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Heart and Soul:
Live in San Francisco

Left Coast Life
Straight Up
With a Twist

Live at the
Jazz Workshop
in San Francisco














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Straight Up With a Twist

Overview   I   Song List & Samples  I   Reviews  I   Credits

Dan Ouelette, Down Beat (Four Stars ****)
"As the title of her superb new CD implies, Margolis takes the straightahead jazz route, but applies enough pleasing twist-and-turn variations on the theme to come up with one of the most compelling vocal jazz collections of the year. Margolis delivers the music with caressive passion, sparkling passion and breezy lyricism, embracing various textures, colors and grooves to recast old tunes in a new light. She offers an upbeat, Coltrane-inspired arrangement of "All or Nothing at All," undergirds "Getting to Know You" with African polyrhythms and immerses herself into a funk-simmering, reggae-tinged rendition of "Fever." Instrumental stars include tenor saxophonist Kenny Brooks and guest Roy Hargrove on muted trumpet. Margolis also invites Charles Brown to the party for two tunes, including a hip soul-jazz jaunt through "The 'In' Crowd," that's the hands-down highlight of the show."

"Exactly who is and isn't a "jazz" singer is something jazz enthusiasts will debate forever. But if anyone is the epitome of a jazz vocalist in the 1990s, it's Kitty Margolis. Like her two previous CDs, "Live at the Jazz Workshop" and "Evolution", the equally absorbing "Straight Up With a Up With a Twist" leaves no doubt that the Bay Area resident is an imaginative and committed improviser who takes more than her share of chances. Margolis' recognizable style mixes the warmth of Ella Fitzgerald with the abstractions of Sheila Jordan and Betty Carter. The result is a unique mix that comes off well on interpretations of Monk's "In Walked Bud," Peggy Lee's hit "Fever," and her fun duet with Charles Brown on the '60 R&B song "The In Crowd." Instead of approaching the latter as grits-and-gravy soul-jazz, Margolis and Brown keep things enjoyably quirky and a bit left of center, employing odd harmonic structures. Though she's been praised by the likes of Stan Getz and Bobby Hutcherson and has enjoyed countless rave reviews, Margolis has yet to establish her name in jazz circles. This could be the recording to change that."

Derk Richardson, San Francisco Bay Guardian
"Way too cool to cop any trendy lounge-core attitude on her cocktail titled third album, Margolis stirs up daring concoctions that emphasize the "twist" far more than the "straight up." If you think you know what to expect from "Fever", "The In Crowd," or music from the King and I , get hip to the way Margolis refreshes them with her allusions to everything from Coltrane and Monk to sambas and Congolese Pygmy trumpets. Her playful interaction with Charles Brown and trumpeter Roy Hargrove may be all-star highlights, but Margolis' voice is the crucial, intoxicating ingredient. She makes "For All We Know" a devastating seduction, resurrects Brian Jackson's "Prayer For Everybody to be Free" with renewed hope, and redefines not only what we think of as scat singing but also what a jazz vocal album can be."

Harvard Magazine
"Margolis can stretch out time like taffy, pulling her phrases against the underlying rhythms in a tension that conflates the hypnotic with the erotic..."

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