Local Vocalist Rearranges Classics & Debuts Stunning First Release

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 14:21

An Interview with Jonathan Karrant

by: Casey Pukl

Growing up in a home full of music, art, and dance, one might say that Jonathan Karrant was destined to be in show business. As a child, Jonathan sang in church, and as he entered his teens, he went into local theatre as well. He eventually found his way to Las Vegas, and finally landed in San Diego. He just released his debut album, On and On, and fortunately I got the chance to catch up with him and find out all about the record and his upcoming CD release show at Anthology!

CP: Tell me about your new album, “On and On,” that this show is celebrating!

JK: Well, it’s a collection of some of my favorite songs, and a few that aren’t really your typical standards. They have some really nice and fresh arrangements on them with Josh Nelson on piano, Mark Shapiro on guitar, Rob Thorsen on bass, and Duncan Moore on drums. They’re all very accomplished, especially Josh and Rob. They have several albums out on their own. In fact, Josh plays with Natalie Cole. All of those guys played on the album, and they’ll all be there with me at Anthology for the show!

CP: Excellent! How did you go about choosing the material for this album?

JK: Well, it was time to do an album. I had some songs of my own, but I didn’t feel that they were quite ready, so I just dove in and took some songs that I thought could have a really fun jazz twist. The song, “On and On” by Stephen Bishop is originally a folk song. We put kind of a Latin feel to it— actually it goes from a swing to a Latin feel, but it’s got a really nice groove to it.

I’ve always loved James Taylor, and “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” has always been one of my favorite songs.

CP: Listening to the preview of that song on your website, I was really excited. That’s one of my all-time favorites.

JK: Good! I love that song. And then “In My Life” is another favorite. We took another Beatles tune, “Sing a-long John” and we tagged that at the end. The lyrics to “In My Life” are so wonderful, so we slowed it down so you can really hear them. It’s such a heart-felt song. It gives you such a sentimental feeling, so it works really well slowed down. It’s such a sweet ballad about wanting back in after screwing up.

“Doodlin’” by John Hendricks has some really fun lyrics. It’s such a fun song, and it was originally an instrumental song. It’s only been recorded with lyrics maybe two or three times before. “On and On” has only been recorded once or twice before.

Some of these songs have only been recorded one to five times, which for jazz standards is not a lot at all. Granted, some of these aren’t typical jazz standards, but something like “Under My Skin” has probably been recorded a couple hundred times, so it’s neat to use songs that you don’t have that many recordings of.

CP: Tell me how you got started in music!

JK: I was in the school chorus, church chorus, I sang at church for the first time when I was five years old, so I had all that background. Then I did study under the Seth Riggs Method in Nashville for a while and in Las Vegas, and then I did a lot of theater too. But music really took over, grab a hold, and I guess it really just took me (laughs)! I didn’t really have a lot of control over it.

CP: Music is just one of those things that’ll do that! You spent a couple of years in Vegas before this, what brought you to San Diego?

JK: I had friends in San Diego, and I just loved it. It’s such a beautiful place to create. The weather makes everything so positive all the time. As for Vegas, when I moved here, I was kind of bouncing back and forth from New York to Arkansas, and a jazz leader at the college I went to told me I should live in Las Vegas because that would be the best place for me. So I just moved here without ever visiting. I got some work here in the beginning, but things were starting to die out musically. There aren’t any show rooms in Vegas anymore. There are some left, but it’s mostly cover bands that are kind of loud and rowdy.

The audiences in San Diego are much more willing to listen. I think that they’re more accepting to hear something that’s not a Sinatra tune, or something that they’ve never heard. The jazz that is in Las Vegas is not really jazz, it’s more just pop. They’re singing standards, but it’s more like pop.

CP: Who do you enjoy listening to most lately?

JK: Johnny Hartman, Mel Torme, Nancy Wilson, and Lou Rawls.

CP: Who doesn’t love Lou Rawls?

JK: I know!

CP: What are you most looking forward to about coming to Anthology?

JK: It’s just such a beautiful venue, and it’s so well respected. When I saw John Pizzarelli there, Natalie Cole, everyone that plays there talks so highly of it. I’ve been there so many times, and it’s just such a pleasant room. I’m really looking forward to it!

Be sure to come out and support Jonathan’s debut album and his Anthology debut! You can preview some of his album on his website- just follow the link through our artist profile page!

WHAT: Jonathan Karrant
WHEN: Monday, March 5, 2012, 7:30pm
TICKETS: $10-$18 Buy Tickets
MORE INFO: Artist Profile