Theater & Arts

Artists you should know: Karen Marguth

If you like local jazz, chances are you probably know the name Karen Marguth.

She's the sweet-sounding vocalist who performs all around town. That's led her to kick-starting the monthly Jazz Jam and Musicians Collective at Full Circle Brewing Co., 620 F St. The February installment is today, starting at 5:30 p.m.

Marguth is also prepping a Rogue Festival show with fellow jazz singer Debi Ruud for later this month. We talked to Marguth about all this and more.

How did the monthly Jazz Jam and Musicians Collective get started? It was an invitation from Don Anderson at Full Circle that started it all. I was interested in doing something on a regular basis there, because, as an artist, it's just good to have a performance to prepare toward, a deadline to push you to keep working on new material. So a short performance followed by a jam was the idea. Sam Rocha suggested the idea of the Musicians' Collective and offered to help me host it. Sam got Kevin Hill involved to provide the house band for the jam, and voilà, 'twas born!

The first one is in the books. What was the highlight for you? Oh, so many: The Fresno High jazz band was a great opening act. Kevin Hill was a warm and welcoming host for the jam session. The brave jam participants, including the Fresno High kids. A guy named Ernie on bass and a guy named Steve on drums wowed everyone. Steve Ono. Eva Scow. Improv rappers. Mike Taylor. Three Bags Full. The potluck. The way no one wanted it to end.

So anybody who wants to play at this can just show up with their instrument? Yep. Bring your courage, but not your ego, please. This is all about learning by doing, and then supporting others who brave the stage. It's also a potluck, so if you can, bring some snacks to share.

Let's talk about the Rogue Festival. You are teaming up with Debi Ruud this year for a show, right? Tell us about it. I'd signed up but wasn't sure what I'd do. Debi had wanted to sign up but missed the deadline. We ran into each other at the "Rocky Horror," show and little light bulbs went on over our heads and we came up with an idea to team up. We'll be portraying sisters who will tell and sing the stories from their lives, from childhood to old age.

People who dig you can also find you on the radio each week on KFSR (90.7 FM). What would people expect from your show? It's called the Vocal Hour, and I get to play tunes that I love by singers who inspire me. It's quite a mix of styles that I like, so you might hear Chrissie Hynde, Paris Combo, Lucinda Williams and Ella within one hour. How cool is that?

What else should people look forward to from you this year? Recording! I've got a Christmas CD that's almost done. Kevin Hill and I are recording some tunes with just bass and voice, and if enough of those turn out well, I'll make it into a CD. Then, I'd like to record another jazz CD, and I have original tunes that I also want to record.

For music and more: Go to myspace.com/karenmarguth.

Know a local musician that more people should be familiar with? Send the who and why to Mike Osegueda, mosegueda@fresnobee.com.

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