Karin Carson blends a mix of Original Music, Bossa Nova's, Traditional Jazz & Rythym and Blues, to create a sweet and mellow mix to quench the musical thirst of the listener.
Karin Carson is a talented and highly appealing jazz singer as can be heard on her recent
recording debut, The Time Is Now. However Miss Carson is more than just a vocalist for
she is an organizer, a spokeswoman, and an activist for the jazz music that she loves. She
makes things happen, whether it is gigs for her fellow musicians, publicity for jazz, or new
The granddaughter of a trumpeter Peter Sirna, who played jazz in the San Diego area in
the 1950s and '60s, Karin Carson grew up around music and, even very early in life, she
was organizing musical events. "I sang every chance I could get. I sang in choruses and
put together my own shows when there wasn't anything going on. In classes I was always
very eager to organize groups, even as a child." She put together kid productions that had
dancing, gymnastics and puppet shows. In high school Karin sang jazz-inspired
arrangements with a gospel choir, became involved in musical theater, and organized a
group that performed at festivals. "We paid our own way and choreographed moves to all
of the music ourselves."
While attending Grossmont College where at first she took classes that trained her in
classical music, Karin became drawn to jazz while taking a big band course. "I started
singing with a jazz band but I did not quite understand the music. Kristin Korb, one of my
teachers, suggested I see her perform at an IAJE conference in Los Angeles. While there,
one day I walked into a room where Patrice Rushen and Ndugu Chancler were playing
passionate music before an enthusiastic and large audience. The vibe was so sympathetic
that I got a rush of joy. I looked around the room and I knew that this was home. This was
what I was supposed to be doing and, if I could make people feel the way I felt at that
moment, that is what I should do with my life."
Never one to sit by passively and wait around for opportunities that might not come, Karin
quickly became an advocate for jazz. When budget cuts in 2004 threatened the music
department, she started a music club called Melodia and organized a talent show that
raised money for the department. She became successful at writing grant applications,
resulting in new instruments being acquired for the Afro-Cuban ensemble and the
refurbishment of instruments for the college.
Karin picked up important experience working as the promotions assistant at Jazz 88.3-
FM in San Diego and behind the scenes at the Monterey Jazz Festival. She has interacted
closely with the administration and the artists at Monterey to see how the festival really
works so she could bring her knowledge back to San Diego.
Back home, she formed The San Diego Jazz Musicians Guild in April 2009. The idea had
originally come to her back in 2000. "I wanted to do a documentary on the history of jazz
in San Diego, and it morphed into something much bigger. Our goal is to build bridges
across the global liberal arts community through jazz. We help young people to get
involved in doing what they love by holding jam sessions, giving people of all ages
opportunities to see the music and play, and also building up the jazz community. We had
our grand opening in April and brought together jazz musicians from San Diego who had
never actually met before. Since our inception, we have presented over 200 musicians and
artists alike and continue to grow."
In her own singing career, Karin sings regularly in the San Diego area (including at the
Enchanted Village), hosts the Live Jazz Jam at the South Park Bar & Grill and the Jazz
Collective at Tango Del Rey, Jack & Giulio's and occasionally performs out of town for the
City Nights Jazz series presented by the Mike Raynor Quartet at the Inn at Morro Bay.
Her debut recording, The Time Is Now, teams Karin with a brilliant rhythm section.
"Pianist-keyboardist Joshua White was one of the first people that I asked because we
have played together for many years. I knew the great Christian McBride and he offered to
play on the album. Gregory Hutchinson is a friend of his, and one of Christian's top picks
for drummer, so he was a natural choice." Some selections also have guests including
trumpeter Derek Cannon and saxophonist Tom Cantanzaro, background singers Leanne
Wright Yip and Bridget Allen, and percussionists. The music is a mixture of favorite jazz
standards and a few surprises. Among the many highlights are an unusual uptempo
version of Duke Ellington's "Prelude To A Kiss" (which is otherwise always taken as a
ballad), a rendition of "Lush Life" that has Karin accompanied by Christian McBride on
piano, and a vocal-bass duet on "Save Your Love For Me." All of the music was recorded
during a single studio session and a concert that took place the following day. Karin wrote
the title track of "The Time Is Now" when she was starting college. The collection as a
whole, forms a soundtrack for her purposeful life since that time and throughout, Karin
sounds at her best, interpreting the lyrics with plenty of feeling.
Karin Carson, who was recently nominated by the San Diego Music Awards for "Best Jazz,"
looks forward to the future with enthusiasm. "My life is an ongoing process and I can't say
for sure what the future holds for me. I would really love to tour, see the world and make a
lot of music. Whatever my future is, I want to make a difference." She already has and it is
a sure bet that plenty of important accomplishments are in her future.
Written by Scott Yanow
"I believe that music is the one unifying voice of love in this world. I want to use my voice
to reach the heart." ~Karin Carson
- Dianne Reeves - When You Know
- Betty Carter - I Can't Help It
- Christian McBride - Live @ Tonic