Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

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Jazz legend Marian McPartland hosted Piano Jazz for over 30 years. The program continues to showcase the world's top musicians of all time with broadcasts and podcasts from it's archive. Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz is NPR's longest-running and most widely carried jazz program. A national production of South Carolina Public Radio.

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Marcia Ball
Mary Bruton

Pianist, vocalist, and songwriter Marcia Ball brings together Texas blues with Louisiana flavors, melding boogie-woogie, zydeco, and Swamp Rock. Influenced by artists of the region, such as Janis Joplin, Ball first came to the blues as a child by listening to Etta James and learned the piano through a mix of formal and informal lessons. On this 1997 Piano Jazz, Ball demonstrates her unique sound with “Crawfishin’” and her original “That’s Enough of That.” McPartland joins for a dual-piano rendition of “Woke Up Screaming.”

Geri Allen
Rob Davidson

One year ago this month, the music world lost Geri Allen, a highly regarded and influential pianist, composer, and educator. Allen (June 12, 1957 – June 27, 2017) died of cancer at age 60. A vital contributor to contemporary jazz, she was known for uniting disparate styles of jazz, and her style found its roots everywhere from Motown and James Brown to the music of Fats Waller and Thelonious Monk. In 2008, on her third appearance on Piano Jazz, Allen and McPartland perform a spontaneous composition. Allen solos on originals, including “Brilliant Veracity.”

Roy Haynes
thekurlandagency.com

Roy Haynes is one of the greatest living jazz drummers of a generation, with a career spanning seven decades. In 2016 he joined Jon Batiste and Stay Human on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, performing at age 91. He was McPartland’s guest for this 1996 Piano Jazz session. He reminisces with McPartland about the 1940s Chicago jazz scene and the 1950s Boston scene. Bassist Christian McBride joins them for Miles Davis’ “So What,” and Haynes solos on “Shades of Senegal.”

News & Talk Stations: Sat, June 09, 8 pm | News & Music Stations: June 10, 7 pm

Ben Sidran
bensidran.com

Ben Sidran is not only a nationally respected jazz composer, pianist, and song stylist, he is also a scholar, radio/TV producer, and jazz writer. When he was a guest on Piano Jazz in 1989, NPR listeners often heard his insightful commentary on All Things Considered as well as his own program Sidran on Record, which began in 1981. In this session Sidran duets with McPartland on “What Is This Thing Called Love?” and sings originals, including “Get to the Point” and “Mitsubishi Boy.”

Barbara Cook at the 120th Anniversary of Carnegie Hall gala, MOMA, New York City. (April 12th 2011)
Joella Marano [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

This week Piano Jazz remembers Barbara Cook (1927 – August 8, 2017), the Tony and Grammy Award-winning lyric soprano who was a favorite of audiences around the world. She was a star on Broadway as an ingénue and became a staple of the New York cabaret scene in the later years of her prolific career. She was McPartland’s guest in 1998. Joined by her longtime musical collaborator and accompanist Wally Harper, Cook delights host McPartland with her rendition of “It Might as Well Be Spring.” McPartland returns the favor with her solo of “Plain and Fancy.”

Harry "Sweets" Edison
Lionel DeCoster [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Harry "Sweets" Edison (1915 – 1999) was a legendary stylist of jazz trumpet. From his days as a soloist in the Count Basie Band to his time as a studio musician for the likes of Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald, he was known for the sweet, muted tones that were his namesake. On this Piano Jazz, originally broadcast just months before he passed away in 1999, Edison joins McPartland and bassist Andy Simpkins for “Dejection Blues” and “No Greater Love,” along with one of his originals, “Centerpiece.”

Virginia Mayhew
centerstage.conn-selmer.com

Saxophonist, composer, and bandleader Virginia Mayhew has appeared in major New York jazz venues, from the Blue Note to Carnegie Hall, toured internationally, and twice represented the US as a Jazz Ambassador. She is also an active jazz educator and founded the Greenwich House Music School Jazz Workshop. On this 1998 Piano Jazz, Mayhew and McPartland join forces to perform “All the Things You Are” and “Body and Soul.” They close the hour with a free piece, improvised live in the studio.

Don Friedman
donfriedman.net

In honor of the birthday of Don Friedman (May 4, 1935 – June 30, 2016), Piano Jazz presents this broadcast from 1996. Although Friedman first studied classical piano, he fell in love with the voice of jazz and performed with jazz greats such as Chet Baker and Buddy DeFranco. In this session, Friedman demonstrates his unique sound on a solo of his “Waltz for Marilyn.” He and McPartland duet in “Stella by Starlight,” and bassist Gary Mazzaroppi joins for “How Deep is the Ocean.”

News & Talk Stations: Sat, May 05, 8 pm | News & Music Stations: Sun, May 06, 7 pm

Eliane Elias
elianeelias.com

Brazilian pianist, composer, and vocalist Elaine Elias grew up with an affinity for both the music of her home country as well as American jazz. She got her start performing with two renowned Brazilian artists, singer-songwriter Toquinho and poet Vinicius de Moraes, before moving to New York in the 1980s, where she took the American jazz scene by storm. She was McPartland’s guest for the first time in this 1988 Piano Jazz session. Elias plays a beautiful arrangement of “Darn that Dream” and teams up with McPartland for “Falling in Love with Love.”

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
SC Public Radio

Pianist and vocalist Cleo Brown (1909 – 1995) was one of the early innovators of the boogie-woogie style and the first female instrumentalist to be named an NEA Jazz Master. She retired from performing in the 1950s and focused her attention on religious music, bringing her gifted voice and strong left hand to gospel tunes. On this 1985 Piano Jazz, Brown makes a rare appearance to perform her greatest hit, “Pinetop’s Boogie-Woogie,” and to recall the style’s heyday in the 1930s. She delights McPartland with a duet version of “A Closer Walk with Thee.”

Nicholas Payton
nicholaspayton.com

Trumpeter Nicholas Payton has been hailed as one of the greatest musicians of his generation. A native of New Orleans, Payton learned the art of improvisation from Wynton Marsalis and as a teen performed with the late trumpet master Clark Terry. A young virtuoso, he was in his twenties when he sat down with McPartland for this 1998 Piano Jazz session. Bassist Ray Drummond joins Payton and McPartland for a trio set, including the standard “Four” and an original improvised tune, “Payton’s Other Place Blues.”

Gil Goldstein
John Abbott

Composer and arranger Gil Goldstein came to the piano by way of the accordion, which he has rediscovered and added to the jazz lexicon. Collaborations with Jaco Pistorius and Bill Evans fostered his career and led to work with David Sanborn, Michael Franks, and Al Jarreau, among others, and to writing original scores for films. In this 2001 Piano Jazz session, Goldstein solos on his own “City Lights.” McPartland accompanies him as he plays accordion for a few tunes, including “Waltz for Debbie.”

Marian McPartland
SC Public Radio

No jazz musician has ever been heard more on public radio than the late Marian McPartland, the host of NPR's Piano Jazz for more than 40 years. But for all her ubiquity, how well did we really know her?

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
SC Public Radio

For more than 50 years, Earma Thompson (1923 – 2009) was a constant on the Chicago jazz scene. She was recognized as the reigning queen of Windy City jazz but spent most of her career as a dependable and accomplished side person. In her 80s Thompson released her first albums as a leader, including 2004’s Just in Time, which debuted shortly before her 2005 appearance on Piano Jazz. In this session, Thompson showcases her elegant, bluesy style on “Back at the Chicken Shack” before joining McPartland for “Lullaby of the Leaves.”

Marian with Jimmy McPartland at the Piano Jazz recording session.
SCETV

This year marks the centennial of Marian McPartland (1918 – 2013). In honor of the occasion, Piano Jazz revisits a session with Marian and Jimmy McPartland. In addition to playing with the early greats, such as Bix Beiderbecke and Fats Waller, trumpet legend Jimmy McPartland (1907 – 1991) was also responsible for introducing a young English pianist named Margaret Marian Turner to the American Jazz scene. In this classic program from 1990, the McPartlands perform one of Jimmy’s favorite tunes, “St. James Infirmary.”

Jeremy Monteiro rehearsing before the Jazznote Festival at Timbre.
Alfiedog [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Pianist Jeremy Monteiro grew up in Singapore, where he launched a remarkable career, landing his first gig at 17. He gained international attention in 1988 at the Montreaux Jazz Festival and has continued to gain acclaim worldwide throughout his career. To his credit he has more than 20 albums as a leader, is a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, and has received Singapore’s highest honor in the arts, the Cultural Medallion.

Carol Sloane, in an early promotional photo, 1958.
Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame Historical Archive

Carol Sloane is a sublime singer of great songs. She is natural and unaffected, with a voice that embraces the melody and the listener with equal parts maturity and conviction. Combining spirit with character, elegance with style, Sloane has enchanted audiences all over the world. Her command of the Great American Songbook is unmatched. On this 2002 Piano Jazz, Sloane brings her effortless charms to Irving Berlin’s “Cheek to Cheek.” She and McPartland end the hour with Ellington’s “I Love You Madly.”

Frank Kimbrough
Pirouet Records

When pianist Frank Kimbrough was McPartland’s guest in 1997, he was performing regularly with the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra at Visiones Jazz Club in New York, where he has been active on the jazz scene for nearly four decades. An educator and recording artist, Kimbrough was a founding member and composer-in-residence of the Jazz Composers Collective. In this Piano Jazz session, Kimbrough’s graceful, romantic style is evident on a Herbie Nichols tune, “Wildflower.” He and McPartland duet on Sonny Rollins’ “Doxy.”

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
SC Public Radio

Harmonically modern and rooted in the 1960s hard-bop school, Albert Dailey (1939 – 1984) had a superb command of his instrument. A leader and sideman, Dailey played piano with Art Blakey, Sarah Vaughan, Stan Getz, Charles Mingus, and Lee Konitz, to name only a few. He was one of McPartland’s guests in the early years of Piano Jazz. On this 1983 episode, Dailey demonstrates his brilliant sense of invention on “If You Could See Me Now” and joins McPartland on “Night in Tunisia.”

An early publicity photo of Carline Ray.
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Forceful double bassist and spirited vocalist Carline Ray (1925 – 2013) was known as one of the pioneering woman of jazz. A member of The International Sweethearts of Rhythm, she worked with prodigious female talents such as Mary Lou Williams and Marian McPartland. On this 1997 Piano Jazz, Ray shares her many abilities with McPartland as she performs on multiple instruments. Ray plays bass on “In a Sentimental Mood,” sings “Come Sunday,” and switches to piano for “After Hours.”

Charlie Watts
rollingstones.com

Drummer Charlie Watts has been the heartbeat of the Rolling Stones for more than 50 years, though he has always had a passion for jazz and the blues. Saxophonist Tim Ries plays with the Stones, but as a true jazz journeyman, he’s also worked with greats such as Maria Schneider, Maynard Ferguson, and Tim Woods. When Watts and Ries were on a break from the Rolling Stones’ World Tour in 2007, they sat down with McPartland for an hour of jazz and rock, with Ries’ arrangement of the Stones classic “Honkey Tonk Woman.”

Liz Magnes on Piano Jazz

Jan 22, 2018
Liz Manges
lizmanges.com

In 2001 McPartland introduced Piano Jazz audiences to Liz Magnes, one of Israel’s most dynamic and creative solo jazz pianists. Her signature style blends Eastern and Western influences, creating a World Music flavor. Magnes moved to New York in 2000, going on to perform coast to coast and dedicating much of her time to arts education. In this session, Magnes presents her percussive form on “Someone to Watch Over Me.” She and McPartland team up for “Ain’t Misbehavin’.”

News & Talk Stations: Sat, Jan 27, 8 pm | News & Music Stations: Sun, Jan 28, 7 pm

Eddie Palmieri
Jason Goodman/National Endowment for the Arts

Virtuoso pianist, bandleader, and composer Eddie Palmieri has been called “the madman of Latin Jazz.” His playing fuses the rhythm of his Puerto Rican heritage with the complexity of his jazz influences: Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner as well as his older brother, Charlie Palmieri. On this 2000 Piano Jazz, McPartland joins the band for an hour of Palmieri’s powerful rhythmic compositions. Palmieri and his group perform a set including “La Comparsa” and “Beloro Dos.” McPartland improvises a “Portrait of Eddie Palmieri.”

Tony DeSare
Courtesy of the Artist

Vocalist and pianist Tony DeSare discovered music at a young age and began performing as a teenager. He broke out on the New York music scene in the early 2000s with a role in the Off-Broadway review Our Sinatra and a lauded club debut at the Café Carlyle. On this 2008 Piano Jazz, McPartland accompanies him on “Memories of You” and “Do Nothing ‘till You Hear from Me.” DeSare recalls Sinatra with “Fly Me to the Moon” and performs an original, “How Will I Say I Love You.”

French-Canadian pianist and composer Lorraine Desmarais made her first appearance in the United States at the 1986 Great American Jazz Competition, where she took the highest honors. In 2012 she was awarded the prestigious Order of Canada for her work bringing Canadian jazz to the world. She was McPartland’s guest for this 1991 Piano Jazz. She performs a few of her own compositions, “The Third King” and “Memoir,” along with a set of standards.

News & Talk Stations: Sat, Jan 06, 8 pm | News & Music Stations: Sun, Jan 07, 7 pm

Marian McPartland and Dizzy Gillespie.
SC Public Radio

2017 marks the centennial of jazz giant Dizzy Gillespie (1917 – 1993). In a classic Piano Jazz from 1985, Gillespie discusses his work with Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk, demonstrates various rhythmic progressions, and shares his theory on Aretha Franklin’s unique vocal phrasing. Inspired by the session, McPartland spontaneously creates two new compositions in Gillespie’s honor: "For Dizzy" and "A Portrait of Diz." They perform several of Dizzy’s tunes, including "A Night in Tunisia" and "In a Mellow Tone."

Bobby Broom with drummer Makaye McCraven, INNone Jazzfestival, 2013.
Manfred Werner [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Bobby Broom didn't begin playing guitar until age 12, but he developed his jazz chops quickly, gaining the attention of the legendary Sonny Rollins. Throughout the years, he's played with Rollins and other notable groups such as Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, and he has toured with his own Bobby Broom Trio. He is also a jazz educator in Chicago. On this 2008 Piano Jazz, bassist Gary Mazzaroppi joins Broom and McPartland to kick off the set with the Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love."

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
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Pianist Don Pullen (1941 – 1995) was known for his melodic brilliance, swirling chords, and glissandos, and his kinetic, cascading piano attack could ignite any band. He gained his first experiences playing African American church music and R&B, and his career took off when he joined Charles Mingus' band in the 1970s. He went on to form his own quartet. In this 1989 Piano Jazz session, Pullen performs one of his original compositions, "Jana's Delight." He and McPartland get together for "All the Things You Are."

Beegie Adair
greenhillrecords.com

Beegie Adair, the Nashville native with a distinctive flair for the piano, has worked with jazz, pop, and country. She's played for movie and TV soundtracks, been in concerts, festivals, and clubs, and put in many orchestra appearances. On this 1991 Piano Jazz, Adair joins McPartland for a unique blend, including an original tune she whipped up for a friend's Christmas present: "Sylvia's Mayonnaise." McPartland and Adair duet on "Poor Butterfly."

News & Talk Stations: Sat, Dec 09, 8 pm | News & Music Stations: Sun, Dec 11, 7 pm

Claudio Roditi
OhWeh [CC BY-SA 2.5] via Wikimedia Commons

Integrating post-bop elements and Brazilian rhythmic concepts into his palette with ease, Claudio Roditi plays with power and lyricism. This versatility has kept the trumpeter and flugelhornist in demand as a leader, studio musician, and sideman. Having made his way from Brazil to the New York jazz scene in the 1970s, he was McPartland's guest for this 1996 Piano Jazz session. With McPartland at the piano, Gary Mazzaroppi on bass, and Roditi on his horn, the three dish up "I Remember April" and "Speak Low."

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