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Karl E. H. Seigfried


Karl E. H. Seigfried is a critically-acclaimed bassist and guitarist deeply involved in Chicago music scene. He has performed and recorded in virtually all musical styles - jazz and classical, country and rock, traditional and avant-garde.

As a bandleader and composer, Karl has led groups featuring Ernest Dawkins, Jimmy Ellis, Nicole Mitchell and Jeff Parker. His recordings as a leader feature the best of Chicago's Young Lions, including Frank Rosaly and Greg Ward.

Karl has performed duets with Bobby McFerrin, Fred Hopkins, Peter Kowald and Nik Turner and played in ensembles fronted by Roscoe Mitchell, Fred Anderson, Henry Grimes, George Lewis and Bertram Turetzky

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A prolific, genre-defying Chicago musician working in and beyond the jazz, rock and classical idioms.
Chicago Weekly

Seigfried has formed collaborations that celebrate diversity and high-level musicianship.
Jazz Institute of Chicago Jazzgram

Seigfried’s got a clear, ringing tone and executes ideas exuberantly.
Madison Isthmus

Jazz fans will recognize Dr. Karl E. H. Seigfried from his tenure on acoustic double bass but will be entertained to see his wizardry on electric guitar.
Centerstage Chicago

Some of the innovative jazz musicians who have come to public attention since the early 1990s are David Boykin, Karl E

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Primary Instrument



Evanston, IL

Willing to teach



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 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 at his website.

In addition to studying music, Karl earned a degree in literature (English, American and German) from University of California-San Diego and studied literature and art at Loyola University Chicago's Rome Center in Italy. His work as a Norse mythologist is featured at The Norse Mythology Blog.


Carthage College
Bass & Guitar Faculty

Loyola University Chicago - Continuum
Music & History Faculty

Newberry Library Seminars Program
Literature Faculty

Clinic/Workshop Information

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2 Photos


Karl 2000
Karl 2000
Self Produced
Karl E. H. Seigfried: Portrait Of Jack Johnson
Karl E. H. Seigfried:...

[no cover]
Portrait Of Jack...
Unit Records
Blue Rhizome
Blue Rhizome
Imaginary Chicago Records
[no cover]
Criminal Mastermind
Unit Records



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