LOOKING UP

2005

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REVIEWS:

Read the review of Looking Up at SmoothViews.com.


5 stars Smoothjazz.com Review 

One of the most superb keyboardists in Smooth Jazz has released one of our most favorite CDs of 2005, LOOKING UP. Karukas has always had a knack for kick ass melodies (it's okay to use that term in Smooth Jazz, we're not prudes). However, on this new release he is demonstrating a whole new level of mastery on his compositions. This new partnership with Trippin `n' Rhythm Records promises to take the format's favorite sideman out of the wings and place him at center stage. His new label mate is Paul Hardcastle ... You know what they say about birds of a feather? Gregg's LOOKING UP is definitely as tasty and musically interesting as the exceptional, new, chart topping, Hardcastle release. 

Special guests include Rick Braun, Ricardo Silveira, Peter White, Thom Rotella, and Richard Smith. The entire album is truly enjoyable from beginning to end, so while it's challenging to pick out stand out tracks to highlight, we'll try... The sizzling and smooth, "London Underground" is the first to come to mind. A hit for Smooth Jazz radio from coast to coast. Another gem is the latest radio single, "Show Me The Way," sure to be a big favorite with music enthusiasts this fall as well as the sensuous "Deep Into You," and something near and dear to my heart, the Caribbean influenced, "Lost In Negril" (yes please).  LOOKING UP is definitely in my Top 10 favorite Smooth Jazz releases in 2005 for it's fashionable and alluring listening experience. ~SANDY SHORE


An inspired album filled of musical innovativeness!, June 14, 2006
Reviewer: Hiram Gomez Pardo (Valencia, Venezuela) -

Gregg Karukas' powerful creativeness seems to be unlimited. This album may be well considered by far- if not the Best Smooth Jazz Album of 2005-, at least one of the Three top Albums.

It possesses a lyrical richness, notorious spontaneity, fluidity, filled of new harmonies and suggestive sonorities. The supporting cast is simply enviable: Rick Braun, Ricardo Silveira, Peter White, Thom Rotella, Richard Smith, Michael O' Neill and Andy Suzuki conform a prestigious and winning team that complete the task with admirable efficiency.

If you are seeking for an integral album in all the sense of the word; here you have a splendid pretext to regale or self regale; inspired and enjoyable album that will reward you for ever.

Top-notch CD!

5 stars fantastic I just think that this is the best that Gregg has given us so far. All of his CDS have been great, but "LOoking Up" has got to be the Himalays so far. Continue to keep them coming Gregg.
Submitted by leonard_dowdell in indianapolis, IN. USA

3 stars The best of Karukas
A while back Gregg Karukas requested that fans attempt to provide a "Best of Gregg Karukas", however, there were too many great compositions. Looking Up has provided an example of the "Best of Gregg Karukas" without having to discriminate between all of his previous outstanding compositions!
Submitted by d daxx from djdax17 in Novi, Michigan

5 stars SIMPLY WONDERFUL!
Gregg has done it again- a wonderful CD that is creative and hot. Every single track is great. He just keeps perfecting perfection.
Submitted by Maddie in Albuquerque, NM

3 stars Looking Up is more than that
What an awesome CD for listening and relaxing and dancing with your love. All songs are just wonderful and what smooth jazz represents; favorites are Isabella and Deep Into You.
Submitted by SVoz in Boston, Ma

5 stars FANTASTIC KARUKAS
I have every Karukas disc and think that his latest has well been waiting for "AMAZING" SUPERB and more. And living here in the U.K. the service you get from CD UNIVERSE is certainly as good as this new Karukas release. If you love smooth grooves... get it NOW.
Submitted by i.goldthorpe in BLACKPOOL, ENGLAN


LoOkInG uP, April 23, 2006
Reviewer: Willie L. Martin Jr "Willie" 
Quite possibly the best Smooth Jazz Cd of the year! I wasn't disappointed nor did I feel like I wasted my money when I purchased this Cd. This is Smooth Jazz at its best. After the end of a hard days work, pop this bad boy into your Cd player, sit back, listen and chill.

5 stars Best Smooth Jazz CD of 2005!, October 22, 2005
Recently I undertook the challenge of burning a "Best Of 2005" Smoothjazz CD. The challenge was daunting, being limited to approximately 15 tracks.

Four tracks came from this wonderful CD. Gregg Karukas, always a skilled keyboardist, has outdone himself with these wonderful tracks. Track 1, "Girl In The Red Dress" is a fun, upbeat way of beginning this musical adventure. Track 5, "First Flight Home" is an immensly sexy and driven song. Track 7, "Corner Club" is a combination of absolutely haunting to so much fun. And then there's track 8, "Isabella". In my opinion the best single Smoothjazz track of 2005. It is the kind of track, when a friend asks "what exactly is smoothjazz?" Play "Isabella" for them. They'll understand.

Buy this CD, you'll love playing it for years to come and the artists deserve your support for putting out music at this quality level.   D. Powell  Lenexa, Ks USA  

 An excellent album, October 23, 2005
5 out of 5 starsI have long been a fan of Gregg Karukas, and this is my seventh cd by him. I looked forward to this new release with great expectations, and I certainly wasn't disappointed! Along with a line of excellent fellow musicians, Karukas fastens the grip as one of my absolute favorite smooth jazzers. Buy it and listen for yourselves! Submitted byLiv Moi Reime "SiR" (Bryne - Norway

5 stars Gregg Karukas delivers again!  Veteran keyboard maven Gregg Karukas returns with his latest
effort " Looking Up' a terrific smooth ride. Featuring a stellar supporting cast that includes Peter White, Richard Smith, Thom Rotella and Michael O'Neill, this is a terrific CD from start to finish! Highly recommended!
Joseph Bertie  Smooth Jazz fanatic,  Woodside,New York

 

5 stars Very Nice
I think this is Gregg's best work. He been out the net for a year or so, but this CD is so deep it's breath taking.
Submitted by ** north carolina

5 stars Karukas at his best...
Classic Karukas. The cd is great from start to finish... A must have. It was worth the wait!!! Submitted by ** in Annapolis MD

I�d also like to invite anyone who feels like it to post a review or their brief impressions of the new CD on AMAZON.COM, i-Tunes ( has a new review feature) or CD UNIVERSE. It really helps to get the word of mouth (or typing fingers) going.

 

EXCLUSIVE Autographed $16 + shipping
      Song Title
    1. Girl In The Red Dress - (with Michael O'Neill)
    2. London Underground - (with Michael O'Neill)
    3. Looking Up - (with Thom Rotella)
    4. Relentless - (with Michael O'Neill)
    5. First Flight Home - (with Rick Braun/Ricardo Silveira)
    6. Show Me The Way - (with Michael O'Neill/Andy Suzuki)
    7. Corner Club/Clube De Esquina - (with Ricardo Silveira/Andy Suzuki)
    8. Isabella - (with Richard Smith)
    9. Cross Rhodes - (with Ricardo Silveira/Michael O'Neill/Andy Suzuki)
    10. Deep Into You - (with Peter White/Richard Smith)
    11. Lost In Negril - (with Richard Smith)

NOTES
Personnel: Gregg Karukas (piano, keyboards, synthesizer, programming); Peter White, Ricardo Silveira (guitar); Michael O'Neill, Thom Rotella (electric guitar); Andy Suzuki (flute, saxophone); Rick Braun (trumpet). Recording information: Night Owl, Los Angeles, CA (2004 - 2005)

Track Breakdown

One of the most highly anticipated smooth jazz releases of 2005, Looking Up, keyboardist Gregg Karukas' debut for Trippin' N Rhythm Records and 10th solo disc overall, follows in the similarly optimistic and joy-inspiring footsteps of the recordings that have established him as one of the genre's most successful and truly essential pianists.

Featuring his irresistible trademark keyboard melodies and a wide rhythmic palette that includes old school R&B, funk, samba, reggae and some exciting forays into the chill music phenomenon, the 11-track collection is a compelling benchmark addition to a catalogue that includes many of smooth jazz's most enduring hits. These include Nightshift (whose title track hit #1 on the R&R Smooth Jazz chart) and the Top 5 radio hits Blue Touch (#3), Summerhouse (#1), Key Witness (#5) and Sound of Emotion ("Severna Park" #4).

Karukas, who was recently nominated as Best Keyboardist at the National Smooth Jazz Awards, has a long history of incredible all-star collaborations within the genre. An original member of the all-star seminal smooth groove band The Rippingtons, he has also been a popular guest artist on tours with Boney James, Peter White, Dave Koz, Eric Marienthal and Larry Carlton. On Looking Up, his warm, very up front keyboard melodies intertwine with longtime friends Peter White, Rick Braun, Ricardo Silveira, Thom Rotella and Richard Smith, as well as standout solos and grooves by veteran guitarist Michael O'Neill, best known for his longtime association with George Benson.

Looking Up opens with the vibrant, easy swinging light funk of "Girl In The Red Dress" (which features Gregg's acoustic piano and lush, retro soul Rhodes harmonies), then takes us to the funky, old school London Underground, the disc's first single which includes B-3 organ and a crisp O'Neill guitar solo. On the moody, chill-oriented title track, Karukas weaves his bright bossa nova piano melody with cool, trippy ambient and rhythmic effects; Thom Rotella's guitar is prominently featured. Relentless keeps the chill vibe going with a faster groove, dancing sonic effects, snappy, percussive piano lines and O'Neill's vibrant guitar harmonies. Rick Braun's distant muted trumpet helps Karukas explore the more romantic side of chill on the soothing, lush ballad First Flight Home, which is followed by Show Me The Way, a grooving R&B/Pop piano melody that captures the classic Karukas sound with more stellar support from guitarist O'Neill and Andy Suzuki on saxes.

Suzuki's alto flute and Ricardo Silveira's nylon string and electric guitars add an authentic Rio energy to Corner Club, a lyrical samba featuring Karukas' spirited melody over a gently rolling bassline. Following the dreamy, seductive R&B ballad Isabella, Karukas more fully explores his love for Latin music, blues and retro-soul on the perfectly titled CrossRhodes, a trippy, percussive excursion through many of the classic styles that have shaped the keyboardist's musical evolution. The Fender Rhodes also plays a prominent role in the atmospheric, candlelit Deep Into You, which features the combined talents of Peter White (nylon string guitar), Richard Smith (rhythm guitar) and Andy Suzuki's flute.  Closing the set is Karukas' ode to the islands:  the steel pan of Trinidad and the grooving reggae of Jamaica in Lost In Negril, where Gregg blends his piano, native vocal shouts and Richard Smith's colorful, percussive guitars.

Offering a rhythmically diverse, beautifully performed and spirited musical antidote to these often challenging times we live in, Gregg Karukas' Looking Up is not only one of the best smooth jazz dates of 2005; it's a celebration of all that's good in life, and a true testament to the forward thinking human spirit in all of us.  

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