After earning degrees in Music Performance from University of California-San Diego and University of Wisconsin-Madison, Karl received his doctorate from University of Texas-Austin. His doctoral dissertation - "At Once Old-Timey and Avant-Garde": The Innovation and Influence of Wilbur Ware - remains the only scholarly work on the great Chicago bassist and was recently cited in Robin D. G. Kelley's Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original.
Through two of his bass teachers - New Music innovator Bertram Turetzky and jazz legend Richard Davis - Karl's lineage as a performer and pedagogue can be traced back through David Walter, Frederick Zimmermann, Hermann Reinshagen, Ludwig Manoly, Franz Simandl and Josef Hrabe to Wenzel Hause (1764-1847) of the Prague Conservatory, founder of the Prague School of double bass playing and teacher of the first-ever double bass class.
While living in San Diego, Karl studied with Carol Kaye, the legendary Los Angeles studio bassist of the 1960s who was a top bebop guitarist in the 1940s and 1950s. The late great Jimmy Cheatham was a beloved mentor - Karl was a featured soloist in his student ensembles at the University of California for several years. Also at UCSD, Karl performed in the improvisation ensemble led by Anthony Davis and worked on an independent study with George Lewis on the history of the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians).
Karl teaches private lessons on both bass and guitar. His students have had great success in local and regional orchestra auditions - as well as performing at a high level in jazz combos and big bands - and have won scholarships to prestigious university music programs. If you are interested in taking lessons in the Chicago area, you can reach him through the contact page.
Karl teaches courses on jazz history and on Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen for the Continuing Education Program of Chicago's Newberry Library. He has lectured on Wagner at the Wagner Society of America and at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
In addition to studying music, Karl earned a degree in literature (English, American and German) from University of California-San Diego, studied literature and art at Loyola University Chicago's Rome Center in Italy and researched Norse religion in Iceland. He recently received an academic scholarship from University of Chicago Divinity School and is now working on an MA in Religion under advisor Bruce Lincoln. His work as a Norse mythologist is featured at The Norse Mythology Blog, which was voted Best Weblog About Religion in the international Weblog Awards 2012-2014 and is the first religion blog to enter the Weblog Awards Hall of Fame. Karl is also a dedicated bodybuilder and a popular writer on boxing for East Side Boxing.
Music & Literature Faculty