Musician Jonathan Karrant: ‘My soul is drawn to jazz’

Jazz vocalist Jonathan Karrant, a former San Diego resident who still performs in town every few months, said of the music genre: “My soul is drawn to jazz. I found it, I loved it, and I explored it. When jazz is playing, my ears perk up.”

Karrant will perform on Friday in a show titled “Not Your Typical Standards,” which is part of the Fourth Friday Jazz Series at the La Jolla Community Center. The musician, who now lives in Las Vegas, recently spoke with PACIFIC about performing in San Diego and his start in jazz.

What’s your connection to San Diego?

I lived in San Diego for about seven years, from 2007 to 2014. When I moved there from Las Vegas, I got into the jazz and music scene, which is really supportive and strong. I had a residency at Westgate, and I also performed at Martinis Above Fourth and Anthology (now the Music Box). I perform every few months in San Diego.

What can audience members expect in your performance Friday night at La Jolla Community Center?

Joshua White will be on piano. He is one of the top pianists in San Diego. He is super creative and thinks outside the box. He was born and raised in San Diego, and I love working with him. The bass player is Justin Grinnell, also from San Diego and a big talent. The night’s theme is, “Not Your Typical Standards.” I’m performing obscure songs that haven’t been overdone, as well as more-familiar pop and R&B songs but with a jazz-y twist.

“Not Your Typical Standards” by Jonathan Karrant, Joshua White and Justin Grinnell

When: 8 p.m. Firday

Where: La Jolla Community Center, 6811 La Jolla Blvd., La Jolla.

Cost: $18-$25.

Information: 858.459.0831 or

Where has your tour taken you this year?

I’ve performed in Las Vegas, where I’m based; Southern California - Palm Springs, Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange County; and Missouri and Arkansas, my home state. This fall I’m performing in New York, Philadelphia, Boston and New Jersey.

How did you get your start in performing jazz?

My grandparents were an influence in that I found their music, like Irving Berlin and Cole Porter. I was really drawn to it; they didn’t push it on me. I found it, I loved it, and I explored it. When jazz is playing, my ears perk up. It’s pleasing to me. My soul is drawn to jazz.

Jazz doesn’t typically draw or boast a younger following. Why should younger people listen to jazz?

It is timeless, and it will always be around. It isn’t pop music by definition - it isn’t mainstream - and it maybe takes a more mature ear to appreciate it. I have loved it all my life. The lyrics tell a story, and the music has emotion.

You’re a young jazz vocalist - do you consider yourself an old soul?

Yes, I do. People tell me that all the time, too.

Who are your music inspirations?

I’ve had so many - Mel Torme, Nancy Wilson, Johnny Hartman, Little Jimmy Scott, of course Frank Sinatra, Carmen McCrae, Ella Fitzgerald, all the greats. They’ve been instrumental in helping me find my voice.

What is on your to-do list when you’re in San Diego?

Visit my friends and old stomping grounds, restaurants and bars and just enjoy the beauty of San Diego. My friend owns Athens Market Taverna, and I’m Greek, so I have my favorite things on that menu. Also, Il Postino in North Park, C Level and coffee and dessert at Bread and Cie.