Born in Melbourne Australia 14 October 1939 of Greek parents (Chrisostomos Karanikis) better known as Chris Karan. He became a professional musician at the age of 16 and worked in local clubs in Melbourne, including Australia's most famous jazz club "The Embers". It was there where he recorded his very first album. Later he moved to Sydney and joined a well-known jazz trio called "The 3 out" with Mike Nock on piano. The trio became well known on TV and performed at many Jazz concerts. They were also involved with the first International Jazz Festival held in Sydney in 1960 when they accompanied Coleman Hawkins, Teddy Wilson, Gene McDaniels, Dakota Staton and others.
He joined the Dudley Moore Trio in 1962 shortly after arriving in England in June '61 where they appeared at the famous Establishment Club in Greek Street, Soho, run by Peter Cook. Apart from recording many albums and concert work, including touring Australia twice, The Dudley Moore Trio also featured in all the "Not Only But Also" series for BBC TV. The trio was invited to guest on many other popular TV shows. They were filmed in concert in Australia which was networked throughout the UK on LWT.
Alongside his jazz work he quickly became established in session work and played with such great names as Michel Legrand, Lalo Schifrin, Charles Aznavour, Stanley Myers, Basil Kirchin, Tony Hatch, Jackie Trent, Ray Ellington, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Gerry Goldsmith, Jerry Fielding, Pat Williams, Andre Previn with the L.S.O., Richard Rodney-Bennett, Barry Tuckwell, Carl Davis, Henry Mancini, The Beatles and Roy Budd. He became part of the Roy Budd Trio appearing frequently on T.V, radio, albums and all Roy's film scores.
Apart from session work he was and still is involved in ethnic, Latin and Brazilian music. He studied Indian tabla with the legendary tabla player Alla Rakha. His tabla playing has been added to many famous film scores such as Roy Budd's Get Carter.
He has also worked with many well known artists such as Stephane Grapelli, Yehudi Menuhin, flamenco guitarist Juan Martin, John Williams, Oscar Peterson, George Shearing, Barney Kessel, Pepper Adams, Bud Powell, Bobby Shew, Bill Perkins, Al Cohn, Ronnie Scott, Tubby Hayes, Dick Morrissey, Jim Mullen, Victor Feldman, Lambert Hendricks and Ross, Nancy Wilson, Sarah Vaughan, Billy Eckstine, Mark Murphy, Dizzy Gillespie, Phil Woods, Marion Montgomery, Blossom Dearie and Oscar Brown Jnr. He toured with John Dankworth and Cleo Laine, The Bee Gees, Caterina Valente, Dusty Springfield, Lulu, The Swingle Singers and of course Dudley Moore.
He was a member of the Harry Stoneham group who did the Michael Parkinson shows on BBC TV accompanying many great artists. He was also invited to join Laurie Holloway's group on stage at the Piccadilly Theatre to accompany Elaine Page in the West End hit "Piaf".
He is part of the quartet, Spectrum, whose repertoire reflects the name, covering most areas of music including classical and Brazilian.
He has performed at the Royal Opera House with the Harlem Dancers for John Keilehor's Troy Games which was a percussion spectacular.
He started his own company Karan Percussion making Latin drums and specialized percussion instruments, selling and hiring out to musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Victor Feldman and Don Alias during their engagements at Ronnie Scott's Club.
He has led his own groups "Sugar Loaf", a Brazilian band, and his current jazz group "Blue Note Revisited" (which appeared at "Ronnies" club) playing opposite "the Kenny Burrell Trio". Both have recorded for the BBC.
In 1992 he did a successful tour with Dudley Moore and the BBC Concert Orchestra. This was recorded during the final three nights at the Royal Albert Hall and has been released on CD, "Dudley Moore, Live from an Aircraft Hangar." His very last engagement for Dudley was held in New York in April 2001 at Carnegie Hall, where they celebrated Dudley's birthday and his life and times in show business. The proceeds from the trio's CD's and DVD have been donated to the Research Foundation for PSP Progressive Supranuclear Palsy.
Martine Avenue Productions, Inc.,
Available CD's/DVD's MAPI.
Dudley Moore. "Live From An Aircraft Hanger" MAPI - 8486
The Dudley Moore Trio. “Jazz Jubilee” MAPI-1521.
The Dudley Moore Trio. “Jazz, Blues & Moore” MAPI- 3698.
The Dudley Moore Trio. “Dudley” MAPI-8220
''Dudley Down Under'' unabridged double CD. Live at Sydney town hall May 2nd 1978.MAPI -3206
The Dudley Moore Trio. Jazz in "Oz" DVD. 1971. MAPI - 2655 Martine Avenue Productions, Inc. Bonus CD Included.
The Dudley Moore Trio. "TODAY" Recorded in Oz 1971. Cherry Red Records. ACMEM332CD
In September 2001, Chris was invited as a guest percussionist, by composer Mike Batt to launch his new group, The Planets, at the Royal Festival Hall.
He is currently playing, recording and touring with Juan Martin. Over many years now he has contributed ethnic percussion to Juan's development of the Moorish aspect of flamenco music and recently completed a successful tour of the UK at the Barbican.
Recently, a new group has been formed called “Quinteto Fabuloso”. This line up explores more of a “jazz-latin/flamenco” concept. Later on this year, the group will be touring the UK once again, finishing in Ireland at the Cork International Jazz Festival.
This November the latest line up of J.M -2011 'Flamenco Dance Ensemble' were invited to do a 12 concert tour of Canada opening in Vancouver. It was very well received.
The very latest group is called ''Musica Alhambra 2'' which incorporates a more Middle Eastern concept.
Chris Karan ©2023