Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Kafer, Karolyn

Kafer, Karolyn, woodwind player, alto, tenor, soprano and baritone saxophones, flute, piccolo, oboe, English Horn, clarinet and bassoon; b. New Berlin, WI, 27 January 1969.

She started playing the tenor saxophone in 6th grade at the age of 11.  She picked up the flute, clarinet, and oboe in middle school.  Her two older brothers were musically inclined during secondary school, one on the bass and trombone and the other on the tenor saxophone. Her brothers and her all also played the piano. She took approximately 8 years of lessons.  Her mother was a very good clarinetist throughout secondary school and college.  Her father played drums for a very short amount of time in secondary school.  Her paternal Uncle played the alto saxophone and her paternal Grandfather played and gigged on the C melody saxophone. Karolyn graduated from Eisenhower High.

School in 1987, in which year she also performed in the McDonald's High School All - American Marching Band and Jazz Ensemble.  From there, Karolyn received a scholarship to study jazz at the University of North Texas in Denton, TX where she received a Bachelor in Music Degree in Jazz Studies in August 1991.  She also received a Master of Music Degree in Woodwind performance from the University of North Texas in 1995.  Karolyn has played lead alto saxophone in the internationally acclaimed University of North Texas One O'Clock Lab Band for three consecutive years beginning in 1989. 

Kaarolyn has performed at the Blackstone Hotel's Jazz Showcase in Chicago as well as in San Francisco, the New Orleans IAJE Convention in 1991, and Monterrey, Mexico with the ensemble.  While a member of the One O'Clock Lab Band, Karolyn has performed with such artists as Doc Severinsen, Art Farmer, Joe Williams and Freddie Hubbard.  Karolyn was a member of the Dallas Jazz Orchestra for eight years and has backed up such artists as Van Morrison, Georgie Fame, The Four Freshman, The Temptaions, Tony Campise, Bobby Shew, Marvin Stamm, Gene Lees, Steve Allen, and Mel Torme with the group.  In 1989 she accompanied the Dallas Jazz Orchestra to Montreaux, Switzerland to perform at the Montreaux Jazz Festival there.  In July 1992, Karolyn performed at the World's Expo '92 in Seville, Spain with the Dallas Jazz Orchestra.  Karolyn had freelanced professionally around the Dallas/Ft.Worth area with various other groups such as No Left Turn, The Third Coast Jazz Orchestra, The Joe Lacina Big Band, and The Jack Melick Orchestra. Karolyn has also performed with Rod Stewart and the Moody Blues and Natalie Cole while living in Texas. Karolyn has served as guest artist and clinician at Northwest High School, Texas, in 1991;Lewisville High School, Texas, and Waukesha South High School in Wisconsin in 1992; and R.L. Turner High School in Carollton, Texas and the King's School in Parramatta, N.S.W., Australia in 1993. 

During the 1991-92 academic year at the University of North Texas, Karolyn had served as the director of the Four O'Clock Lab Band as well as Instructor of Applied Saxophone.  Under Karolyn's direction, the Four O'Clock Lab Band travelled to the Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival in South Bend, Indiana, as well as performing at the prestigious jazz club Caravan of Dreams located in Ft.Worth, Texas.  During the 1992-92 academic year at the University of North Texas, Karolyn served as the director of the Three O'Clock Lab Band and as Instructor of Applied Saxophone.  Under her direction, the Three O'Clock Lab Band has performed with Ed Shaughnessy, drummer with the former Tonight Show Orchestra, and Lew Soloff, former trumpet player with Blood, Sweat and Tears.  Karolyn led this band on a national tour as well as participating in the University of Northern Colorado Collegiate Jazz Festival with it.

For the last 10 1/2 years, Karolyn has been a member of the Doc Severinsen Orchestra and has performed with Tony Bennett, Diane Reeves, and the Fifth Dimension with the orchestra, as well as appearing on the "Regis and Kathy Lee Show," and the "Arsenio Hall Show" with Doc.  She was also the Instructor of Applied Woodwinds and Director of the Woodwind Ensemble at Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas from 1993 to 1995.  While living in New York, Karolyn performed at the Blue Note with trumpeter Marvin Stamm, played with the Charlie Persip Big Band and performed as lead alto with "DIVA," backing up such artists as Rosemary Clooney and Hal Linden with the group.  She performed on the SS Norway Jazz Cruise in 1995.  Moving to Los Angeles in 1996, Karolyn freelances with such groups as the Ron Rubin Orchestra, Horace Heidt, Paul Cacia Orchestra, Yari More, The Real Deal, La Palabra, Louie Cruz Beltran as well as continuing her tenure with the Doc Severinsen Orchestra.  Karolyn has also performed at the Playboy Jazz Festival with Celia Cruz and with Ray Charles in Los Angeles.  Karolyn returned to Hawaii in 1997 as guest soloist at the Fourth Annual Hawaiian Jazz Festival, having performed at the First Annual Hawaiian Jazz Festival in 1994 with the Doc Severinsen Orchestra.  

From 1997-2000, Karolyn had assumed the position of Lead Alto Saxophonist, soloist, contractor, and musical director for the Bobby Caldwell Big Band.  Karolyn has performed at Kimball's in Oakland, CA, The Concord Jazz Festival, St. Kitt's Music Festival and at the Blue Note Jazz Clubs in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan with Bobby Cladwell.  Karolyn returned to the Blue Note in Tokyo, Japan during Christmas 1999, as well as New Year's Eve 2000, with the Bobby Caldwell Big Band.  Karolyn performed for 1 1/2 years as lead alto saxophonist with "Swingerhead" led by Michael Andrew, performing weekly at Merv Griffin's Coconut Club at the Beverly Hilton.  Karolyn is an in demand lead alto saxophonist and doubler and performs regularly in the big bands of Tom Hansen, Steve Speigl, Pat Longo, Larry Robison, Lee Secard, and Tim Davies in Los Angeles.  Karolyn performs in many "Broadway" style theatre shows in Los Angeles including performing for the New York production of "Sophisticated Ladies" in Oslo, Norway. She has done various t.v. jingles for Crayola, and MCI.  Recently, Karolyn can be heard on the sountracks for the movies "Lake Boat," "Stir,""Last Call," "Plan B," and "Blonde," as well as the 2001 Season Premiere of the television show "Friends," and on the television show "Bob Patterson."  Karolyn has appeared "live" in the 2001 Season Premiere of "Friends" and in the movie "Master of Disguise."

Bobby Caldwell: Come Rain or Come Shine; Rosetta Mines: Hallelujah Anyhow; Doc Severinsen: Swingin' the Blues; also heard on recordings of Kenny Rankin, Irene Kara, Mary Stewart, Lao Tizer, John Thomas, Dennis LaPron, Lieber and Stoller, Tim Davies, and Michael Andrew

Contact information:
P.O. Box 3544, Hollywood, CA 90078.
E-mail karolynlkafer@hotmail.com

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