Originally from Suffolk, Karen took up the tenor sax whilst studying composition at the Royal Northern College of Music. A friend introduced her to a recording of Dexter Gordon and she was instantly hooked, quickly joining the college jazz band and finding regular work in a busy soul band based in Liverpool. Moving to London in 1999 she became a busy freelance. In 2004 Karen took over from Kathy Stobart in Humphrey Lyttelton's band and stayed for three and a half years, playing tenor and baritone sax to packed houses up and down the country. She won the 2007 British Jazz Awards for both tenor sax player and rising star. “..she’s moved not in a flash in the pan flurry of notes but with well paced assurance to the status of class A player” - Humphrey Lyttleton.