Keith Karns is a trumpet player, arranger, and bandleader based in Dallas Texas. 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 has been the recipient of awards from ASCAP, Downbeat Magazine, and the Jazz Education Network (JEN).

The Keith Karns Big Band can be heard regularly in Dallas and has toured nationally. In 2018 Keith's band was invited to perform at the JEN conference with Rich Perry. Keith's band plays his original compositions and arrangements and has released two CDs of Keith's original music. The band’s second recording is a collaboration with Rich Perry, and was released on Summit Records in 2017.

Keith currently teaches trumpet and runs the jazz program at North Central Texas College. 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, 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.”

Jack Bowers, All About Jazz

...the gravitas and power here are extraordinary.”

Donald Elfman, The New York City Jazz Record

...filled with authenticity, homage, and refreshing creativity.”

Aric Schneller, International Trumpet Guild Journal

Texas-based Karns is an outstanding trumpeter, but it's his composing and arranging that sets him apart...”

Tom Surowicz, Minneapolis Star Tribune

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