Primary Instrument: Vocalist
In the summer of 1994 in Washington D.C., jazz vocalist Karen Francis was discovered by world renown jazz master (pianist, composer, record label executive, producer, and professor) Stanley Cowell.
Cowell, one of jazz music's most talented architects who, with Charles Tolliver in 1971, established and launched Strata-East Records, was hosting a party in his home one evening when he had occasion to be introduced to Francis by one of his students - William Knowles. A significant turn of events during the course of the evening revealed that Karen was a singer and Cowell invited her to sit in with him at an impromptu jam session....
The relaxed, conversational intimacy of her style is delivered with innate confidence. She confronts the challenge of slow ballad standards with tact and rare taste. Francis hints at limitless potential; the intimate timbre of her voice is matched by a sophisticated, low-key approach that indicates she understands the drama of restraint.- Cadence Magazine ...many of these singers are well worth seeking out, either in person, on record: Tony Bennett, Carmen Bradford, Jay Clayton, Ethel Ennis, Karen Francis, Aretha Franklin, Astrud Gilberto... - Singing Jazz: The Singers and their Styles Often compared to Nancy Wilson and Dinah Washington, her tonal quality is more reminiscent of Sarah Vaughan - with the relaxed quality of a diva. - Pure Jazz Magazine