Bay area vocalist and educator Karen Marguth hit the jazz recording scene with 2009's self-titled debut and has released a series of excellent albums. On 2015's Just You, Just Me is Marguth and bassist Kevin Hill build from the promise of previous efforts like her excellent Carrol Coates songbook A Way With Words by taking somewhat of a left turn. Taking cues from the bass and voice master, Sheila Jordan, she tackles 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.
Most recent album: On 2021's Until (OA2), Marguth continues her eclectic approach interpreting Paul Simon's "Hearts and Bones" and "Old Friends/Bookends" with great clarity, exploring Latin rhythms on Maria Gomez's "La Ronda" and Sting's "Until," and swinging with aplomb ("Comes Love," "Close Your Eyes"). She also contributes the original tune "Maureen" and take listeners on a unique journey on Andrew Bird and Shel Silverstein's "Twistable Turnable Man."