Karen Mantler Biography, Age, Career, Nationality, Husband, Net Worth, Father & Facts About Carla Bley’s Daughter

Karen Mantler is an American jazz pianist, singer, and composer who is the daughter of the late Carla Bley, a renowned jazz composer, pianist, and bandleader, and Michael Mantler, an Austrian avant-garde jazz trumpeter and composer.

She has recorded several albums of her own music, as well as collaborated with many other musicians, including Robert Wyatt, Peter Blegvad, John Greaves, and Tony Scherr. She is also known for her humorous and quirky songs about her cat Arnold and other aspects of her life.


Karen Mantler’s musical debut consisted of contributing vocals on Carla Bley’s album Escalator Over the Hill (1971) at the age of four, followed by appearing on Bley’s Tropic Appetites (1974). She then continued performing and recording on glockenspiel, organ, and chromatic harmonica in many of Carla Bley’s ensembles and projects from 1977 on to the present. With practice, she became skilled in this and also started learning some more musical instruments.

Karen Mantler career

As well as creating the WATTxtraWATT website, she has been the designer of every WATT and XtraWATT CD cover and booklet since 2003. She received the talent of singing and music from her father and mother as they both were renowned musicians.

At the same time, she has been working with her trio featuring bassist Kato Hideki and multi-instrumentalist Doug Wieselman. Her fifth recording as a leader, entitled Business Is Bad, was released in June 2014 (XtraWATT/14).


Karen has received critical acclaim for her music, which combines elements of jazz, pop, rock, classical, and cabaret. She has been praised for her witty and original lyrics, her expressive and versatile voice, her inventive and playful arrangements, and her mastery of various instruments. Karen Mantler has also been recognized for her contributions to the works of other artists, such as Robert Wyatt, Peter Blegvad, John Greaves, and Carla Bley. 

Karen Mantler achievements

She has performed at many prestigious festivals and venues around the world, such as the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Berlin Jazz Festival, the London Jazz Festival, the Knitting Factory, the Village Vanguard, and Carnegie Hall. She has also received several awards and honors for her music, such as the ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor Award for Outstanding Print Media Coverage of Music in 1996 for her liner notes to Farewell.


NameKaren Mantler
Net worthUSD 1 Million
ProfessionMusician, Composer & Singer
Birthday25 April 1966
Age57 years old
BirthplaceNew York, New York, United States
FatherMichael Mantler
MotherCarla Bley
EducationGraduated in Music
College/ SchoolBerklee College of Music
BoyfriendWade Baker
Relationship StatusCommitted
Astrological SignTaurus

Net Worth

Karen Mantler’s net worth is estimated to be around $1 million as of 2023. She has earned most of her income from her music career as a composer, performer, and producer. She also makes money from royalties from her recordings and compositions, as well as from designing CD covers and booklets for WATTxtraWATT. She lives in a modest apartment in New York City with her cat Arnold.


Her father is Michael Mantler, an Austrian avant-garde jazz trumpeter and composer who was born on August 10, 1943, in Vienna. He is known for his experimental and innovative music that incorporates elements of contemporary classical music, free jazz, rock, spoken word, and electronic music. He has composed many works for various ensembles and orchestras, such as The Jazz Composer’s Orchestra (1968), No Answer (1974), Silence (1976), The Hapless Child (1976), Many Have No Speech (1987), Cerco Un Paese Innocente (1995), and Comment C’est (2017).

Karen Mantler with her father
Karen Mantler with her father Michael Mantler

He has also collaborated with many prominent musicians and writers, such as Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, Roswell Rudd, Pharoah Sanders, Larry Coryell, Gato Barbieri, Jack Bruce, Marianne Faithfull, Robert Wyatt, Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Edward Gorey, Ernst Meister, Philippe Soupault, Paul Auster, and David Kilburn. He was married to Carla Bley from 1965 to 1991, and they had one daughter, Karen Mantler. He is currently married to Himiko Mantler, a Japanese pianist and composer.

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Karen’s mother is Carla Bley, an American jazz composer, pianist, organist, and bandleader who was born on May 11, 1936, in Oakland, California. She was a significant figure in the free jazz movement of the 1960s, renowned for her jazz opera Escalator over the Hill (1971), which was released as a triple LP set. She also authored a book of compositions that have been widely performed by notable artists such as Gary Burton, Jimmy Giuffre, George Russell, Art Farmer, John Scofield, and her ex-husband Paul Bley.

Karen Mantler mother
Karen Mantler’s mother Carla Bley

She was a pioneer in the development of independent artist-owned record labels, such as JCOA, WATTxtraWATT, and ECM. She arranged and composed music for bassist Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra, and wrote A Genuine Tong Funeral for vibraphonist Gary Burton. She collaborated with a number of other artists, including Jack Bruce, Robert Wyatt, and Nick Mason, drummer for the rock group Pink Floyd.

Mason’s solo debut album Nick Mason’s Fictitious Sports was entirely written by Bley and features, alongside Mason on drums, many of her regular band musicians. She was married to Paul Bley from 1957 to 1964, and to Michael Mantler from 1965 to 1991. They had one daughter, Karen Mantler.

What is Carla Bley’s Death Cause?

Carla Bley, one of the most influential and creative figures in jazz history, passed away on 17 October 2023 (Tuesday) at her home in upstate New York. She was 87 years old and had been battling brain cancer since 2018. Her death was confirmed by her husband and musical partner, Steve Swallow, a renowned bassist.

Bley was known for her imaginative and playful approach to music, blending humor and emotion with sophistication and experimentation. She created some of the most beloved compositions in the jazz canon, such as Lawns, Ida Lupino, Jesus Maria, and Escalator Over the Hill.

Age and Childhood

Karen Mantler was born on April 25, 1966, in New York, New York, making her 57 years old as of 2023. Born into a family steeped in music, her destiny was inextricably intertwined with the world of jazz from the very beginning.

Her mother, Carla Bley, is a celebrated figure in the jazz scene, known for her avant-garde compositions and remarkable career. Growing up, Karen was immersed in an environment where music was a way of life, a daily experience, and a means of artistic expression.

School and College

She embarked on her own musical journey and honed her skills at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. Berklee is known for its rigorous programs and renowned faculty, making it a fitting institution for someone with aspirations of a musical career.

At Berklee, Karen Mantler had the opportunity to receive formal training and expand her horizons as a musician. She was able to build a strong foundation in music theory, composition, and performance, further nurturing her passion for the art.

Social Media Accounts

Wikipedia @Karen_Mantler

Instagram @karenmantler

Facebook @karen.mantler

Twitter – NA

Personal Life

In matters of the heart, Karen Mantler has shared her life with Wade Baker since February 14, 2014. Their relationship has been a source of love and support for Karen, providing her with a stable foundation on which to build her career. While her mother’s legacy is immense, Karen has carved her own path, and her relationship with Wade Baker is a significant part of her personal journey.

Karen Mantler with her boyfriend
Karen Mantler with her boyfriend Wade Baker


  • Karen Mantler plays the piano, organ, chromatic harmonica, glockenspiel, and sings.
  • Her cat Arnold is a black-and-white tuxedo cat who has been featured on several of her album covers and songs.
  • Karen has a website where she sells her CDs and other merchandise.
  • This amazing singer has a Facebook page where she posts updates about her music and life.
  • Carla Bley’s daughter has a YouTube channel where she uploads videos of her performances and interviews.


  1. What is Karen Mantler’s net worth?

    US $1 million as of 2023.

  2. Who are Karen Mantler’s parents?

    Mantler’s parents are Carla Bley and Michael Mantler, both famous jazz musicians and composers.

  3. What are some of Karen Mantler’s best albums?

    Some of Karen’s best albums are My Cat Arnold (1989), Farewell (1996), Pet Project (2000), and more.

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