth voice and a breezy delivery that feels comfortable dealing in jazz, swing, pop, Latin and more just released her second album, Dancing in Darkness.”

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Dancing in Darkness



Little Did I Dream

Self Produced


Busy Being Blue

From: Dancing in Darkness
By Laura Karst

It's Your Dance (Israel)

From: Dancing in Darkness
By Laura Karst


From: Dancing in Darkness
By Laura Karst

There's No You

From: Little Did I Dream
By Laura Karst


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