Karen Sharp (above, right, with Robert Fowler) started off in music college as a composition student. But it says in the biography on her website that she got “instantly hooked” by Dexter Gordon. She still composes, arranges – she dropped in to the big band I play in yesterday evening with a beautifully crafted Sam Rivers chart – but these days she pops up verywhere as an always-busy, always highly organized, and always good-to-hear mainstream(*) tenor player. She also plays a mean clarinet and gutsy baritone.
Sharp has a new project , a salute to tenor icons Al Cohn and Zoot Sims. The other tenor in this project is Robert Fowler. Sharp and Fowler both worked in Humphrey Lyttelton’s band, Sharp from 2004 to 2007.
You can hear the Cohn/Sims two-tenor combo at East Side Jazz Club at The Lord Rookwood in Leytonstone on May 19th. A CD of this music– Sharp’s fourth as leader- was recorded earlier this year . It’s called “Brandy and Beer” after the Al Cohn composition. There are online clips of it HERE.
Sharp gives you straight-ahead, approachable, fluent playing, but with that composer’s ear and composer’s clarity and economy of utterance. The vibe at the Lord Rookwood is bound be good.
(*) The 606 has a quick cheerful guide to jazz styles