Heart & Soul : Live in San Francisco
Don Williamson, Jazzreview.com
"Kitty Margolis is absolutely on fire in front of an audience.
On Heart & Soul: Live In San Francisco, she blazes. Using all
of the devices at her command, Margolis possesses the rare ability
to reshape a song as it were clay into a creation of her own imagination.
It’s not often that a jazz singer’s live recording contain
the snap and abundance of ideas immediately received by an audience
that Margolis’ offers. Even though it is early in 2004 for
predictions, her Heart & Soul is so invigorating that it no
doubt will be considered as one of the top jazz vocal albums of
Paula Edelstein , All Music
"Kitty Margolis remains in the front
ranks of jazz interpreters. She commands instant attention to every
word she sings on Heart & Soul: Live In San Francisco and is, quite,
quite glorious. ...Leaves you, the listener with an amazing sensitivity
of what that night in San Francisco must have been like."
Don Heckman, The Los Angeles
"Margolis is an impressive scat singer
- a discipline that is too rarely done so well...Margolis' ebullient
enthusiasm invests each of the numbers with high-spirited pleasures.
Her choice of material ranges from Mose Allison's quirky "Your Mind
Is on Vacation" and the too rarely performed "A Sleepin' Bee" to
the lovely "While We're Young" and - in a touch of whimsy - Tommy
Wolf's sardonic "I'm Always Drunk in San Francisco." Margolis handles
it all with the intelligent musicality that is her essential stock
Jerry Karp, The
San Francisco Chronicle:
"San Franciscan Kitty Margolis established herself long ago
as an exhilarating and imaginative jazz vocalist of the highest
order. Her new live recording is more proof that the rep is deserved.
Earthy rather than ethereal, Margolis' warm, expressive singing
suggests a friend telling stories you know are true, sometimes from
a love seat and sometimes from a
barstool. Her adventurous scat solos often blur the distinction
between singer and wailing instrumentalist. Exhibit 1 is the Coltranian
scat tour de force Margolis delivers within a thrilling, up-tempo
"Summertime." Other highlights include the bluesy fun
of the Mose Allison gem "You Mind Is on Vacation."
"Wow, this woman can sing. This disc is good—very good.
Margolis skillfully whips her audience into an appreciative frenzy.
Margolis knows an awful lot about jazz but is quick to acknowledge
that “all the skill in the world don’t mean a thing
if you can’t make people feel something.” Give "Heart
Soul: Live in San Francisco" a listen, you’ll definitely
"Kitty Margolis is increasingly described as one of the finest
jazz singers anywhere. An impeccable musician and imaginative interpreter
"Margolis, and equally potent blend of class, integrity and
chutzpah, delights the SRO audience with 75 minutes of thrilling
showmanship. Imagine Doris Day's flowery "Secret Love"
pared to its natural beauty, Rogers and Hammerstein's syrup "My
Favorite Thin" injected with grown-up vivacity or a hymnlike
"Spring WIll Be a Little Late This Year" seeped in chilled
desperation and you get a vague idea of her pliant magnetism. ABout
three quarters of the way through her set, Margolis serves up Tommy
Wolf's "I'm Always Drunk in San Francisco." Considering
the magnificence of Carmen McRae's 1968 version (from Portrait
of Carmen) it's a risky choice. But Margolis, as adept at working
a room as the mighty McRae, manages to make it distinctly her own,
keeping the crowd, much like the "Sleepin' Bee" she sings
of earlier in the evening, firmly but comfortably in the palm of
Ron Wynn, Nashville
"Margolis might be the best scat singer working the jazz front,
and she can do much more than just flip through wordless phrases
as she demonstrates on Heart & Soul: Live In San Francisco (Mad-Kat).
Her version of Mose Allison's "Your Mind Is On Vacation"
retains the satirical direction of the original,
but puts more blues feel into the rendition. "While We're Young,"
"Love Walked In" and "Secret Love" are other
top cuts. Margolis displays a strong, emphatic and frequently dazzling
voice, and rates high praises from the fans who continue to complain
about the absence of real vocal improvisers and singers that can
"The entire CD is an utter joy."
"Margolis performing live is a world-class jazz experience
that combines mainstream classicism with an expansive view of her
"Margolis and band sound as if they're having the time of their
lives. Effervescent and witty, deeply romantic, dramatic, invigorating
and downright fun."
"If you miss Ella Fitzgerald pine no more. Please welcome Kitty
Margolis. She is a rich-voiced successor to Ella, which means she
scat sings better than any present day vocalist that I've heard.
One her new album "Heart & Soul: Live in San Francisco"
(Mad-Kat), Margolis covers a lot of ground, from the opening swinger
"Love Walked In" to Mose Allison's sarcastic Your Mind
is On Vacation" to "My Favorite Things." Her vocal
range is also mighty incredible, seemingly hitting a mezzo-soprano's
high notes and a baritone's lows. And when Margolis scats she has
such amazing sustaining power that it will take your breath away.
Margolis is clearly a singer deserving wider recognition."
The Australian (Five Stars)*****
"San Francisco based Kitty Margolis has a style that can be
summed up in two words-freedom and improvisation. Not surprising
when you consider her role models are singers indifferent to the
vagaries of commercial success such as Mark Murphy, Sheila Jordan
and especially Betty Carter. Like Carter, she has that rare ability
to reshape a melody into her own creation. The results can be exuberant,
unpredictable or witty, but never boring. At her best, this finest
of contemporary vocal improvisers is something special, as on this
live set with her trio at the Broadway Studios Nightclub in San
Francisco last year. She radically rethinks standards with challenging
reharmonisations, stretching her ideas and sounds to the limit.
Summertime becomes a scatting tour de force and Surrey With the
Fringe moves along to a New Orleans street beat."