Keith Karns is a trumpet player, composer, and bandleader based in Dallas Texas. Keith is regularly engaged in various jazz and commercial performances throughout Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Kansas City. Keith’s quintet and big band can be heard regularly in Dallas and at venues across the country. An ASCAP and Downbeat award winning composer and arranger, Keith has written music for many top professional and collegiate groups. Some of Keith’s recent collaborations include arrangements for Rich Perry, Greta Matassa, Stefon Harris, and the UNT One O’Clock Lab Band. Keith’s second big band album as a composer and bandleader, An Eye on the Future: Featuring Rich Perry is set to be released in January 2017 on Summit Records.
Keith is an active educator, and has presented clinics and masterclasses at high schools and colleges nationwide. He has a large private studio of college students and young professionals in Dallas Texas. Keith's research on contemporary big bands and their relationship with modern jazz historiography was the subject of a paper presented at the 2016 Jazz Educator's Network Conference in Louisville, KY. His research on the improvisational style of Woody Shaw is the subject of a paper that will be presented at the 2017 JEN Conference in New Orleans, LA. Keith is also the Artistic Coordinator for the Jazz Division of the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. FSAF is the largest, most comprehensive jazz workshop in the state of Alaska.
Keith is a Torpedo Bags performing artists and uses Torpedo Bags to transport and protect all of his trumpets. Keith holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, Indiana University, and the University of North Texas.