KARL RASHEED-ABEL
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Photography by Barbara Bartz

 

At 10 years old Karl started playing Trombone and joined a Saturday music school called Center for Young Musicians (CYM) where he received classical training (reading, writing and basic musical theory).

After several years of studying at CYM and various School Bands, Karl joined the London Schools Symphony Orchestra and went on tour with them to Japan and France and had the great experience of performing a number of concerts at the Barbican as well as a highly professional experience of recording a classical album.

Karl first started playing electric bass at 15 after hearing and being inspired by the bass player in the CYM Big Band. After several years of primarily self-taught studying on Electric Bass at 19, Mike Janisch recommended he get a double bass to explore the sound, feel and also have a deeper understand of the history of the instrument and it’s role within the jazz idiom.

Within the same year (2006) Karl was granted a scholarship to Berklee College of Music.
While studying at Berklee Karl had to opportunity to perform with several world renowned jazz artist, such as Joe Lovano and George Garzone, while there he also took thorough courses in arranging for large ensembles, advance jazz harmony and ear training.
After a year of intense study at Berklee Karl returned back to the UK and started professionally performing and recording in London and around the world.

Within these 6 years of returning to the UK Karl has performed with and will continue working with an eclectic variety of artist and genres such as Pop (Laura Mvula, Ms Dynamite, Omar, Speech Debelle, Bashy) Jazz (Jean Toussiant, Soweto Kinch, Femi Temowo, Troy Miller, Abram Wilson, Courtney Pine, Jason Rebello, Shabaka Hutchings) Funk (Ronnie Laws, Tom Browne) Hip-Hop (The I.R.S, MC Confucius, KWAKE) Folk (Kinzli & The Kilowatts) Avant-Garde (Marshall Allen of the Sun Ra Arkestra, Jerry Dammers) World (Hamid El Kasri, Dele Sosimi, Arun Ghosh, Jally Keba Soussa).

Playing a supporting role for all these great artists has provided Karl with a wealth of skills such as showmanship, stage presentations and most importantly, keeping a level of personal musical integrity while still being a able to communicate to a wide audience.

At a certain point he had a poignant realisation if he wanted to truly express himself, explore and create different avenues of improvised music, he would need to do so personally through his own music and with musicians who had the same ethos and approach to the art form.