Karen’s musical journey began later in life when she discovered that singing along to jazz icon Ella Fitzgerald helped her deal with the heartbreak of a failing love affair. The romance, alas, ended but her love of performing has been going strong ever since. After developing a serious interest in singing in 2002, Karen has performed regularly at local jazz venues, and has developed a large and dedicated following. Karen performs often for private functions such as weddings, birthday parties, Christmas parties, and corporate events, both in the Ottawa area as well as in the United States. She has produced and performed in concerts at the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival; the National Arts Centre Fourth Stage; the National Gallery of Canada; the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and the Canadian War Museum.
Noted jazz historian Ron Sweetman describes Karen’s singing as having “real feeling and a subtle swing in a deep, rich voice.” Jacques Émond, former artistic director of the Ottawa Jazz Festival and host of Swing is in the Airon CKCU-FM radio had the following comments: “Talented and versatile Karen Oxorn is a very interesting vocalist. She has a warm and swinging straightforward voice skilled with ballads as well as upbeat songs.” Beginning in 2010, Karen has incorporated more personal interpretations of the standards and a distinctive jazz phrasing and scatting in her delivery.
Karen is often accompanied by some of the region’s most talented musicians including pianists Jean-Pierre Allain and Mark Ferguson; guitarist Garry Elliot, and bassists Normand Glaude and Martin Newman to name a few.
Jean-Pierre Allain has established himself since the late seventies as one of Ottawa’s favorite pianists-accompanists-arrangers in many of the region’s best ensembles including the Vernon Isaac Big Band, the Champ Champagne Orchestra, the Ottawa Saxophone Quartet, and smaller groups lead by such notables as Hugh O’Connor, Rene Lavoie and Brian Tansleyn . He has lead his own trios, quartets and quintets during the Franco-Ontarian Festival, theOttawa and Halifax Jazz Festivals, and, for many years, has performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival.
Normand Glaude has been active on the Ottawa music scene for 25 years, working as a double bass and electric bass player. He regularly performs locally, and also accompanies out of town artists. He also has a recording studio where he has produced and/or engineered over 20 recording projects with local artists. Some of his performance credits include Marlene Verplanck, Michelle Grégoire, Martha Brooks, Guido Basso, Jefferey Smith, Bob Newhart and Mimi Fox.