Redwood Jazz Alliance

Kitty Margolis
Friday, March 30, 8 p.m.| Morris Graves Museum of Art, 636 F Street, Eureka

"Celebrating innovation over affectation, Margolis sings with conviction, pleasure and creative edginess...breathtaking...a tour de force."

 "With Kitty you can almost taste the music. She keeps you listening with your whole body."
—Pianist & vocalist Ben Sidran


(For music and links, scroll to the bottom of this page)

Kitty Margolis

This performance is presented in partnership with the Humboldt Arts Council at the Morris Graves Museum of Art.


Magic always seems to happen whenever we visit the Morris Graves. This year, the magicians are vocalist Kitty Margolis and her trio: pianist Murray Low, bassist John Shifflett, and drummer (and RJA audience favorite) Allison Miller.

Back in the 1990s, when Kitty Margolis was making her name, she perennially topped the "Talent Deserving Wider Recognition" category in the annual DownBeat critics' poll. But if her resolute devotion to San Francisco (her Bay Area roots go back four generations) really kept her from catching the world's ear, you wouldn't know it from the international acclaim she's garnered: for over two decades now she's filled houses—and brought them down—all over the world.

Margolis started singing in 1978, but her jazz epiphany came as first-year college student, when an uncle took her to New York's fabled Village Vanguard for a set by the late, great multi-reedist Rahsaan Roland Kirk. ("My life," she says flatly, "was never the same again.") Returning to San Francisco to study with saxophonist John Handy, she woodshedded in North Beach clubs and started a band that included Eddie Henderson and Pee Wee Ellis. A musician's singer, she's performed and recorded with several generations of A-list instrumentalists, including Lionel Hampton, Joe Henderson, and Roy Hargrove.

Margolis's vocal influences run the gamut from folk/pop innovators like Bonnie Raitt and Joni Mitchell to jazz mavericks like Betty Carter and Sheila Jordan. But if her powerful delivery, her inventive phrasing, and her agile improvisations draw comparisons to those originals, Kitty Margolis is nobody's carbon copy. A consummate musician, a mesmerizing performer, and a big-hearted bandleader, she's made her own mark. (Among other things, she was way ahead of the jazz-DIY curve, releasing records on her own Mad-Kat label since 1989.) "What makes Margolis such distinctly modern vocalist?" asked Jazziz a few years ago. Answer: "Her greatest strength is her attitude: a nervy, knowing verve that captures the spirit of the present without drowning out the past."

"I love live performance," said Margolis about her live 2004 recording, Heart and Soul—an electrifying disc that made several ten-best lists that year. "There is nothing like the circle of energy between the band and the audience on a good night." RJA audiences know that energy well, and the Morris Graves is especially conducive. Let's fire up the generator!

Tickets ($15 General Admission, $10 Students & Seniors) are available here at our website, or at Wildberries, Wildwood Music, People's Records, and The Works.

Kitty Margolis will also present an open public workshop at 12:00 noon on Saturday, March 31st, in HSU's Studio Theater (Theatre Arts Building 115, to the left and down the hall from Van Duzer Theater). People of all levels of experience are welcome to attend, and admission is FREE.

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video Video:

  • Kitty Margolis mix on YouTube (audio slideshows)


Additional support for this show comes from Big Pete's Pizzeria, KHSU, Paul Nicholson State Farm Insurance, Rustic West Trading Company, Les Scher, and Martin Turkis OD.

HSU SealSaturday's workshop is made possible through the generosity of HSU's Office of the President, the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Department of Music.

If you or your business would like to consider sponsoring a Redwood Jazz Alliance event and/or advertising in our concert programs, please e-mail us or visit our Underwriting & Donations page.

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