Written By John Harris | Photos By Tracy Hoexter Photography
& Chris Graamans Photography
On Saturday, January 14, 2023, acclaimed vocalist Karla Harris performs at the Newberry Opera House, presenting a sparkling evening of contemporary jazz, Latin, and blues. She’s bringing with her a luminous six-piece band featuring musicians whose credits include jazz greats such as Wycliffe Gordon and Randy Brecker and pop superstars Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Roberta Flack. Karla’s dynamic, nuanced delivery has captivated audiences at festivals and venues from Portland to Provence. A consummate storyteller in song, her performances bring a distinctive mix of contemporary and straight-ahead jazz with widespread appeal.
Karla has made music with world-renown jazz artists such as Dave Weckl, Tom Kennedy, Chuck Loeb, Randy Porter, John Clayton, Terrell Stafford and more. The Newberry show is based on her project Certain Elements, which charted on the prestigious Jazz Week chart, with several tracks in rotation on Sirius XM RealJazz as well as on jazz radio worldwide. Jazz Weekly writes that the album “glows with wonderment.” The album’s first single, a lush remake of the ‘60s hit “Cherish,” is a contemporary jazz station favorite and has been featured on the legendary Dave Koz’s syndicated program. Two of Karla’s original compositions on the album were recognized in 2020 by the International Songwriting Competition awards.
In 2021, Karla was a mainstage performer for the Atlanta Jazz Festival, the Callanwolde Jazz series, and the Falany Performing Arts Center. She performed for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in collaboration with Neranenah in a concert series presented as part of the Arts Across America live performance series. In June 2022, she completed a highly coveted Jazz Road summer tour in North Carolina and South Carolina, underwritten by a grant through the South Arts foundation. This year also included performances at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center, the Touhill Center in St. Louis, the Siletz Bay Music Festival, the Boca Grande Jazz series in Florida, the Beaucoup Roswell Jazz and Blues Festival, and the Oregon Coast Jazz Party.
Heading into 2023, Karla continues to gather national recognition for a voice described by reviewers as “beautiful, powerful yet versatile” and the artist herself as “a fearless improviser.” Her reputation as a songwriter continues to build. Having just released a new CD of standards, Moon to Gold, in October 2022 that is receiving wonderful reviews, another project is scheduled for a February 2023 release featuring all-original songs written by Karla and bassist/composer Tom Kennedy. She also continues to expand her impact within the music education community as an Artist-in-Residence at Kennesaw State University, where she teaches applied vocal jazz to aspiring young singers.
Be sure to get your tickets now to see this true jazz artist perform live.