News

May 20th Show at the Bankhead Theatre, with Le Jazz Hot

Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 12.13.47 PM

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.

 

New album featured in Dan Singer’s column

In the March 2016 issue of the UK’s magazine, In Tune International, New Yorker Dan Singer features Karen’s new album in his column, “Singer’s Singers.” Dan writes:

“Here’s a fine jazz duo (bass & voice) that really cooks on eleven songs. Their abilities are truly uncanny, and they pull you into their glorious musical world. The entire program is just a masterful delight.

‘Just You, Just Me’ (Greer/Klagens) whisks by so fast that unhappily it is over all too soon. Karen has some scat interwoven in the brief, delicious vocal, and I just had to keep toe-tapping throughout this one.

Karen’s take on the blues song ‘I’m Beginning to See the Light’ (George/Hodges/James) is sung so lyrically and abundantly-silky-like. Her matchless blues singing is continued on ‘I Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good (Webster), a wonderful emotional example of a one-of-a-kind treatment of the blues.

‘Imagination’ (VanHeusen/Burke) for a change here is sung in a wonderful upbeat take. The song works very well for this pair as a bass/vocal duo. ‘It’s Alright with Me’ (Porter) is another of their fine duo arrangements on which they really swing. This one works extremely well.

‘Baby, What’s Your Alibi’ is a neglected Nellie Lutcher obscurity. Nellie really left us with some delightful goodies as this swinging song shows.

Bear in mind that the spotlight throughout this CD is also on her remarkable bass player, Kevin Hill. He is a consistently marvelous participant.’

 

The Art of Independence: A Riffs, Beats, & Codas interview with jazz vocalist Karen Marguth

In December of 2015, Karen was interviewed by Vincent Stephens, Ph.D., for his essay blog on the site Riffs, Beats, & Codas.

You can read the full interview, as well as other writings by the prolific Dr. Stephens, by clicking this link: The Art of Independence

Here are just a few of his other recent essay blog topics and book reviews:
The music you heard growing up: Some notes on “neo-classic” singers
100-ish Most Influential Female Vocalists in 20th Century Popular Music
Now and Forever: Celebrating a century of Billie Holiday
Learning to Listen Excerpt 11: Roy Hamilton: Star, pioneer, and misfit
Learning to Listen Excerpt 10: Grit and grace: Etta James’s post-war blues
Learning to Listen Excerpt 1: Julia Fordham and Marti Jones
Mr. B: The Music & Life of Billy Eckstine by Cary Ginell
Jazz Child by Ellen Johnson

 

Karen Listed Among Bay Area’s Best Jazz Artists

The Bay Area News Group, which includes the Oakland Tribune, the San Jose Mercury News, and The Times, recently published an article entitled “Bay Area jazz hit right notes in 2015,” in which correspondent Andrew Gilbert describes some of his favorite albums of the year.

Within the article, he writes this:
“Livermore vocalist Karen Marguth offers a minimalist vision on ‘Just You, Just Me.’ Clocking in at just 37 minutes (which was a respectable running time in the LP era), she performs a thrilling high-wire act backed only by bassist Kevin Hill. Focusing on vintage standards like ‘You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To’ and ‘Imagination’ and some wonderful oddball selections like Phoebe Snow’s ‘Harpo’s Blues’ and Nellie Lutcher’s ‘Baby What’s Your Alibi,’ Marguth navigates the songs with style and derring-do.”

Gilbert review1

 

KQED’s Andrew Gilbert Lists Karen’s Album Among Best of 2015

Just this week, on KQED’s “Art Nerd Holiday Guide,” jazz scribe Andrew Gilbert listed his favorite Bay Area jazz albums of the year. Check it out here: Best of Bay Area Jazz 2015

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 2.24.43 PM

Andrew Gilbert, a Los Angeles native based in the Berkeley area since 1996, covers jazz, roots and international music for KQED’s California Report, the San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, Berkeleyside.com, and other publications. You can follow him on twitter at @jazzscribe