This Christmasmy Favorite Things
Reviews of 'This Christmas ... my favorite things' 'This is a compelling album. Margaret Carlson's nice phrasing and beautiful intonation will add more joy to your holidays for years to come.' Marshall Vente, Jazz Institute of Chicago 'Margaret Carlson: 'This Christmas ... my favorite things' (Blue Moon Music): This beguiling recording has a great deal to recommend it, particularly Margaret Carlson's disarming vocals, which combine exquisite phrasing with uncommonly intelligent lyric reading; Frank Mantooth's savvy jazz arrangements; and adroit instrumentals from tenor saxophonist Steve Eisen and flutist Kim Park. Not intended as background music, 'This Christmas' offers bona fide jazz improvisation from a first-rate vocalist and her accomplished collaborators.' Copyright © 2001, Chicago Tribune 'Margaret Carlson has a stunning voice not unlike Julie Andrews--and it's not just on the cover of 'My Favorite Things.' This elegant (and swinging) collection boasts arrangements by Chicago stalwart Frank Mantooth. ...' Mark Guarino, Daily Herald (Chicago) Margaret Carlson's biography Margaret Carlson is an exciting new voice in contemporary music today. Crediting such artists as Cleo Laine, Judy Garland, Duke Ellington and Chick Corea as major influences, Carlson has developed a free-spirited style all her own. Throughout her lifetime, she has relied on her considerable talent and ingenuity to cultivate a now-thriving recording career. Born and raised in Duluth, Minnesota, Carlson was introduced to music at an early age. 'As a child, I was surrounded by music,' she says. 'My father loved to play the piano after dinner and whoever was around would join in. His favorite songs were from the 1920s. It could have been a scene right out of 'The Sound of Music.' Throughout high school, she was drawn to music, performing in musicals and singing in her church choir. Soon after graduating from high school, Margaret joined a band called Summer and hit the road performing songs from groups like Cream and the Jefferson Airplane. The six-member band traveled throughout the Midwest and Northwest in a van and a station wagon. 'I was a nomad during that time in my life,' Margaret says. Over the next several years, the station wagon was traded for another van and a truck, the band changed it's name, (performing as Smokin' and Condor) members and repertoire to include songs by Steely Dan, Chick Corea and Heart. The band also had many places they called home, including Tacoma, Washington; Canoga Park, California and Superior, Wisconsin. While living in Wisconsin, Margaret decided it was time to quit the band. 'I needed a change, so I accepted a position as a bookkeeper,' she said. During this period, she met and married her husband. The couple moved around the country, from Minnesota to Nebraska and ultimately settled in Florida. 'When we moved to Florida, I wanted to start singing again. I began frequenting area nightclubs and asking band members if I could sit in. This helped me make contacts and got me a few paid jobs. It was at one of these performances that I met Gene.' Gene Hunt, a New York pianist living in Florida, specialized in the music of George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. He made a tremendous impact on Margaret and, subsequently, her career. 'Gene and I had the same feeling about music, so we formed the Carlson-Hunt Duo,' she said. 'Gene introduced me to so many of the great standards. I became hooked on the lyrics and harmony of that great musical era.' The duo played six nights a week at local resorts for about four years until Carlson decided to start a family. 'I never gave up my contacts in the music business and I never stopped practicing, but I put my career on hold to raise my two children. Once in a while I did an occasional party, but most people I knew had no idea I was a professional singer. I was known more for my attendance at P.T.A. functions.' In 1996, Carlson began to think about re-establishing her music career. She approached Frank Mantooth, a very successful Chicago-area jazz pianist. Frank had several Grammy nominations to his credit. She knew the time would come when she would want to work with Mantooth, so she worked out an agreement with him to help her with her first recording. 'Frank wanted to redecorate his apartment, but he had limited time between engagements,' she says. 'His two beautiful pianos, a Steinway and a Bosendorfer, stood among bookshelves made of concrete blocks and the wooden planks used to ship the Bosendorfer from Vienna! So I volunteered my time as contractor and decorator if he would do the arrangements on my first album.' Frank made good on the trade later that year and arranged 12 of the 13 songs on Margaret's first record, 'Once in a Blue Moon.' Margaret and engineer Freddie Breitberg finished mixing the album of mainstream jazz standards on the night of a blue moon. 'We saw this as a good luck sign,' Carlson recalls. Carlson's second album, 'This Christmas ... my favorite things,' features arrangements by Mantooth, Dick Reynolds and Danny Embrey. 'I am very proud of this recording. I surrounded myself with very talented people, and it shows in the final product.,' Carlson says. 'It is playful and sweet, but we also approached the traditional material with the reverence that it deserves.' Carlson currently resides in the Chicago area with her husband and their two children. 'I feel that staying home to care for my children when they were young enriched my life and, ultimately, my talent. I had many years to rest my voice, practice and work on technique. My voice is stronger than ever and I am excited to be back in the swing of things.' Home Order CDs Music samples Reviews Guest book Links.