Appeared Saturday Nov. 27, 2021 at Gertrude's Jazz Bar and Bistro
Gregg Karukas on Hammond organ with Michael O'Neill (George Benson) and Russ McKinnon (Tower of Power).
Grammy winning keyboardist/composer Gregg Karukas returns to Kona and his musical roots for a unique evening with longtime collaborator (and George Benson's 2nd guitarist and producer) Michael O'Neill. They'll be featuring some new/old sounds for Gregg, as he has been developing material based on the classic Hammond organ group format. Soul Jazz for the 21st century with a rotating cast of all-stars. Fans of Seawind star Pauline Wilson will recognize Gregg as co-writer of a few songs on her Intuition CD. This is Gregg's first return to the Big Island since performing for 3 years at the Dolphin Days All-Star Concerts at Waikoloa Hilton with Michael Paulo, Jeffrey Osbourne, Pauline Wilson, Kenny Rankin, Brenda Russell, Rick Braun, Peter White and Oleta Adams.
"Most all of my recordings have featured grand piano or Fender Rhodes with great bass players; but recently, I have had so much fun jamming on my vintage Hammond A100 organ, and have made it a personal challenge to work towards developing my own sound on this beast, holding down the bass parts with my left hand and pedals. Grooving, paying tribute to the B3 masters and trying new things is what it's all about."
Gregg Karukas Bio:
Great melodies; the essential quality that has defined Grammy winning keyboardist / composer / producer Gregg Karukas’ 12 solo CD's over a three decade career, with many #1 radio hits, both sophisticated and accessible. A prolific, genre-crossing veteran of Smooth Jazz, Brazilian, New Age and R&B/Pop, Gregg was a founding member of The Rippingtons in 1986 and has toured with Boney James, Dave Koz, Larry Carlton, Sergio Mendes, Dori Caymmi, Ricardo Silveira, Peter White, Rick Braun, Shelby Flint, Melissa Manchester, Alphonse Mouzon, Brenda Russell, Jeffrey Osborne and various Allstar groups in recent years. "Serenata", his first ever solo piano project, offers romantic impressions of classic songs from iconic Brazilian artists Milton Nascimento and Dori Caymmi as well as new and re-imagined Karukas originals. Coming out of a 4 year hiatus, following the loss of his wife Yvonne from brain cancer, Gregg found the challenges of both the Covid isolation and developing his solo piano voice to be the perfect catalyst for reclaiming beauty, hope and, most importantly, new original music. - Gregg headlined the Catalina Island Jazztrax Festival Oct 16 - co / bill with Jeffrey Osborne - Gregg won the Grammy in 2013 for producing, composing, playing all keyboards, arranging....and engineering the Best New Age Album (Echoes of Love). - helped launch Dave Koz Music Cruises in 2011-2013 as Musical Director - Gregg's group was the house band for It's Garry Shandling's Show on Showtime. - Gregg arranged and played the theme songs to Disney's Ducktales and Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers; played keys on Rockwell's Gold Album "Somebody's Watching Me"
Michael O'Neill Bio:
Starting with his appearances on the Crusaders Street Life tour to his ongoing work with George Benson and Barbra Streisand, Michael has played on hundreds of recordings, worked on dozens of World Tours, recorded five solo CD’s, scored several films and TV Shows and made numerous television and video appearances. Working with George Benson since 1981, Michael has appeared on The Best of Benson Live, George Benson and Al Jarreau’s CD, Givin’ It Up, Benson’s Absolute Live and Live in Montreux 1986 dvd’s, and served as Associate Producer on Benson’s CD, ‘Songs and Stories” which garnered a Grammy Nomination. Michael Has also worked with Natalie Cole, Stevie Wonder, Joe Sample, Rickie Lee Jones, Al Jarreau, Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, KD Lang, Vince Gill, John Legend, Patti Labelle, Aretha Franklin, Michael Buble, Earth Wind and Fire, Al Green, Boney James, Sheila E., Hubert Laws, and many, many others.