BEST LOCAL JAZZ ARTIST Minneapolis 1999 -
Other locals have more nationally prominent profiles (Jack McDuff, Anthony Cox), and more noteworthy styles (Kenny Holman, Bill Carrothers), but when it comes to the sort of ubiquitous presence, technical proficiency, and stalwart excellence that keeps a local scene humming, you can't do any better than Karr. The veteran saxophonist and flutist significantly upgrades the quality of any setting, from theatrical performances to holiday revues to big-band shindigs to the occasional small group ensemble date. Hardly a week goes by that you don't catch Karr's short, stocky frame blowing crisp, incisive lines at the Artist's Quarter or the Dakota, or in the background at a show at the State, Southern, Orpheum, Ordway, Orchestra Hall...you get the idea. His stylistic range and command, together with his acute knowledge of how to enhance the prevailing ambiance (and blend into it), have made him a first-call musician for decades now. It's about time he got his considerable due.