Gregg Karukas | Soul Secrets

Go To Artist Page

Recommended if You Like
Brian Culbertson George Duke Joe Sample

More Artists From
United States - California - LA

Other Genres You Will Love
Jazz: Smooth Jazz Urban/R&B: Smooth Soul Moods: Featuring Piano
Sell your music everywhere
There are no items in your wishlist.

Soul Secrets

by Gregg Karukas

Gregg digs deeper and more organically into all the styles the multi-talented keyboardist loves – old school soul-jazz, with hints of gospel, R&B, funk and the world/samba grooves he immersed himself in while touring with Brazilian legend Sergio Mendes.
Genre: Jazz: Smooth Jazz
Release Date: 

We'll ship when it's back in stock

Order now and we'll ship when it's back in stock, or enter your email below to be notified when it's back in stock.
Continue Shopping
cd in stock order now
Buy 2 or more of this title's physical copies and get 10% off
Share to Google +1

To listen to tracks you will need to update your browser to a recent version.

  Song Share Time Download
1. Do Watcha Love (feat. Vincent Ingala)
5:15 album only
2. Soul Secrets (feat. Rick Braun)
4:18 album only
3. Gk's Funky Joint (feat. Euge Groove)
5:05 album only
4. Elegant Nights
3:52 album only
5. Rio Drive
4:54 album only
6. Only You (feat. Vincent Ingala)
4:46 album only
7. Snack Shack (feat. Vincent Ingala)
5:12 album only
8. Cafe Agogo (feat. Luis Conte & Rick Braun)
5:13 album only
9. Secret Smile (feat. Vincent Ingala)
6:25 album only
10. Above the Clouds (feat. Charlie Bisharat & Ricardo Silveira)
5:27 album only
11. Walking On Air (feat. Vincent Ingala)
5:17 album only
12. Told You Twice
5:07 album only
13. Randy Heads Uptown
5:12 album only
14. Time Alone (For Ty Malone) [feat. Charlie Bisharat & Ricardo Silveira]
4:57 album only


Album Notes
"Along with the privilege of being a musical artist and composer comes the realization that music is a mysterious and powerful force that can reach deep into our Souls and bring happiness. We all have unspoken Secrets there, and every song I write is my attempt to make that connection. The whole process, the journey, the wonderful feedback I get from listeners is what keeps me coming back to the piano. Revealing SOUL SECRETS".

2013 Grammy winner Gregg Karukas is back with a new collection of all-original songs featuring his signature piano touch, pristine production, and melodies that are both soulful and sophisticated. Organic, funky, and melodic is how Gregg describes his latest, long awaited 12th solo project, "Soul Secrets", due in early Fall 2014. Gregg's elegant grand piano and deep grooves are everywhere, and this time around he digs into his roots and also features the classic Fender Rhodes, Wurlie, Minimoog and Hammond B3 keyboards he grew up with quite a bit. With guest appearances along the way by friends Rick Braun, Euge Groove, Ricardo Silveira, Eric Valentine, Nate Phillips, Michael O'Neill, James Harrah, Adam Hawley, violinist Charlie Bisharat, Luis Conte, Shelby Flint, Ron Boustead and 21 year old rising sax star Vincent Ingala.

Karukas has been so consistently acclaimed for his melodic keyboard magic for so long that it might be superfluous to call “Soul Secrets” his best album ever – but there’s no doubt it’s one of contemporary jazz’s best albums of 2014.

Hi to all my Friends and Fans.

It has been a busy last few years since the release of my last CD GK: collaborating, winning a Grammy, touring with Peter White, Rick Braun, etc. and working mostly behind the scenes as producer and arranger for various artists. Since 2011, I've also been Musical Director and keyboardist for the incredible Dave Koz and Friends at Sea Cruises. In case you didn't know, Dave was one of the first sax players in my band back in 1986, while he was a student at UCLA and we played LA clubs like Bon Appetit, At My Place and Le Cafe.

During last September's Koz Mediterranean cruise, I was so inspired by the variety and incredible level of artistry on stage that it got me thinking about how at this time in my life, with both my boys more independent and passionate about their own musical efforts, my focus needed to change. Everywhere I go, people say the same thing, "Gregg, I have all your music, when are you coming out with a new CD?" I needed to devote more time to write and produce more of my own songs - since my composing approach is not like a factory. So I told Dave last Fall that I needed "shore leave" this 2014 Summer/Fall to finish, launch and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, promote my next solo project. Dave has been totally supportive and such a friend to our family, so he gave his full blessing and we spent a few moments talking about how there were too many great "Cruise moments" to pick the top ones.

Releasing a new CD is quite different this time with all of the changes in the music/internet business. I am happy to say that I will be releasing independently on my label Nightowl Records; with a more direct connection to you, the listeners, and complete control over the process and ownership of my music.

The “Secret” is out! 2013 Grammy winner Gregg Karukas is back with a new collection featuring his signature piano touch, pristine production, and melodies that are both soulful and sophisticated. Organic, funky, and melodic is how the original Rippingtons keyboardist describes his latest, long awaited 12th solo project, "Soul Secrets". Gregg's elegant grand piano melodies and infectious grooves are everywhere; this time around he digs into his roots, featuring the classic Fender Rhodes, Wurlie, Minimoog and B3 keyboards quite a bit.

At a generous and expansive 14 tracks and no covers, "Soul Secrets" reveals Karukas as an artist who has refined his sound to be instantly recognizable while constantly exploring a wide range of styles and grooves – from old school soul-jazz, with hints of gospel, R&B and funk to the world/samba grooves he immersed himself in while touring with Brazilian legends Sergio Mendes and Dori Caymmi. The album’s debut single, “Elegant Nights” is classic Karukas; it was the #1 Most Added Track in its first week on radio. The live interplay sizzles as Gregg surrounds himself with an all-star guest list that includes his friends Rick Braun, Euge Groove, guitarists Ricardo Silveira, Michael O’Neill, Adam Hawley and James Harrah; violinist Charlie Bisharat, Luis Conte, Eric Valentine, Nate Phillips; vocalists Shelby Flint and Ron Boustead and 21 year old rising sax star and occasional touring partner Vincent Ingala.

A prolific, genre-crossing veteran of Smooth Jazz, Brazilian, and R&B/Pop, Gregg won a Grammy Award in 2013 for producing, composing, playing all keyboards, arranging....and engineering the Echoes of Love CD, a collaboration with Omar Akram, winning Best New Age Album. Since his 2009 release "GK", Gregg has also been busy touring with guitarist Peter White and Rick Braun and served as musical director for the annual Dave Koz and Friends at Sea Cruises 2011-2013. After traveling the world with Koz and supporting all the artists, Gregg made a deliberate career move in 2014 to focus more on his solo projects and finally found time to bring 14 new songs to life.

Beginning with his 1987 debut, “The Nightowl”, Gregg has released 11 critically acclaimed projects that have generated countless radio hits, and his musical versatility, easygoing nature and pro work ethic has kept him in demand as a musical director and keyboardist for many of the top artists in the smooth jazz and R&B/pop genres. He has toured with Boney James, Ronnie Laws, Peter White, Rick Braun, Dave Koz, Melissa Manchester, Larry Carlton, Sergio Mendes, Brenda Russell, Jeffrey Osborne and been featured in various all-star groups in recent years. Gregg has received multiple Best Keyboardist nominations at the Oasis and National Smooth Jazz Awards and has produced an array of artists at his own Nightowl Studios, including Kirk Whalum, Peter White, Craig Chaquico, Gabriela Anders, The Pointer Sisters and New Age/crossover pianist David Lanz. His songs have been recorded by Jessy J., Richard Elliot, George Benson, Chaquico, Arnold McCuller, Pauline Wilson, Kenia and Deniece Williams, and his best-known radio hits, “Girl in the Red Dress” (#4), “Nightshift” (#1), and Jessy J’s #1 hit “Tropical Rain” all beautifully showcase Gregg's funky, melodic compositional style that is instantly familiar to his fans.

"People say my music sounds romantic and uplifting - and I look so happy on stage,” he says. “It's totally true. For me, the best music comes out of an inner feeling of either intense happiness or sadness. We all have unspoken Secrets inside, and every song I write is my attempt to connect to this mysterious and powerful force. The whole process, the journey, the wonderful feedback I get from listeners is what keeps me going back to the piano. Revealing Soul Secrets.”

Gregg's uplifting attitude shows in his concerts, where his ever-present joyful smile lights up the stage, and he has emerged over the years as one of the genre's most dynamic and inspiring live performers since he hit in 1987 with the original Rippingtons at the very first Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival. Gregg has headlined the event 3 times since then, and most recently he has taken his energetic show around the world to Java Jazz in Jakarta, Manila and The Mallorca (Spain) Smooth Jazz festival.

Early days: Gregg spent his preteen years close to the jukebox in his father's roadside tavern in Bowie, MD absorbing the all the hits of the sixties from The Beatles to Motown. Growing up his role models were the great composer/keyboardists Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, Chick Corea, Carole King, Leon Russell, Joni Mitchell, Joe Zawinul, and the recently departed George Duke. “Thanks to them, I was inspired by the idea that you could touch people's emotions with melodic songs and lyrics that meant something,” Gregg says.
While still in 8th grade, Gregg became a member of the award winning Bowie High School Starliners big band. At age 16 (1972) he bought his first Minimoog synthesizer, stacked it on his Fender Rhodes and continued to hone his multi-keyboard, songwriting and album production skills in the garages, studios and clubs of Washington, DC. He joined with former Airmen of Note saxman Tim Eyermann to form East Coast Offering (their answer to Tom Scott's LA Express) which quickly became the Mid-Atlantic region’s top jazz/fusion band. Later, he branched off to form Natural Bridge, which included future solo bass star Michael Manring (Windham Hill, Michael Hedges). Both bands were regulars at the famous Cellar Door, and later, The Wax Museum, opening shows for artists such as Angela Bofil, Larry Carlton, The Robben Ford Band (pre-Yellowjackets - this is where Gregg met Russell Ferrante), Billy Cobham, Jeff Lorber (w/Kenny Gorelick....G.), and many others. In late 1982 Gregg made the move to Los Angeles to widen his musical horizons.
Thanks to recommendations from Yellowjackets keyboardist Russell Ferrante, Gregg soon found himself in the company of top session players in the bands of Shelby Flint, Grant Geissman and Richard Elliot. His first major LA sessions were playing synthesizers and bass lines for Rockwell's Motown Gold Album "Somebody's Watching Me", then arranging and playing the theme songs to Disney's Ducktales and Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers. Gregg worked for many years as composer assistant, Synclavier programmer and engineer for Film/TV composer Craig Safan (Cheers, Stand and Deliver, Last Starfighter, Life Goes On, Mr. Wrong). He eventually formed his own group and kept developing his own original contemporary jazz catalog in the LA clubs and as the house band for It's Garry Shandling's Show and other TV shows. As a key player in the emergent LA Smooth Jazz scene, Gregg’s early bands and CD’s included young undiscovered sax talents Dave Koz, Gary Meek and yes, Boney James, before his breakout Warner Brothers deal.
In 1986, Gregg hooked up with Russ Freeman and founded the Rippingtons, playing all keyboards on their groundbreaking debut album "Moonlighting," which Jazziz Magazine chose as the Most Influential Contemporary Jazz Album of all time. During production, Russ needed a signature, expressive EWI (wind synthesizer) sound so Gregg suggested Dave Koz and the rest is Smooth Jazz history. In 2011 their long friendship came full circle when Dave began his own Dave Koz and Friends at Sea Cruise and asked Gregg to be Musical Director, establishing what has become one of the ultimate "destination concert" events. In a deliberate career move to focus more on his solo projects, Gregg has taken "shore leave" and is hitting the studios and the road on his own in 2014.

Representation: Al Evers

TRACK BY TRACK – Soul Secrets

“Do Watcha Love” – The opening track on Soul Secrets starts with a gospel flavored intro of vintage Wurlitzer Electric Piano and bluesy dialog with guitarist James Harrah before easing into a hypnotic funk groove with a joyful and elegant piano-sax refrain with Vincent Ingala. “Sometimes songs come to me when I’m out hiking or walking down the street,” Gregg says. “This whole melody came to me while still in bed on a Sunday morning, and I quickly went downstairs to the studio to capture the inspiration. It was late in the production of this song that I added the sax melody that overlaps the Wurlitzer melody. Vincent did an amazing job, and we have had a great time recording and performing together these last few years!”

“Soul Secrets” – Starting with some exotic percussion and the lush flugelhorn of Rick Braun, the compelling latin funk title track features a soulful piano melody and later spirited interaction with Gregg’s blazing piano solo setting up Braun’s confident solo breaks. “This one started with a groove I had going through my head, and evolved into a tribute to the great Brazilian group Azymuth,” Gregg says. “It’s not specifically a Brazilian tune, but there are certain things about the melody and groove that are reminiscent of what they did.”

“GK’s Funky Joint” – Opening with a finger-snapping groove, this track lives up to its playful title with some lively, jamming high energy blues and a fiery duality between Gregg’s Wurlie and Euge Groove’s tenor sax. “I wanted to do a shuffle on the Wurlitzer and this one is the result,” Gregg says. “Like many of these songs, it grew out of the concept of me onstage, starting each song with an instantly identifiable two-fisted piano riff that sets up the groove for the band to jump into. Once I have the set up, the song finds its direction pretty easily.”

“Elegant Nights” – The album’s debut single, “Elegant Nights” is classic Gregg Karukas, with his elegant grand piano melody easing beautifully over a flowing, laid back groove – until he shifts gears and creates a higher octane blues splash with the organ. “It’s a song with another variety of soulfulness,” says Gregg. “It’s a fairly complex melody but it comes across in a straightforward way. It’s really the quintessence of what I do.”

“Rio Drive” – As its title suggests, this is a lively, good natured samba full of energetic fun, with Gregg’s lush piano melody skipping over an increasingly intense Brazilian groove - with Shelby Flint and Ron Boustead’s vocals supporting the piano hook and Rio native Ricardo Silveira’s jazzy guitar solo adding deep textures. “This is another one where I sat down with the intention of starting a groove that sounds like me from the start,” Gregg says. “It’s got a club feel to it, a bit like ‘Mas Que Nada’. I call this one my tribute to Sergio Mendes.”

“Only You” – This is pure and beautiful liquid soul, with Gregg’s moody, hypnotic piano blending magically with Vincent Ingala’s breathy sax. Written for his wife Yvonne, Gregg says, “This song is one of my favorites on the album, and also one of Vincent’s. It’s got a nice lyrical quality to it.”

“Snack Shack” – Drummer Eric Valentine and bassist Nate Phillips dig deep on this tune. A bluesy old school funk vibe, with Gregg’s Fender Rhodes melody over a synth-driven funk groove with the Hammond B-3 simmering underneath and some jangling rhythm guitar and silky sax. “The whole groove came out during a sound check at Spaghettini,” says Gregg. “That happens a lot, and usually I forget 90 percent of what I came up with. But on this one, when it came time to play something with the band, I started the pumpin’ right hand thing and thought it was kind of cool. I put it aside and a year and a half later, after trying various versions with Euge Groove and Peter White, I came up with the version that I included on the album.”

“Café Agogo” – A bright and sunny Latin jam, this track mixes world rhythms and rhythmic keyboard chords sailing over some lively island fun featuring world renowned percussionist Luis Conte (James Taylor, Phil Collins) and Rick Braun’s “horn section”. A bit reminiscent of The Rippingtons’ sound, it’s a true cultural mélange. Tapping into the global theme further, it also borrows a few bars from The Stylistics’ “People Make the World Go Round.” “I started it with a syncopated Montuno piano vamp that leans towards the salsa side,” says Gregg. “Then it goes more into a samba mode. It’s another of those high energy grooves that wrote itself pretty quickly.”

“Secret Smile” – This is pure sensual soul, a ballad featuring a flowing piano melody and touch of exotic percussion in a romantic setting with a gentle sax harmony. “It’s one of my quintessential ballads,” says Gregg. “It reminds me of the song ‘Love on the Beach’ which I did 20 years ago on my Sound of Emotion CD. It’s another one of those songs where the intro sets up the whole vibe.”

“Above The Clouds” -A hint at the world/new age vibe that Gregg will be exploring on an upcoming solo recording – and which reflects Gregg’s composing work on Echoes of Love, the Omar Akram album Gregg produced and won a Grammy for – this track is all gentle, classically inspired elegance that later incorporates hypnotic hand drums, Silveira’s nylon string guitar and Charlie Bisharat’s soaring violin. “It’s definitely an extension of the writing and production I’ve done in the new age field on the albums with Omar and David Lanz,” says Gregg. “Actually, each of my CD’s has a song or two that express this vibe. Winning the Grammy opened up a “world” of possibilities to explore this intimate side of my music.”

“Walking On Air” – Picture perfect, in the pocket urban jazz, with punchy funk chords under a lively piano melody and soulful sax. “It’s another groove I started that evolved into a full tune pretty quickly,” says Gregg.

“Told You Twice” – On this old school soul-jazz explosion, Gregg amps up the retro-keyboard fun, spinning fire and magic around his lively Fender Rhodes and a dynamic interaction with Adam Hawley’s electric guitar. “Like some of the other tracks, this started with me laying down a two fisted intro with a lot of power and grease behind it,” Gregg says. “I thought of the melody and chords first and then came up with the groove. I love the attitude of this song.”

“Randy Heads Uptown” – Gregg includes special liner notes about the imagery that inspired this edgy rock-funk jam; it’s the true tale of a rambunctious New York City rat that boards the subway and freaks out the passengers. The wild piano driven energy is propelled by the rhythm section pocket of Nate Phillips (bass) and Eric Valentine (drums). “This one has a definite driving groove,” says Gregg, “and I let the guys set it up.”

“Time Alone” (for Ty Malone) – Another hint at the romantic, new age vibe that Gregg has in store on a future project, this closes out the set with a sweet graceful lullaby-like melody and gentle rhythmic flow – enhanced by Bisharat’s lush violin harmony line and Silveira’s mysterious nylon string guitar. “This is a tune I liked but wasn’t sure I should include on this project,” says Gregg. “It’s more connected to another set of songs I have written. But Ron Boustead, who has been my songwriting partner, mastering engineer and main sounding board for years, convinced me to include it along with ‘Above the Clouds’ – and I’m glad I did.”



to write a review

Tommy Beard Songwriter / Producer

Soul Secrets
As a songwriter and producer sometimes we listen, for flaws or mistakes it's nice to sit back and just enjoy track after track of Gregg Karukas' Soul Secrets...he is Amazing !