Keith Karns is a trumpet player, arranger, and bandleader based in Portland Oregon. During his time at the University of North Texas, Keith was a trumpet soloist and arranger for the Grammy nominated One O'Clock Lab Band. Since then, Keith has had the opportunity to work with some of the nation's leading voices in jazz including Rich Perry, Greta Matassa, Victor Barranco (U.S. Army Blues), Lauren Sevian (Mingus Big Band), and Stefon Harris.
Keith's 18 piece big band has toured nationally and has recorded two CDs of Keith's original compositions and arrangements. Keith has been recognized as a composer and arranger by the American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Downbeat Magazine, and the Jazz Education Network (JEN). Keith's most recent big band recording was a collaboration with New York City saxophonist Rich Perry, and was released on Summit Records in 2017 to rave reviews.
Keith is the Director of Jazz Studies at Western Oregon University where he teaches courses in jazz, applied trumpet, brass pedagogy, and chamber music. He is also the Artistic Coordinator for the Jazz Program at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival.
Keith holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, Indiana University, and the University of North Texas. His teachers include David Baker, Bill Adam, John Murphy, Robert Baca, John Harbaugh, Jay Saunders, and Rich DeRosa. Keith is a Torpedo Bags performing artist and uses Torpedo Bags to transport and protect all of his trumpets.
“...rhythmically persuasive, harmonically alluring, acknowledges an indispensable bond to the past, and swings like crazy.”
“...the gravitas and power here are extraordinary.”
“ ...filled with authenticity, homage, and refreshing creativity.”
“Texas-based Karns is an outstanding trumpeter, but it's his composing and arranging that sets him apart...”