Karen Benjey was born in Toledo Ohio, hometown of jazz legend, Art Tatum. Introduced at an early age to stride piano by her mother, Karen says, “I knew from age three that I would become a singer. My mother’s playing at home was a very strong influence on me. She worked in local clubs and rehearsed at home with her own band for years. During this period, there was music all around me. I was also very influenced by my own era of pop music, the black soul and R & B artists of nearby Detroit.”
Like others pre-destined by their natural talents and instincts, Karen followed her own heart-felt path to assert her individual vocal style. She gravitated toward the deep south, away from the Motown influences of her home town and closer to the birthplace of jazz. Asked to tour Europe and Japan on a long term basis, Karen returned to the south ten years later with a highly polished vocal presence and a style all her own. Once back, she met pianist Kenny Drew Jr., who quickly became a friend and mentor. Together they recorded her first album, Paper Moon, a fresh effort that exposed her unique vocal quality and depth of appreciation of the art of jazz.
All of You came to be when Terry Plumeri met Karen through mutual friends. He arranged for his trio of pianist David Goldblatt, drummer Joe La Barbera and himself on bass, to record a selection of classics which were suited to highlight Karen’s style. When trumpeter Randy Brecker was able to join the group for the recording, the project became a magical synthesis of some of jazz’s finest talents.