A Bay Area resident for most of her life, Karen Marguth has been receiving rave reviews since the release of her eponymous album in 2009. Jazz Magazine wrote: “Great big talent, much too small a pond…Karen is one of the finest American jazz vocalists you’ve likely yet to discover.” DownBeat gave her album a rare four-and-a-half stars, saying she’s “…a spiritual grandchild of hipness highness Annie Ross. She swings fiercely, and scats with a proper abandon.” And Jazz Magazine of France included her on their list of the 101 best chanteuses of all time, saying “She has all the qualities of a great jazz singer.” Andrew Gilbert listed her bass/vox duo album among his list of the Best of the Bay Area, 2015.
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.
~ Michael Steinman, JAZZ LIVES
It will fall to others to allot their own official praise to this, Karen’s newest and perhaps most courageous work. I say that only because it takes a rather spunky singer to go in to the world with only an acoustic bass man — the redoubtable Kevin Hill — at her side. But unlike Mary Tyler Moore’s crusty old editor-boss, I like spunk. Karen’s has the benefits of voice, technique, and taste. They are the kind of refining influences that turn common spunk into high art.”
~ John McDonough, DownBeat Magazine and NPR
Great big talent, much too small a pond. Her name is Karen Marguth, one of the finest American jazz vocalists you’ve likely yet to discover. Her talent lifts her to the plateau of Diana Krall, Jackie Ryan and Carolyn Leonhart, and it’s high time that she advanced to her rightful place on national and international stages. Though Marguth favors standards, her playlist is fresh with intriguing twists and turns. The first thing listeners will notice, beyond the crystalline beauty of Marguth’s voice, is the unique backing from Espacio, a four-member California band which features mandolinist Eva Scow (whose outstanding contributions to Anthony Wilson’s Power of Nine and her terrific duo album, Sharon By the Sea with guitarist Dusty Brough, are also worth searching out). Espacio’s nimble funkiness joins with Karen’s voice in a joyously unfettered mating of singer and bandmates at its most sublimely satisfying. Here’s hoping Marguth soon gets the sweeping attention she so richly deserves.
~ Christopher Loudon, Jazz Times
Karen Marguth is, indeed, a Jazz singer, with pinpoint intonation and a supple voice allowing her to phrase and scat with audacity.
~ Cadence Magazine
★ ★ ★ ★ ½ Karen Marguth is a spiritual grandchild of hipness highness Annie Ross. Her music is the work of a singer with a swift, light voice and the mobility and diction to roll like a Zephyr over the tongue-twisting speed bumps of a vocalese piece. She swings fiercely with her band, and she scats with a proper abandon. This is a singer who prefers to trot and sprint, and does it with commanding zest.”
~ John Mc Donough, DownBeat Magazine
Karen has all the talent of a truly great jazz singer. She is gifted with flawless technique, great precision in all registers, and impeccable articulation. Her excellent phrasing permits her to easily scat and swing. We have included her on our list of the 101 Essential Chanteuses of all time.
~ Jazz Magazine, France
She’s got a fresh as a daisy tone, elastic as all get out, and has the rare quality of being adventurous without being cacophonous. Karen and her band pour over with the joy of music while her voice swings and snaps like a paddle ball game
~ All About Jazz
Together, Karen and Espacio bring such luscious newness to familiar jazz standards. Their imaginative arrangements will delightfully stun you. Karen is clearly in charge with her superb vocalizing… it’s so fresh and absolutely unforgettable.
~ In Tune International
Karen Marguth isn’t just another talented jazz or cabaret singer. Heavens no. Her steady, pure voice achieves a poetic gracefulness in interpretations of songs both classic and current. The hallmark of a superior singer is to make everything — including accuracy of pitch, phraseology, rapport with the rhythm section, sparks of spontaneity, the probing of one’s heart — seem easy and effortless. Karen delivers — and then some.
~Frank-John Hadley, DownBeat Magazine
Marguth has all the tools, and she knows how to use them. She is the real deal, with spot-on intonation, crystal clear enunciation, and, above all, a flawless sense of phrasing. Her show at Dizzy’s proved she is a true professional.
~ Robert Bush San Diego Reader
She has the rare, great capacity for true champions of instrumental jazz singing to surprise and fascinate. With a strong improvisational verve, she can scat and deliver tongue twisters at breakneck speed, playing with the sounds of words and managing rapid chord changes without neglecting a subtle, playful joke or falling into triviality. Her skill at vocalese is reminiscent of Annie Ross. Her virtuosity is clear in any weather, from the fastest tunes with the whole band or alone with a bass, to slower ballads, to songs from vaudeville. Marguth is that rare kind of incredible, gifted performer; but the more so because her whole group is tight and strong, plain and rough in the best sense, with its own peculiar sound. Pure, unpredictable beauty and originality.
~ De Baser, Italy
“No schmaltz and no BS. Karen Marguth and Espacio swing hard, and bring a fresh sound to the often tired world of jazz vocals.” – Joe Moore, Station Manager KFSR Radio, Fresno, CA
“Karen really hit this one out of the park… Her singing style is truly original… highly appealing… and backed by some great musicianship. Kudos to all concerned.” – Bob Collins, Jazz Producer, WRHU, New York
“As a jazz singer, Karen Marguth fills the bill. She’s spot on key, and phrases with ease and feeling.” – George Fendel, Jazz Society of Oregon
“What wonderful music! Karen is a great artist. I’ve been transmitting her music on my program on Radio Fidelite. If she comes to perform here in France, I’m sure she’ll have a large audience.” – Andre de Chabannes, Jazz Radio Producer, France
“We LOVE Karen’s CD, and have already played two tracks from it, with plans to play many more! She’s great, and so is her band.” – Katie Malloch, Canadian National Broadcast
“Karen’s album is a very pleasant surprise. Of the first jazz recordings I’ve received this year, over half of them are by female vocalists, and this one stands out. I’ll enjoy playing it.” – Jack Hopke, Producer at WWNO radio, New Orleans, Louisiana
“Karen’s CD is a jazzy delight. I’ll be giving it lots of air play on CHRW. This is a very tasty debut jazz offering. I’m hooked.” – Alicks Girowski, Music Director, CHRW 94.9 FM – London Ontario, Canada
“I like Karen’s CD a LOT! Last week on my Just Jazz show I wanted to feature the best/newest disc received in so far in 2010 and Karen’s CD was it.” – Norm Movitz, KMST “Just Jazz” radio host, Rolla, Missouri
“Karen is really top-notch. We featured her new CD recently during “Morning Edition” and enjoyed a phone interview with her.” – Lee Stott, WKYU radio host Lee Stott, Bowling Green, Kentucky