Margie Baker, Let her entertain you...

In the musical, “The Sound of Music,” the nuns sing: “How do you solve a problem like do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?” A similar phrase eclipsed my mind on meeting San Francisco chanteuse Margie Baker, with just a slight lyrical change: How do you hold a rainbow in your hand?  The answer is simple: you don’t. Instead, you bask under its layered multicolored rays, let its shine merge with your own, and spend a little time with the undulating soul that is Dr. Margie Baker: educator, jazz singer and sparkling spirit.


I met Margie Baker on a recent Sunday at the Burlingame Hyatt Regency. Accompanied by a four-piece ensemble, she wows Sunday brunch attendees with a medley of songs. With an energy that captivates her audience, Baker belts out her faves and those of her fans with an ageless voice that defies categorization.  As I watched her perform, I observed the reaction of others in the audience who were obviously as jazzed by her warmth and unique delivery as I.  Women from my peer group arose from their chairs in this elegant setting to snap their fingers and sway to the captivating beat of the music and the unique sound of Margie’s voice, an instrument that at once delivers nostalgia, heartache and joy. Demonstrating that her appeal is not restricted to those of a certain age, a small boy, no older than five, walked up to Margie, placed both arms above his head, and danced, his lithe figure not missing a beat.


Baker’s performance drew spontaneous applause from her fans, reminiscent of jazz responses to performances I’d seen back in the glory days of San Francisco’s North Beach. There, in the early 1960s, it was not uncommon to catch my uncle, Charles Mingus, at Broadway’s Jazz Workshop, while Carmen McRae’s name appeared on the marquee across the street. 


Check out Baker’s website,  for times, places and availability of this award winning singer who has romped with Dizzy Gillespie and traveled internationally with the Monterey Jazz Festival.  By the way, I came across her quite accidentally while scanning the latest issue of my University of San Francisco alumni magazine. But, as the wise declare: there are no accidents. For a taste of honey, catch Margie Baker if you can!