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A prolific, 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. Gregg won the Best New Age Album Grammy in 2013 for producing, composing, playing piano/keyboards, arranging and engineering the Echoes of Love CD, a collaboration with Omar Akram, and has also worked with pianist David Lanz, arranging and producing two successful crossover CDs. He was a founding member of The Rippingtons and since then has been in the company of the top acts in the Smooth Jazz, World and R&B pop genres, touring with Boney James, Peter White, Rick Braun, Dave Koz, Melissa Manchester, Larry Carlton, Sergio Mendes, Brenda Russell, Jeffrey Osborne and featured with various Allstar groups in recent years. He has had a diverse career in music with a long list of credits on CD’s and all media; Gregg arranged and played all keyboards on the theme songs to Disney's Ducktales and Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers and is a veteran of lots of TV/Film music sessions, (Cheers, Stand and Deliver, Life Goes On, Mr. Wrong).
Gregg honed his multi-keyboard, synth programming, songwriting and album production skills in the studios and clubs of Washington, DC, paying dues thru the late -70's with Jazz/Fusion groups Tim Eyermann and East Coast Offering and Natural Bridge (along with bandmate and bass virtuoso Michael Manring). Moving to Los Angeles in 1982, Gregg's focus was not on developing a solo career, but with a goal to play as many different styles as possible. His first gig in LA was on his 12th day in town with singer/songwriter Shelby Flint (Angel on my Shoulder, Mercury), whose band included former Wings drummer Denny Seiwell and other top studio players. He soon found himself touring with Melissa Manchester, producing demos and collaborating with songwriters, working on TV/film music and contributing to over 100 CD's from all genres. By the mid-'80's he was playing his own, stylistically diverse, original songs at local gigs with top session players and leading the studio house band for It's Garry Shandling's Show on Showtime. One bandmate suggested he knew a small "new adult contemporary" label that was looking for artists. Gregg sent in his songs (1987's The Nightowl) and began a 3 decade solo career of chart topping melodies that has perfectly paralleled the growth of the Smooth Jazz genre.
Always in demand as a musical director and keyboardist, Gregg has received multiple Best Keyboardist nominations at the Oasis and National Smooth Jazz Awards. His best-known songs, "Elegant Nights (#1), "Rio Drive"(#1), "Girl in the Red Dress" (#4) "Nightshift" (#1), and Jessy J.'s #1 hit "Tropical Rain" showcase Gregg's funky, melodic compositional style familiar to his fans.
“Gregg Karukas’ music is the epitome of class and elegance…he’s got such a nuanced touch on the piano, and his compositions are always so satisfying. Add in a great ability to communicate live, and you have an all-around great talent.” -Dave Koz