Karla Harris Sings The Dave & Iola Brubeck Songbook With The Ted Howe Trio
Vocalist Karla Harris and the Ted Howe Trio bring something rarely heard in shows celebrating the music of jazz pianist Dave Brubeck: Lyrics! In this special tribute, Harris performs vocal versions of Brubeck’s iconic instrumentals, singing words written by a highly talented lyricist who also had the closest insight into Brubeck’s life and work — his wife of 70 years, Iola Brubeck.
Largely undiscovered by jazz listeners, Iola’s lyrics – sophisticated, poetic, romantic and witty – represent some hidden treasure, and Karla Harris, whom one radio reviewer labeled, “a powerful singer who makes any song memorable,” mines it with sensitivity and spirit. Audiences hear vocal versions of classics such as “The Duke,” “Strange Meadowlark,” “In Your Own Sweet Way” and “Take Five,” as well as other Brubeck standouts. Harris shares the songs and stories behind them in this live presentation of the Summit Records release, “Karla Harris Sings the Dave and Iola Brubeck Songbook,” the first-ever studio recording featuring exclusively vocal versions of Dave Brubeck’s music. Hearing these memorable compositions with words opens up a whole new experience of the music during this memorable musical evening!
Engaging listeners with vibrant vocals that range from velvety vulnerability to soul-tinged power, jazz singer Karla Harris delivers her music with sensuous expression, sheer energy and a sophisticated warmth. She weaves her American influences of swing, standards, blues, soul and rock, as well as an affinity for Latin music, into a multi-textured jazz tapestry for audiences to enjoy, and delivers it with a compelling stage presence all her own. A native of St. Louis who honed her vocal skills with the city’s most notable bands and musicians, Karla in 2005 relocated to the Pacific Northwest, a move that propelled her into Portland, Oregon’s highly regarded jazz scene. She began working with acclaimed players such as Latin percussionist Bobby Torres (Joe Cocker, Etta James), and pianists Randy Porter (Diane Schuur, Gino Vanelli, Madelaine Eastman), Steve Christofferson (Nancy King) and more. Karla became a regularly featured artist at premier jazz rooms in the area and has performed at events such as the Newport Jazz Festival, Cathedral Park Jazz Festival, Portland Jazz Festival and Nantucket Arts Festival, gaining fans drawn by her dynamic delivery and tasty repertoire.
In 2007, Karla recorded a CD with internationally acclaimed jazz bassist Tom Kennedy, with whom she performed frequently in St. Louis and whose credits include such greats as Rosemary Clooney, Freddie Hubbard, Mike Stern, Lee Ritenour, Ben Vereen and others. Of the recording, titled “Twice As Nice,” Jazz Scene Magazine writes, “Always respectful of her American Songbook choices, Harris has superb intonation and a contemporary, appealing approach to the songs.”
In 2012, Karla relocated to Atlanta. She has opened for Grammy-nominated jazz singer Kate McGarry and performed as featured vocalist with some of the area’s finest bandleaders, including Ted Howe, Joe Gransden and Kevin Bales. She also works with top jazz musicians in her own combos in the Atlanta area and on tour. Of her performances, WSIE Radio says Karla is “a powerful singer at ease in any setting, a singer for all seasons who makes any song memorable.” Clubscene writes, “She engages us and makes us happy to be spending the evening with her.”
TED HOWE was born in Boston, MA with a fascination for sound from the day he was born. A penchant for sound from a toddler may not always be a parent’s dream. However, this love of sound grew as did that of the Red Sox from the attention he received from his Uncle Oly, who introduced him both to jazz and to baseball. Young TED listened to every jazz album he could find, attended many jazz concerts and quickly found his favorites amongst Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, Oscar Peterson, George Shearing, Dave Brubeck and Bill Evans.
TED began studying piano in his tender teens with HARRY SMITH, one of the legendary founders of the BERKLEE COLLEGE OF MUSIC. TED’S natural persistence and relentless fascination of developing his craft dominated his life. He soon became not only a student at Berklee, but a professor of piano arranging, theory and improvisation — all before reaching the age of 24.
After a two year stint as a pianist in the Army, TED took a gig at one of Boston’s leading live entertainment venues, The Surf Supper Club where he soon became bandleader playing and conducting for some of the biggest acts of the time. It was at the Surf that HOWE honed his craft of arranging — a strong point that to this day sets him aside from other gifted pianists.
TED moved his family to Atlanta where he continued performing, composing, arranging, producing and teaching. Again, HOWE shared the stage with many of the great jazz artists and entertainers of the day and he continued building relationships with performers who called on
his services each time they came to town, such as MEL TORME — who refused to sing with anyone else on his visits to Atlanta.
HOWE also joined the faculty of GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY where he assisted in developing its first jazz education program.