Singer Karla Crump has so lofty a reputation that she can pick and choose her gigs. It helps that she has a good day job -- director of the Victim-Witness Protection Program for the Hampton Commonwealth's Attorney's office.
She's comfortable enough to take only the best offers.
One of them arrived earlier this year with the opportunity to open for Jill Scott, David Sanborn and others at the Sunday, June 30, edition of the Hampton Jazz Festival. Crump turned 50 back in April and she considers the plum assignment something of a birthday present.
"The opportunity came at a great time," she said this week. "I guess you can call this my coming out again." While Crump has opened for some big-name acts previously, including Gladys Knight at Chrysler Hall, this will be her first time performing at the Hampton Jazz Festival.
"I'm very honored and excited about the opportunity," she said. "I'm really looking forward to it."
Performing on the same bill with Jill Scott is particularly exciting for Crump, who has covered Scott's songs over the years. "That can't happen this time, obviously," she said, laughing. "But I enjoy her music tremendously."
Crump, who's off-stage name is Karla Crump Reaves, has been working in the Commonwealth's Attorney's office since 1985. She's starting to think about making a change and possibly ramping up a career in music. She said she'll focus on music more in the months and years ahead. Until recently, she hasn't done much recording.
"The timing just hasn’t been right for that," she said. "I plan to change that this year. Hopefully, by end of the year, I'll have some original work lined up and ready to put out, maybe by the beginning of 2014. That’s the plan."
On stage Sunday, Crump will play to her strengths. "My favorite people are, and have always been, Natalie Cole and the late Phyllis Hyman. I’m still from that old school as far as music is concerned. I'm going to do the best show we can in the amount of time that we have ... I still feel good about the music and what I’m able to do. My voice has matured. I feel good about it. I don’t think I’ve lost anything. I hope I’ve gotten better."
Performing with Crump will be a group of veteran players from across the region.
Here's the roster for Karla Crump & Friends:
Greg “Termite” Rich, keyboards
Donnell Smith, bass and musical director
J.P. Lilliston, drums
Carlton Savage, guitar
Darren Everett, percussion
Ray Akers, keyboard
Courtney Beard, vocal director
Deidre McAuleyCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun