Take Five With Karen Segal

AAJ Staff By

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Meet Karen Segal: Originally from Boston, Massachusetts and based in San Francisco, Karen played with Marilyn Mazur (Miles Davis) and Suzanne Fasteau (Bill Evans) in Copenhagen as a teenager. She co-founded the acid-jazz band "Red Clay" with David Brown (Brazzaville, Beck) in Los Angeles in the early 1990's. Karen has studied with teachers including Dean Brown (Marcus Miller), Cedric West (BBC Radio Orchestra) Jean Marc Belkadi, & Ron Eschete. Karen has been leading her trio in the Bay Area since 2002 and celebrated the release of "The Mystery Of Life" with a performance at Yoshi's Jazz Club in San Francisco. The Karen Segal Trio two recordings: In The Moment and The Mystery Of Life (lilleskat) are receiving airplay on local and internet jazz stations. Karen's signature guitar sound is described as "strong, delicate, humorous & deep."



Teachers and/or influences?

Dean Brown; Ray Copeland; Cedric West; Jean Marc Belkadi; Vasso Dimitriou

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

I was eleven years old.

Your sound and approach to music:

I like rich deep sounds. I like music for music sake, but I love music that is about communicating deep emotions.

Your teaching approach:

Everybody learns differently and has different learning goals.

Your dream band:

I would like to work with any and every good player who listens and shares.

Road story: Your best or worst experience:

How about the time I started getting radio interference through my amp just as the two brides were entering during their wedding ceremony. Kills me every time I remember it. Fortunately the rabbi made a comment about the palpable electricity between them . . .

Favorite venue:

Yoshi's SF treated us like royalty. I could get used to that. Made me realize how accustomed us musicians are to being treated like crap.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

I love both of my original CDs in their own way.

The first Jazz album I bought was:

Wes Montgomery: Groove Yard

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

I am contributing myself and not trying to sound like anybody else.

Did you know...

My Gibson L4 has been my primary instrument for over 20 years.

CDs you are listening to now:

Pat Metheny - Day Trip I just love this album.

Desert Island picks:

John McLaughlin - Live At the Royal Festival Hall

John McLaughlin - Extrapolation Its all so fresh I don't think I would ever tire of listening to them.

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

There is still much "museum jazz" around - people trying to sound like time has stood still for the past 50 years or so. Nothing wrong with that, its good stuff. But there is much fresh stuff happening and that excites me.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?

Players being true to who they are and not trying to sound like what they think they are supposed to sound like.

What is in the near future?

I am very excited that Yoshi's SF has asked us back for a primetime show in 2010. I will be working towards that and composing new material for my next recording. I look forward to expanding my network of players and venues. Looking towards a west coast tour as well as New York and Chicago.

By Day:

I teach school band, including clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, bass & drums. I start the kids in 4th grade, develop them in 5th grade and then teach middle school jazz band. I also have some private guitar students.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:

Rock musician.

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