Margaret Slovak

Margaret Slovak

Musicians | Instrument: Guitar | Location: Austin

Margaret Slovak is the best example of feminine fretwork since Emily Remler. Nothing sexist with femininity playing a role in one’s style, which, as with Pat Metheny, Paul Desmond and Stan Getz, doesn’t necessarily have to match up with gender. In fact, if Bill Evans played guitar, he’d probably sound like Slovak, which gives you an idea of how good she is.

—Dave McElfresh, Cadence Review

Updated: May 5, 2023

Born: January 8, 1962

Originally from Denver, Colorado, Margaret Slovak is a guitarist, composer and painter. She began playing the guitar at age 11, composing at age 14 and performing professionally at age 16. Margaret studied jazz and classical music and visual art, receiving her BFA in Jazz from the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington. She also attended the Kansas City Art Institute, University of Missouri Conservatory of Music and the Banff Centre Summer Jazz Workshop in Alberta, Canada, receiving several scholarships for her studies. Margaret’s teachers included John Abercrombie, Dale Bruning, Hadley Caliman, Jerry Granelli, Jim Knapp, Art Lande, Gary Peacock, Dave Peterson, Julian Priester, Don Thompson, Ralph Towner and Kenny Wheeler.

After graduating from the Cornish College of the Arts in 1986, Margaret returned to Denver for two years to study, compose and perform. In 1988 she moved to New York City, where she spent five years leading her own band and performing her original music. While in New York, Margaret had the opportunity to perform and/or record with Fred Hersch, Michael Formanek, Michael Sarin and Joel Weiskopf; she also produced two recordings of her original music and played with the Peruvian folk/jazz group Antara. Margaret toured through Germany in the fall of 1991. In 1993 she moved from NYC to Portland, Oregon; in 1994 and 1995 she toured through the Northwestern US and British Columbia, Canada with her quartet, which included drummer Bob Moses. Margaret performed in Germany and the Czech Republic in the fall of 1996; she has also played extensively throughout Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Texas and California. Margaret moved back to the New York City area in 2008. In 2012 she relocated to Austin, Texas, where she continues to perform, compose and record. 

Since 1994, Margaret has played in a variety of healthcare settings. She has performed for hospital patients in ICU, oncology, neurology, orthopedic, emergency and trauma units; Margaret also played for veterans at the Bronx VA Hospital in NYC from 2009-2012. In addition, Margaret plays in chemotherapy infusions rooms, senior care centers, memory care units and for hospice patients. Margaret is also a painter, creating visual images which reflect her musical compositions; she sometimes presents concerts at which her paintings are displayed on stage while she performs the corresponding musical pieces. Margaret’s original artwork also adorns her CD covers and inserts. 

As a composer and guitarist, Margaret combines elements of jazz with classical and world music, creating a unique and highly personal musical style that is deeply expressive.

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“Undertones - MARGARET SLOVAK QUARTET: For the Moment. Recorded in 1989 with pianist Fred Hersch, bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Michael Sarin, this previously unreleased gem showcases guitarist Margaret Slovak’s delicate, deliberate lines, warm tone and lyrical touch along with her painterly compositional style. The introspective solo guitar piece “Twice” and luminous quartet numbers like “Charissa” and “Face of a Face” show an early Pat Metheny influence while the probing “November or April” and swinging title track are in the Jim Hall-John Abercrombie camp.” — Bill Milkowski: JazzTimes “For the Moment: Margaret Slovak, guitar

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Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services

The Answer Within

From: Ballad for Brad
By Margaret Slovak