How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Wow, this woman can sing. Recorded live on her home turf, Kitty Margolis’ fifth disc, Heart and Soul: Live in San Francisco , skillfully whips her audience into an appreciative frenzy, and most of the excitement carries over to those listening to the disc. Live recordings tend to be either very good or bad—make a mistake on stage, and it’s impossible to patch over it in the recording studio. This disc is good—very good. Margolis writes in the liner notes that “songs are never the same twice and the jazz Gods need to be in the house...” The jazz Gods were rocking June 5th & 6th at the Broadway Studios Nightclub in San Francisco last year.
What makes this performance so likeable and varied is Margolis’ ability to make a song her own even when the tune is an old and dear standard—many of which are closely associated with other singers. Margolis interprets each song uniquely by, for example, changing the song’s tempo (she turns “Heart and Soul” into a slow ballad and pushes the pedal to the metal on “Surry with the Fringe on Top”); throws in remarkable scat (“My Favorite Things”); or playfully renders a bluesy, tipsy “I’m Always Drunk in San Francisco.”
Adding to the recipe is the excellent chemistry between Margolis and Michael Bluestein on piano, Jon Evans on bass, and Alison Miller on drums. On “A Sleepin’ Bee” Bluestein sets just the right tempo, never over powering Margolis’ energetic swing. 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 and Soul: Live in San Francisco a listen, you’ll definitely feel something—guaranteed.
Track Listing: 1. Love Walked In
2. A Sleepin' Bee
4. Heart and Soul
5. Your Mind Is on Vacation
6. Secret Love
7. Surrey With the Fringe on Top
8. Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year
9. I'm Always Drunk in San Francisco
10. My Favorite Things
11. While We're Young
Personnel: Kitty Margolis, Vocals;
Jon Evans, Bass;
Michael Bluestein, Piano;
Allison Miller, Drums.