Latest News
RSS feed

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,, and other publications. You can follow him on twitter at @jazzscribe


Karen listed among Best of 2015 on Riffs, Beats & Codas

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.


In Tune International reviews Karen’s new album

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

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 12.01.20 PM