From an article in The Independent News…
Karen Marguth will return to the Bankhead Theater for a single performance with Le Jazz Hot on Friday evening, May 20, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.
Marguth, who grew up in Livermore, has been called “one of the finest American jazz vocalists” by Jazz Times. Her repertoire ranges from classic to contemporary with touches of Latin, Brazilian, and American funk music. Marguth has invited bassist Kevin Hill to join her for this performance. The pair’s recent album, “Just You, Just Me,” is a collection of bass and voice duos that puts their distinctive blues and swing styling on such songs as “I’m Beginning to See the Light,” “I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good),” and “It’s Alright With Me.”
Marguth was raised in Livermore and attended Joe Michell Elementary, Mendenhall Middle School, Granada High School, and California State University East Bay. Growing up, Marguth found Livermore to be a rich environment for learning about music; she experimented with percussion instruments and was learning to read rhythmic notation in second grade. Given the opportunity in fourth grade to choose an instrument to learn, she selected the flute and played in band throughout middle school, before switching to choir in high school. According to Marguth, choir director Jim Brockman was a wonderful leader, his high expectations and challenging music choices pushed his students to excel.
At home, Marguth was exposed to all kinds of music and remembers being particularly taken by Ella Fitzgerald’s sound and style from an early age. Although that introduction prompted a lifelong interest in jazz vocals, the opportunity to learn how to improvise was not available to her as a young vocalist. As Marguth says, “A jazz choir would have been the place to learn that, and it’s rare that there are jazz choirs at high schools or even at colleges. It’s unfortunate, because the voice is an instrument too. Most jazz camps and summer programs also ignore the voice-as-instrument, so vocalists who could become great jazz singers don’t have many opportunities to develop their jazz chops.” Her own focus on singing jazz came later when she had the opportunity to stand in as vocalist for the Blue Street Jazz Band around 2000. In learning their repertoire, she began working specifically on developing her jazz vocal style.
A performer and entertainer throughout her life, Marguth’s professional background includes choreographing, directing and performing in regional theatres and touring shows, in addition to singing in rock, blues, folk, and jazz bands. She has also done voice-overs, studio work, and taught dance and theatre for grades 4 through 12. Marguth moved back to Livermore last summer, making it her home base while she continues to perform at festivals and venues across the country.
One of the final performances in the current LVPAC Presents season, Karen Marguth will be followed by Smuin Ballet on Sunday, May 22nd, Rudy Colombini and the Unauthorized Rolling Stones on Saturday, June 11th, and on Monday evening, June 13th, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band returns for their fourth visit to the Bankhead Theater.
The Bankhead Theater is located at 2400 First Street in downtown Livermore. Tickets to all shows may be purchased at the box office, online at www.bankheadtheater.org, by calling 373-6800 or via the LVPAC mobile app.