Essayist and scholar, Vincent L. Stephens, has listed Karen’s new album among his 2015 Raves & Faves on his blog Riffs, Beats & Codas.

Under his category, Less-is-More Awards, he includes two albums from this year: Tony Bennett’s The Silver Lining and Karen’s album Just You, Just Me.

He writes:

On Just You Just Me vocalist Karen Marguth and bassist Kevin Hill build from the promise of previous efforts and tackle classics like “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To,” “I Got it Bad,” and “Imagination,” perfectly capturing their melodic and rhythmic contours and emotional essence in the sparsest of settings. She makes her greatest impact on her scat-laden rendition of the title track, a surprisingly blues-y and quite humorous rapid fire “Blues My Naughty Sweetie Taught Me,” and fresh songs like her loping version of Phoebe Snow’s “Harpo’s Blues” and the charming Johnny Mercer tune “Love’s Got Me in a Lazy Mood.” Other inspired choices include takes on Nellie Lutcher and Rickie Lee Jones. Marguth is quite assured in a variety of modes, and she and Hill have faultless chemistry.

Vincent L. Stephens, Ph.D.

Vincent L. Stephens, Ph.D.

Riffs, Beats & Codas is written for people interested in reading a fresh perspective on popular music. The site’s regular features include a featured essay blog, a book review blog, and excerpts from the Learning to Listen (LTL) book project. LTL is comprised of excerpts from the chapters in Vincent’s manuscript on great post-WWII singers. The site also features Learning to Listen interviews, a blog spotlighting interviews with diverse individuals discussing key moments when they “learned to listen” to music critically. R, B, & C also features links to other books, encyclopedias, scholarly journals, and websites featuring Vincent’s writing.

Vincent’s writing has been featured in Popular Music, Popular Music and Society, the Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, Volume VIII, All About Jazz Online, African-American Review, and The Journal of Popular Culture.

The UK-based magazine, In Tune International, has just released its December issue, and included within is this review of Karen’s newest album:

Here are eleven songs just tailor-made for Karen Marguth to perform with Kevin Hill, her extremely talented bass player who keeps things moving throughout the album. The duo sound musically like one.
Softly, almost mysteriously, “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To” opens the set, and Karen takes this standard to some loose jazz extremes ably aided by Kevin’s bass playing. “Just You, Just Me” is about as fine a jazz reading as you are bound to hear. Karen and Kevin duke it out — scatting and swinging the daylights out of this standard. “I’m Beginning to See the Light” gets an extremely slow take. It’s unusual, with many on-the-beat delayed stops that just fit. “Love’s Got Me in a Lazy Mood” is terrific. The rhythm and the vocal take us on an unforgettable, memorable musical trip. “I Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good” is ever so carefully handled with great sensitivity. The duo really top themselves on this track. On “Imagination” the two treat us to some lovely scatting and surprising twists and turns. It’s an upbeat arrangement that is quite catching. This CD is for more than just you, just me; it’s for all of us. Thank you, Karen and Kevin. ~Dan Singer

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Karen’s new duo album with bassist Kevin Hill received this mention in Jazz Magazine’s October, 2015 issue:

“We discovered her in 2010, and this Californian has lost nothing of her qualities. On the voice/bass duo album “Just You, Just Me,” she rediscovers a repertoire of classics, arranges them with happiness, and holds back none of her agility.”

Merci bien, once again, to Phillipe Vincent.

Oct. France review

The September 2015 issue of Jersey Jazz includes this review by Joe Lang:

Take a look at the list of songs on Just You, Just Me (Wayfae Music – 151) and you would think that this is a lot of the same old same old with a few newer songs tossed in to let the listener know that the singer is hip to more recent music.  Well KAREN MARGUTH has a different frame of mind.  First she is a lady of courage, having as her sole accompanist bassist Kevin Hill.  Second she brings a fresh approach to songs like “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To,” “Just You, Just Me,” “I’m Beginning to See the Light,” “Love’s Got Me in a Lazy Mood,” “I Got It Bad (and That Ain’t Good),” “Imagination” and “It’s All Right with Me.”  The title of the last of these describes Marguth’s greatest asset, her imagination.  Yes, she has a pleasant voice, but her phrasing and sensitivity to the lyrics sets her apart as a special singer.  Having the added imagination of Hill makes the whole experience that much fuller.  Perhaps this comes through most clearly in the way they put across “Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gave to Me.”  As to the other selections, Marguth has made interesting choices.  There are not many current performers who would dig into the catalog of Nellie Lutcher, and if they do, it would normally result in their choosing “Hurry on Down,” “He’s a Real Gone Guy” or “Fine Brown Frame.”  Marguth opted to sing “Baby, What’s Your Alibi,” and she makes it a saucy pleasure.  To fill out the program, she chose Phoebe Snow’s “Harpo’s Blues” and a song by Richard Jones, father of Rickie Lee Jones, “The Moon Is Made of Gold.”  Whatever song she sings, Marguth gives it an individual spin, and does so with satisfying results.  The disc is short by today’s standards, only 37 minutes of music, but when it is this choice, you can just hit the play again button, and double your pleasure.

Jersey Jazz, the journal of the New Jersey Jazz Society,  is published monthly eleven times a year with a combined July/August summer edition. Jersey Jazz is with filled with feature articles, photos, a comprehensive guide to the state’s jazz clubs and other performance venues, CD and performance reviews, upcoming events and news about the New Jersey Jazz Society.

Michael Steinman, who writes for HOT HOUSE, Cadence and The New York Jazz Record, has written a column in his blog JAZZ LIVES about Karen’s new release “Just You, Just Me.”  Here are his words:


Posted on July 12, 2015

Perhaps you have not yet heard Karen Marguth, who is a superbly winning jazz singer. If this is the case, I could choose to get annoyed about a culture that sometimes elevates glossy mediocrities over creative individualists, but why fill the air with bleakness? Rather, you have delightful surprises in store for you.
The reason I am celebrating Karen Marguth can be seen to the left — her remarkable new CD, JUST YOU,    JUST ME. The cover image is tiny but the music she makes is blissfully expansive. She has only one     accompanist — or collaborator — for the eleven delicious performances here, acoustic string bassist Kevin    Hill. They are a glorious pair; you won’t want anyone else.

Many singers, some of them with the best intentions in the world (male and female) decide that their CDs    have to be productions. So everything is done with beautiful elaborate care, down to the hair stylist for the    photo shoot, the ornate arrangements — in the best tradition of singers who appeared, beautiful in                  person, in front of a big band where everything had been carefully planned out from the start. I am not mocking this approach to art, merely noting that I often listen with my eyes closed rather than staring at the gorgeous creature, artfully posed, on the CD cover.

Karen Marguth is approaching music from a different perspective. As music, as playful exploration. She has a light-hearted honest voice that pleases on its own terms. She sounds candid, as if she would never lie to us in music. Hers is a flexible joyous approach to the song. Karen has an instrumentalist’s ease — without “innovating” or “improving” on the composition at the composer’s expense. Karen takes small risks with bent notes, sweetly demure (but effective) scatting. And the most familiar songs glow under her caressing attention.


Each track has a small delicious series of surprises in it: very little is predictable but all the quirky twists pay off in the best ways. I would suggest that listeners begin with I’M BEGINNING TO SEE THE LIGHT as a good place to hear what these reverent explorers accomplish so well. And then Eddie Miller’s SLOW MOOD, transformed into LOVE’S GOT ME IN A LAZY MOOD. There’s a song that has always made me want to leave the room — with new feminist lyrics by Karen and Brady McKay — BLUES MY NAUGHTY SWEETIE GIVES TO ME — that has become a hilarious delight because of Karen and Kevin. YOU’D BE SO NICE and IMAGINATION have been done and perhaps overdone, but they sound so fresh here.

And Kevin Hill is all the rhythm section — and eloquent soloist — any band would ever need. His sound, resonant without being overpowering; his intonation delightfully accurate. No one would feel encouraged to talk during his solos. Milt Hinton would have invited him to St. Albans for Mona’s chicken and a good long session in the basement. (There is no higher tribute I can imagine.)

I know a CD has captured me when, having heard it once through, I want to hear it again right away. I’m listening for the third time to JUST YOU, JUST ME, and I plan to play it for friends and make converts.

This unobtrusive little CD — about the length of an ancient twelve-song vinyl record of my adolescence — is a very important piece of art, because it bravely defies convention to present naked song, unadorned (yet expert) improvisation, joyous eccentric collaboration. In an age where froth tries to pass itself off as substance, Karen Marguth and Kevin Hill offer us beauty. And that is worth celebration.

Karen Marguth and Kevin Hill make magical music. You’ll hear.


Michael Steinman

Check out Michael’s blog here: