February Is Release Month!

… And I’m celebrating with blogs over the next few weeks sharing background info on the new CD. Virtually every aspect of creating this record, “Karla Harris Sings the Dave and Iola Brubeck Songbook,” was a wonderful experience, and at the top of the Wonderful List are the musicians who made this music with me.

Pianist Ted Howe not only plays throughout but also arranged the music and produced the project. Ted is the multi-hyphenated pianist-arranger-composer-educator-producer who came up with the concept for this record. Based in Los Angeles, he’s done innovative tributes before, including chart-topping works featuring the music of Ellington, Gershwin and Elton John.

On bass is my good friend Tom Kennedy. As one of the top jazz bassists on the planet, Tom was a perfect choice for this project, which called for both acoustic and electric bass in various styles. He and I are both from St. Louis, and that’s where we first worked together when I sang for a quartet he led there in 2004. Tom produced my first CD and was happy to play on this record. In the process, he brought aboard his longtime friend and collaborator Dave Weckl (Modern Drummer Hall of Fame member). Dave’s reputation and credits speak for themselves. Tom and Dave have played together for years and everyone was excited that they’d be combining forces on this music. (It happens that Dave is from St. Louis as well, although I’d never met him before this session. Gateway City represented here!) Rounding things out was superb sax player Bob Sheppard, an L.A. session veteran, whom Ted called to come add alto to three songs. Bob has played on hundreds of records, and I quickly saw why.

It was a terrific experience to watch these musicians at work and feel the arrangements come alive as they played them. We recorded rhythm tracks over two days at Tritone Studios in L.A., with me singing my vocals live with the trio. Many of those live takes became the finals we used on the CD. I love the fact that so much of what you hear on this album is the sound of us making the music together. It was a thrill being in the studio with these players!