Laura Hunsberger

Producer

Laura Hunsberger began her career in radio in 2010 at WHQR in Wilmington, NC and received her MFA in Creative Writing, Nonfiction from UNCW. In 2012, Hunsberger began working as Associate Producer for the NPR and South Carolina Public Radio program Song Travels with Michael Feinstein. In 2015, she became a staff reporter for South Carolina Public Radio, reporting on statewide and national news and covering the historic floods that hit South Carolina in October 2015.

Ways to Connect

Nick Waterhouse
nickwaterhouse.com

Vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter Nick Waterhouse has been called “the young man who makes old R&B” (LA Weekly). His first single, “Some Place,” was recorded in an all-analog studio and released on vinyl. Although his records recall the sound of the 1950s, his style is all his own. On this Song Travels, Waterhouse shares his love of 45 rpm records and raw, live rock 'n' roll. Joined by Jay B. Flatt on piano, the session includes his original songs “Sleeping Pills” and “Hands on the Clock.”

Roy Kral (1921 – 2002) was working in Chicago with the George Davis Quartet when he met Jackie Cain (1928 – 2014). They formed a duo, Jackie and Roy, and the rest is history. The vocal and piano duo blended witty lyrics and unusual melodies with a light modern jazz feeling. These dear friends of McPartland’s were her guests for Piano Jazz in 1992. A sophisticated and charming pair, the husband and wife team play Alec Wilder’s “While We Were Young” and join McPartland for a trio of “Joy Spring.”

Chucho Valdés
Francis Vernhet/International Music Network

At one time, pianist Jesus “Chucho” Valdés was banned from performing in the United States. Today, he enjoys performing and teaching here as well as in his native Cuba. Valdés is a world-class innovator in Latin jazz. In 1973 he founded Irakere, a group that introduced a new fusion of African traditional music with Cuban jazz. On this Piano Jazz from 2000, Valdés and host McPartland share a love of pianist Bill Evans, and in tribute they create their version of “Waltz for Debby.” Valdés treats listeners to his composition “Claudia.”

Louise Welch-Williams (center), the Regional CEO for the Red Cross in South Carolina at work in Southern Louisiana. Welch-Williams was one of more than 50 Red Crossers who travelled to Louisiana to help after the August floods.
Courtesy of the American Red Cross

    In August, the state of Louisiana experienced catastrophic flooding in one of the worst natural disasters since Hurricane Sandy. Residents of South Carolina could certainly relate to the images of houses under water and people being rescued by boat, as South Carolina is still recovering from last fall’s historic floods. Having gone through something similar, many people in the state want to help in some way.

Jitterbug Vipers
Clayton Hodges

Austin, TX based quartet the Jitterbug Vipers play 1930s-style viper jazz. Their original music recalls classics by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Cab Callaway. The Jitterbug Vipers are vocalist Sarah Sharp, bassist Francie Meaux Jeaux, percussionist Masumi Jones, and guitarist Slim Richey (who passed away in 2015). We remember Slim Richey this week with the group’s Song Travels session. The band presents a set sure to make you want to get up and dance!

News Stations: Sun, Oct 02, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Oct 02, 6 pm

Grammy and Emmy Award-winning conductor, pianist, composer, and arranger Lee Musiker has long worked with leading jazz, classical, pop, and Broadway performers. He conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the National Orchestra in the US and Canada. He has also worked as a music director for top artists, and his work can be heard on the soundtracks of Hollywood films. Musiker brings a wealth of knowledge to this 2005 Piano Jazz, performing "Fascinating Rhythm" with McPartland.

News Stations: Sat, Oct 01, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Oct 02, 7 pm

Margaret and Harry Plexico spent months trying to clean up and salvage their flooded home before decided to start over elsewhere.
Ryan Plexico

Update: Due to Hurricane Matthew, the SC Flood Strong 5K has been rescheduled for December 10, 2016.

Ryan Plexico used to stop by his parents’ home every day to go for a run in their neighborhood. When his parents lost their home in the October floods, Ryan found a way to give back through running.

Rickie Lee Jones
David McClister

  Multiple Grammy Award-winning vocalist and songwriter Rickie Lee Jones has been pushing down musical boundaries for more than four decades with her hauntingly beautiful voice. She has carved her own unique path, collaborating with artists from Alison Kraus to Dr. John. On this Song Travels, Jones employs her sultry voice to perform some of the standards that have inspired her along the way.

News Stations: Sun, Sep 25, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Sep 25, 6 pm

  Vibraphonist Cecilia Smith is a leading proponent of the four-mallet technique. She has performed at nightclubs, concert halls, and festivals all over the world and collaborated with greats such as Mulgrew Miller, Cecil Bridgewater, and Randy Weston. On this Piano Jazz from 2000, she and McPartland combine talents in a rendition of “Old Devil Moon.” Smith solos on her “Lullaby for Miles and Bill” and a piece dedicated to her mother, “Mourning Before Grace.”

News Stations: Sat, Sep 24, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Sep 25, 7 pm

Jazz vocalist Gregory Porter had a breakout year in 2012. His album Be Good topped many “Best of” lists and was named iTunes Jazz Album of the Year. In 2014, Porter won a Grammy Award for his third album, Liquid Spirit, and NPR Music has called him “the next great male jazz singer.” On this Song Travels, Porter tells host Feinstein about his gospel roots and his musical upbringing. Porter is joined by Chip Crawford and Aaron James for a set that features songs from Liquid Spirit.

  Leonard Feather (1914 – 1994) was hailed as “the Dean of Jazz Journalists.” He critiqued artists for DownbeatMelody MakerWire, and his own weekly syndicated column for the Los Angeles Times. He authored works including The Jazz Years: Ear Witness to an Era and The Encyclopedia of Jazz. Feather also played piano and composed works recorded by Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and Sarah Vaughan, to name a few. On this 1988 Piano Jazz, he solos on “Lost in the Stars” and an original “Blues Medley.”

Guitarist, vocalist, and composer Matt Munisteri has uncovered much of the forgotten jazz and swing from the early 20th century. His album Still Runnin’ Round in the Wilderness explores the “lost” compositions of American singer/songwriter Willard Robison. Munisteri and Feinstein share tunes that, while forsaken by the past, are certainly worth remembering.

News Stations: Sun, Sep 11, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Sep 11, 6 pm

Oliver Jones
Courtesy of the artist

  Oliver Jones is one of Canada’s premiere pianists and winner of the prestigious Oscar Peterson Award. As a child he took lessons with Daisy Peterson Sweeney, Oscar Peterson’s sister. With a long career as a performer, composer, and educator, Jones is an important player in the international jazz piano scene. Piano Jazz celebrates Jones’ 82nd birthday with this session from 1990. His music speaks for itself as he plays his own tune “Jordio.” Then McPartland and Jones say it all with “Three Little Words.”

Born into Hollywood royalty, Liza Minelli made her own name on the stage and screen. Her role in the 1972 film version of the Broadway musical Cabaret made her an international sensation and won her the Academy Award for Best Actress.  She continues to wow audiences with her iconic presence and powerful voice. Minnelli joins her good friend and Song Travels host Michael Feinstein for a discussion of her life and the evolution of her approach to song.

News Stations: Sun, Sep 04, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Sep 04, 6 pm

Walter Davis, Jr.
Carlo Rondinelli, via Wikimedia Commons

  Pianist Walter Davis, Jr. (1932 – 1990) spent more than four decades contributing to the development of jazz history. He worked with a wide variety of talent including Dizzy Gillespie, Donald Byrd, and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Shortly after sitting down with McPartland for Piano Jazz in 1990, this great giant in the jazz world passed away. One of the great bebop stylists of his time, Davis plays his own tune, “Backgammon” and joins McPartland for a tribute to one of his main influences with “Blue Monk.”

Nellie McKay
David Kogut

  Performer, composer, and actress Nellie McKay brings a comedic flair to her stage shows, including Nellie with a Z, in which she plays a cabaret veteran three times her age! Her music has also been featured on the television series WeedsGrey’s Anatomy, and Boardwalk Empire. On this Song Travels, McKay and host Feinstein team up for “Pennies from Heaven” and “The Nearness of You,” and she performs her original “Beneath the Underdog.”

News Stations: Sun, Aug 28, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Aug 28, 6 pm

Marian McPartland and Norah Jones, 2002.
SC Public Radio

  Vocalist Norah Jones has a smoky, sweet voice that makes standards sound not only revived, but completely new. Her style branches out into the realms of folk, country and western, soul, pop, and jazz. In 2003, the year she was McPartland’s guest on Piano Jazz, she won her first Grammy Awards for her debut album, Come Away with Me. Jones brings her warm vocals to Hoagy Carmichael’s “The Nearness of You,” and McPartland and Jones kick off a “Beautiful Friendship.”

News Stations: Sat, Aug 27, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Aug 28, 7 pm

  Pianist Marty Napoleon (1921 – 2015) came from a musical family. He was the nephew of trumpeter and bandleader Phil Napoleon and brother of pianist Teddy Napoleon. In 1950 he joined his uncle’s group, The Memphis Five, and later became a member of the Big Four, led by Charlie Ventura. He also played with Louis Armstrong’s All Stars, led his own trio, and performed as a soloist. On this 1992 Piano Jazz, Napoleon solos on his original “Over and Over,” and McPartland joins for “All of Me.”

News Stations: Sat, Aug 20, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Aug 21, 7 pm

Sam Friend
Kaitlin Hanrahan/Courtesy of the artist

  Sam Friend and his band the New Orleans Swamp Donkeys play jazz, blues, and originals, drawing on the sound of grassroots jazz combos from a century ago. In this edition of Song Travels, Friend joins host Michael Feinstein to discuss his transition from New York trio musician to New Orleans bandleader. He shares his love of traditional “jass” with a rendition of “Sweet Lorraine” on six-string banjo.

News Stations: Sun, Aug 21, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Aug 21, 6 pm

David Sanchez
Siebe van Ineveld Rotterdam, via Wikimedia Commons

  Multiple Grammy Award-winning saxophonist David Sanchez weaves threads of Latin American and North American jazz into a colorful tapestry. His vast experience includes performances with Dizzy Gillespie, Eddie Palmieri, Paquito D’Rivera, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Kenny Barron. On this 1998 Piano Jazz, bassist John Benitez, drummer Adam Cruz, and host McPartland join Sanchez in a quartet to perform “My Shining Hour” and “The Way You Look Tonight.”

News Stations: Sat, Aug, 13 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Aug, 14 7 pm

Sheldon Harnick
Joan Marcus

  Pulitzer Prize-winning lyricist Sheldon Harnick has been a pillar of Broadway for more than 50 years. After showing promise in writing review songs, Harnick teamed up with composer Jerry Bock to write musicals. Their musical Fiorello! won a Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1959. They went on to write hit shows, including Fiddler on the Roof and The Rothschilds. On this episode of Song Travels, Harnick takes listeners on a musical journey through his career’s stories and songs.

Dee Dee Bridgewater
Mark Higashino

  Grammy-winning singer and actress Dee Dee Bridgewater embodied the late Billie Holiday in the starring role of Lady Day in 2013. In addition to that performance and her Tony-winning role in The Wiz (1975), Bridgewater has appeared in shows such as Sophisticated Ladies and Cabaret. This week, she talks with host Feinstein about her experience playing Billie Holiday and performs a few of Holiday’s signature songs, including “God Bless the Child” and “Good Morning Heartache.”

Marilyn Crispell
marilyncrispell.com

  Critics hail pianist Marilyn Crispell as a “luminous presence at the forefront of creative music.” Known for challenging compositions and improvisations, she plays free jazz with an evocative and disciplined style. She has performed on stages the world over and in 2005 received a Guggenheim Fellowship. On this 1998 Piano Jazz, Crispell solos her own composition “Fragments.” She and McPartland conclude the hour with Monk’s “Straight, No Chaser.”

News Stations: Sat, Aug 06, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Aug, 07, 7 pm

Eric Reed
Jimmy Baikovicius/Flickr

  Pianist and composer Eric Reed began playing piano as a small child. He was only 18 when he played his first string of gigs with Wynton Marsalis, work that catapulted him to the forefront of jazz musicians. He has played with Joe Henderson, Betty Carter, and Joshua Redman, among others, and has established himself as a notable leader, producer, and educator. On this 1995 Piano Jazz, the then 24-year-old Reed’s distinctive style is evident on a solo of “Cedar’s Blues.”

News Stations: Sat, Jul 30, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun Jul, 31, 7 pm

Barbara Carroll
Contact Music

  Jazz pianist Barbara Carroll is regarded as New York’s first lady of jazz piano. Her career has spanned seven decades and includes everything from appearances on Broadway to performances in concert halls worldwide, as well as a remarkable 24-year run at Bemelman’s Bar in the Carlyle Hotel. On this Song Travels, Carroll performs “No Moon at All” and joins host Feinstein for “Isn’t It a Pity.” This episode won an Award of Distinction in the 22nd Annual Communicator Awards.

News Stations: Sun, July 31, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, July 31, 6 pm

Jacky Terrason, Gent Jazz Festival, July 7, 2013
© Bruno Bollaert

  Pianist Jacky Terrasson was born in Berlin and raised in Paris. After moving to the US, he studied at Berklee College and went on to win the 1993 Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition. He has toured internationally and collaborated with greats such as Ray Brown, Cassandra Wilson, and Ry Cooder. Terrasson demonstrates his extraordinary talents in this 1995 Piano Jazz session, playing “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” and “Oleo.”

News Stations: Sat, Jul 23, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Jul 24, 7 pm

Hunter Hayes
Courtesy of the artist

  Rising country star Hunter Hayes performed at age four with Hank Williams Jr. and was the front man of his first band at age five He's now a versatile instrumentalist, writer, producer and performer with hits like “Storm Warning” and “Somebody’s Heartbreak.” His self-titled debut album was acknowledged with three Grammy nominations. On this Song Travels, Hayes talks about his musical roots in Cajun Louisiana as well as the stories that inspired him to write his many love songs.

News Stations: Sun, July 24, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, July 24, 6 pm

Carla Bley and Steve Swallow
Klaus Muempfer/Courtesy of the Artist

  Bassist Steve Swallow and pianist Carla Bley are both acclaimed jazz composers and performers with international reputations. On this 1996 Piano Jazz, they team up to talk with McPartland about their combined repertoire of innovative music. Bley and Swallow kick off the program with a duet of Bley’s composition “Major,” McPartland joins Bley for a unique duet of “Chopsticks,” and they close the show as a trio with Bley’s “Ad Infinitum.”

News Stations: Sat, Jul 16, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun Jul, 17, 7 pm

Gloria Gaynor
gloriagaynor.com

  Gloria Gaynor is best known for her sensational 1978 hit, “I Will Survive,” which won the only Grammy ever awarded for Best Disco Recording. The World Music Awards honored her with a Legend Award in 2002, and Gaynor was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2005. On this Song Travels, Gaynor shares her 2012 single “All the Man That I Need” and performs standards with host Michael Feinstein. Live performances include renditions of “My Funny Valentine” and “Without a Song.”

News Stations: Sun, July 17, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, July 17, 6 pm

Aaron Parks

Jul 4, 2016
Aaron Parks
Bill Douthart/ECM Records

  A true prodigy, pianist Aaron Parks was still in his teens when he was McPartland’s guest in this 2001 session. That year he placed first in the fifth American Jazz Piano Competition, landing the Cole Porter Fellowship. He went on to place third in the 2006 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition and has built a prolific career as a performer and recording artist. On this Piano Jazz, Parks performs Cole Porter’s “Miss Otis Regrets.”

News Stations: Sat, Jul 09, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Jul 10, 7 pm

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