Upcoming release on Origin Records: Ben Boone’s “The Poetry of Jazz”

Karen is among a stellar cadre of special guests on “The Poetry of Jazz,” a collaboration between saxophonist Benjamin Boone and the late Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Philip Levine, due March 16 from Origin Records.

Along with Karen, other guests on this album include Chris Potter, Tom Harrell, Greg Osby, and Branford Marsalis.

Long fascinated by the inherent musicality of the spoken word, saxophonist/composer Benjamin Boone crossed paths with the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Philip Levine as fellow professors at California State University, Fresno, and they ended up working closely together in the three years before Levine’s death in 2015. Boone and Levine’s “The Poetry of Jazz,” which features performances by several special guests, captures a genre-expanding partnership unlike anything else in the jazz canon.

Boone is heralded as a performer and composer in both jazz and new music circles. His compositions have been heard in 29 countries and on more than 25 albums and have been the subject of multiple national broadcasts on NPR. He conducted musical research in the former Soviet Republic of Moldova as a Fulbright Senior Specialist Fellow and is currently spending a year in Ghana performing and composing with African musicians as a Fulbright Scholar.

The video trailer, below, includes excerpts from the album:

Learn more about Ben Boone, and this project, at Ben’s website.


DownBeat Jazz Journalist Lists Karen’s Album in his ‘Best of 2016’’s George Harris has compiled the ‘Best of 2016’ lists of several jazz journalists, and Karen’s album “Just You, Just Me” appears on the list of DownBeat’s John McDonough.

Here is McDonough’s complete list:

Count Basie-Lester Young: 1936-47 (Mosaic)
Bill Charlap trio: Notes from New York (Impulse!)
Miles Davis: Freedom Dance (Columbia) [for the session rehearsals]
Sonny Rollins: Holding the stage
Fred Hersch: Sarabande (Sunnyside)
Ella Fitzgerald: JATP sessions (Verve)
Accordi Disccordi Trio: Bouncing Vibes [Hot Club of France stylings]
Kenny Barron: Book of Intuition (Impulse!)
Benny Golson: Horizon Ahead (High Note)
Dick Hyman: House of Pianos (Arbors)
Mary Halvorson: Away with You (Firehouse)
Chuck Israels Orch: Garden of Delights (Dot Time)
Nathan Zaporski: Live Recitation (ZGR)
Karen Marguth: Just You Just Me (Wayfare)
Jane Monheit: Ella Songbook Sessions (Emerald City)
Marlene Verplanck: The Mood I’m In (Audiophile)
Houston Person-Ron Carter: Chemistry (High Note)
Scott Hamilton-Jeff Hamilton: Live in Bern (Capri)

For a peek at all the lists, visit Jazz Weekly


A Tasteful Arrangement by Matt Finders

Since moving to the Bay Area, Karen has had the opportunity to work with educator, composer, and arranger Matt Finders. Recently he invited her to sing on this recording of his arrangement of the Charlie Chaplin tune, “Smile,” in Berkeley’s Fantasy Studio.

Featured are Matt Finders on bass, Danny Janklow on sax, Matt Clark on piano, and Kelly Fasman on drums.

Matt Finders spent 17 years as a member of the Tonight Show with Jay Leno Band (on trombone). During that period, Matt started his Jazz Labb programs to keep his students playing during the summer. On the Tonight Show, Matt wrote over 400 arrangements for the band and continues to write for the Jazz Labb groups and school bands which he leads. Besides local instruction, Matt works as a guest clinician/adjudicator.

Highlights of his career include:

Benny Goodman Big Band, 1985-86
Bob Mintzer Big Band, 1987-1992
Mel Lewis Big Band, 1983-1989
Toshiko Akiyoshi Big Band, 1983-1992
Buck Clayton Big Band, 1988-1992
Natalie Cole, 1991
Harry Connick Jr. 1990
Marian and Jimmy McPartland, 1989-90
Clark Terry Big Bad Band, 1981
Blood, Sweat and Tears, 1987
The Tonight Show With Jay Leno Band, 1992-2009
Bill Holman Big Band, 2007-2010
Woody Herman Big Band, 2008-2010
Count Basie Orchestra, 2008
Jack Sheldon Big Band, 2003-2008
Bill Cunliffe Sextet, 2000-2010
Michael Bublé, 2000
Pancho Sanchez, 1996

Broadway: Cats, My One And Only, The Tap Dance Kid, Starlight Express, Secret Garden, Rags, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Anything Goes, 42nd Street, Grand Hotel

Matt Finders

Matt Finders


Bay Area Jazz and Arts (BAJA) – The Sound Room

Karen will perform on February 25, 2017, at The Sound Room, in Oakland, California. Joining her will be Matt Finders on bass, David Aus on piano, Brian Hamada on drums, and Guido Fazio on reeds. The evening’s setlists will include tunes from Karen’s upcoming release, including originals and new arrangements not yet performed for a live audience.

Oakland's Home of Bay Area Jazz and Arts (BAJA), The Sound Room

Oakland’s Home of Bay Area Jazz and Arts (BAJA), The Sound Room

This Oakland spot is home to Bay Area Jazz and Arts (BAJA), a nonprofit dedicated to fostering music through educational programs and intimate performances. The Sound Room is all about the music, where audiences can get up close and personal with musicians in their Friday and Saturday shows and enjoy the affordable pricing, drinks, art and snacks at this cozy jazz destination.

Truly a listening room, where all ages are welcomed, BAJA and The Sound Room exist to present great music and promote jazz as an art form. They sponsor many jazz programs for kids and highlight young talent with a free concert on most 1st Fridays.

Tickets are available at Tickets

The Sound Room is located at 2147 Broadway (at 22nd), Oakland; 415-994-3501

The Sound Room is located at 2147 Broadway (at 22nd), Oakland; 415-994-3501


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

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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, by calling 373-6800 or via the LVPAC mobile app.