Show Notes: Grammy-winning keyboardist/composer Gregg Karukas returns to Kona and his musical roots for a unique evening with longtime collaborator (and George Benson’s second guitarist and producer) Michael O’Neill. They’ll be featuring some new/old sounds for Gregg, as he has been developing material based on the classic Hammond organ group format.
The GK Soul/Jazz Party will feature Gregg Karukas (Boney James, Larry Carlton, Sergio Mendes) on organ, Michael O’Neill (George Benson, Barbra Streisand, Stevie Wonder) on guitar, and Russ McKinnon (Tower of Power, Barry Manilow) on drums.
These shows will be Gregg’s first return to the Big Island since performing for three years at the Dolphin Days All-Star Concerts at Waikoloa Hilton with Michael Paulo, Jeffrey Osbourne, Pauline Wilson, Kenny Rankin, Brenda Russell, Rick Braun, Peter White, and Oleta Adams.
Gregg Karukas will perform at Gertrude’s Jazz Bar in Kona Saturday, Nov. 27, at 7 and 9 p.m. There is a $10 cover charge. For more info, call (808) 327-5299 or visit https://www.gertrudesjazzbar.com.
What can folks look forward to at your upcoming shows at Gertrude’s?
Gregg Karukas: This is the first time I have not focused on my original music, so I’m playing classic soul and jazz tunes. Many recognize some of them, but they’ll just get into the groove. This is a fun side project for me.
I’ve been fortunate and worked at it a lot, and I’ve gotten to the point where I can hold my own on jazz and some funk and you the classic soul-jazz stuff and Brazilian… that’s my first love! I always incorporate a little bit of that too.
I was able to reach out and borrow this portable organ rig for these shows that matches exactly what I have here at home. I found out that my old buddy Russ McKinnon, a great drummer who had played with Tower of Power for years, is living part-time on the island. And then I called my buddy Michael O’Neill, who’s been played with many guitarists. He toured with George Benson for over 30 years as George Benson’s rhythm guitarist and background vocalist. And he sounds like George Benson at times…
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