Jazz vocalist Karin Carson worked on every aspect of her debut CD
by Martin Jones Westlin
Published - 01/25/10 - 02:58 PM | 2481 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Karin Carson (Photo by Steven Wile)
Karin Carson (Photo by Steven Wile)
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Even with all the history that colors it, jazz normally commands about 3 percent of the national music market share, putting it on a level with classical fare and well below that of some old-time radio formats. But there’s a positive ring to the numbers, too — the genre has always banked on its go-it-alone improvisational elements for its fame, and ratings be damned.

When local vocalist Karin Carson unveils her “The Time Is Now” CD on Saturday, Jan. 23 at Tango del Rey, she’ll be following in the footsteps of jazz’s fiercely independent pioneers. She had a hand in every single piece of the process, from the initial live downtown gig in April of 2007 to the final mix to the cover art. And the experience was as memorable as the music itself.

“I always wanted to do my own album first, on my own, before anything else,” Carson said. “I’ve spent a lot of money and time and love. But I did it myself. I produced it. I hired the musicians. I paid them. I got them a place to stay.

“There’s an honesty about the music because I was really particular about making sure that my voice was heard, not necessarily the sound of some unknown engineer. I’m really proud of that. It’s definitely from my heart.”

And to think the foundation for this effort was once thought to be lost. A friend, Carson explained, had the sessions on a hard drive in order to back up and mix them; “For about a year, I couldn’t get in touch with him, and I didn’t even know if it was still around.”

But that scare proved fortuitous. Carson, 31, noted that she’s changed substantially as an artist and human being since then — and a savvy San Francisco engineer took it from there. Worth the wait, she said, as connections with local tech people simply weren’t materializing.

As founding president of the San Diego Jazz Musicians Guild, Carson said her nonprofit is designed to help foster such alliances. “People are hesitant to call (San Diego) anything” that labels the city as an arts hub, Carson explained. “But that’s changing, too. There’s a lot of art happening in this city and a lot of creative forces.”

Indeed, on Saturday, Tango del Rey will be the venue of choice for some. The doors open at 6 p.m., with shows at 7:30 and 9:30. The musician’s roster features the acclaimed Christian McBride, Derek Cannon, Gregory Hutchinson, Tom Catanzaro and Joshua White. Tango del Rey is located at 3567 Del Rey St. in Pacific Beach. More information is available at (858) 581-1114 or www.tangodelrey.com.

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