Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

News & Talk Stations: Sat, 8-9 pm | News & Music Stations: Sun, 7-8 pm

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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Arturo Sandoval
Courtesy of the artist

  Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval is one of Cuba’s best-known musical exports. On this Piano Jazz from 2002, Sandoval showcases his talent as a pianist and composer. His inspiration for turning to the piano came from his mentor, Dizzy Gillespie, who prompted him to take it up. He joins McPartland for a duet of his composition “Blues in F,” and Sandoval solos on “Surena” and “Romantio.”

- News Station: Sat, Mar 07, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Mar 08, 6 pm -

  Renowned lyricists and songwriters Marilyn and Alan Bergman have been the recipients of Oscars, Grammy, Emmys, and many additional awards. Their works include “The Windmills of Your Mind,” the score for Yentl, and music for In the Heat of the Night. On this 2005 episode, they collaborate with McPartland as she accompanies Alan singing some of their trademark songs, “The Way We Were” and “Nice and Easy.” 

- News Station: Sat, Feb 28, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Mar 01, 6 pm -

  Vocalist Jackie Cain (May 22, 1928 – Sept. 15, 2014) was half of one of the best-known duos in jazz history, Jackie & Roy. She was an icon in the cabaret world, with a smooth, feathery voice. Her ability to express a full range of emotions as a performer allowed her to traverse the broad landscape of American popular song. On this 1999 edition of Piano Jazz, McPartland and bassist Dean Johnson join Cain for performances of “Wait ‘Til You See Her” and “You Don’t Know What Love Is.” 

- News Station: Sat, Feb 21, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Feb 22, 6 pm -

The late Eartha Kitt (1927 – 2008) was nothing less than an institution. Her enduring career spanned theater, cabaret, recording work, film, and television, including the infamous Catwoman of Batman fame. Orson Welles dubbed her “the most exciting woman in the world.” An international star, she brought new meaning to the word “versatility.” On this 1993 Piano Jazz, she performs “God Bless the Child” and “Lush Life” as only Kitt can. 

- News Station: Sat, Feb 14, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Feb 15, 6 pm -

  Pianist and composer Joe Sample (Feb. 1, 1939 – Sept. 12, 2014) began studying piano at age five and was exposed to a variety of musical traditions as a child. While still in high school in the late 1950s, he formed The Crusaders, with whom he played for much of his professional life. On this episode of Piano Jazz from 2005, Sample and McPartland team up for “I’ve Got Rhythm,” and Sample solos on his original tune “Carmel.” 

- News Station: Sat, Feb 7, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Feb 8, 6 pm -

Danilo Perez
Raj Naik and Luke Severn

Panamanian pianist Danilo Perez worked with Dizzy Gillespie and his United Nations Orchestra, where he absorbed bebop and prebop styles. But Dizzy also impressed upon him the importance of getting to the roots of his own heritage, and Perez began creating music that seeks connection and defies boundaries. In this Piano Jazz session from 1994, he demonstrates his fresh ideas of music with his original composition “Reminiscing.” 

- News Stations: Sat, Jan 31, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Feb 1, 7 pm -

Gary Burton
Courtesy of the artist

  Five-time Grammy Award-winner Gary Burton taught himself to play the vibraphone as a young person and began his recording career at age seventeen. He backed jazz greats, including George Shearing and Stan Getz, and went on to form his own quartet, combining jazz, rock, and other influences into what would become Fusion. On this Piano Jazz from 2005, Burton and McPartland perform tunes by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Duke Ellington, Rodgers & Hart, and many more. 

- News Stations: Sat, Jan 24, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Jan 25, 9 pm -

  Cyrus Chestnut is a conservatory-trained pianist who is firmly grounded in jazz history, all the way back to Jelly Roll Morton. He’s also played with many of today’s best interpreters—Wynton Marsalis, Jon Hendricks, Roy Hargrove, Christian McBride, Terence Blanchard, and Betty Carter, to name a few.  On this 2003 Piano Jazz, he joins McPartland for a swinging hour of jazz bursting with spirit. 

- News Stations: Sat, Jan 17, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Jan 18, 7 pm -

  Longtime bandleader for NBC’s Late Night with David Letterman, Paul Shaffer’s early training was in the classics. But thanks to rock-n-roll, he grew up to lead what David Letterman has called “the world’s most dangerous band.” Also a composer, performer, and director, the versatile Shaffer is indeed a force to be reckoned with. On this 1988 Piano Jazz, he plays the standard “All the Things You Are” and teams up with McPartland for Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely.”

- News Stations: Sat, Jan 10, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Jan 11, 7 pm -

  Guitarist Mimi Fox is in the vanguard of invigorating the jazz guitar tradition. She possesses a pure tone and an amazing set of chops and cooks whether playing bebop or ballads. Her compositional abilities are evident on this 2006 Piano Jazz as she plays her own tune “Perpetually Hip.” With McPartland on piano and Gary Mazzaroppi on bass, Fox tears up the fret board on “What is This Thing Called Love.” 

- News Stations: Sat, Jan 3, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Jan 4, 7 pm -

  Michel Petrucciani (December 28, 1962 – January, 6 1999) was one of the greatest French jazz pianists of all time. Born with a genetic disease, he only stood at three feet, but with hands unaffected by his disease, Petrucciani had an extraordinary talent at the keys. He was only twenty-three when he joined McPartland for Piano Jazz. On this 1987 broadcast, Petrucciani plays his own composition, “The Prayer,” then he and McPartland combine their talents on John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps.”

  British jazz pianist George Shearing (August 13, 1919 – February 14, 2011) was a friend and frequent guest of Marian’s on Piano Jazz. On this special edition from 2001, Shearing joins McPartland to celebrate the holidays in a jazzy way! The two reminisce about seasons gone by and perform both traditional and contemporary holiday tunes, including “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Away in a Manger,” and “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

- News Stations: Sat, Dec 20, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Dec 21, 7 pm -

Mel Tormé and Marian McPartland

  Described by Rex Reed as “America’s greatest male singer,” Mel Tormé (September 13, 1925 – June 5, 1999) was one of the most versatile performers of his day. On this Piano Jazz from 1992, Tormé shares how his classic “The Christmas Song” inspired him to put out his own holiday album. He sings and plays “Too Late Now” and “Walking My Baby Back Home” with McPartland joining in.

  Pianist/composer Liz Story is a fascinating, ever-changing musician. She was inspired to pursue music after hearing Bill Evans perform, and her music has been compared to Copeland, Chopin, Debussy, Keith Jarrett, and Chick Corea. In this 1993 Piano Jazz session, Story plays “My Foolish Heart,” then she and McPartland get together for “All the Things You Are.”

- News Stations: Sat, Dec 6, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Dec 7, 7 pm - 

  When Harry Connick Jr. sat down with Marian McPartland in 1991, he was in his twenties and coming off the heels of his successful “Big Band Tour.” He has gone on to become a Grammy-winning recording artist with multiple best-selling albums and a successful acting career. On this Piano Jazz, Connick sings and plays “They Didn’t Believe Me” and joins McPartland for “Stompin at the Savoy.”

  As the son of jazz legends John and Alice Coltrane, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane is continuing the legacy he has inherited by developing his own sound and feeling. In 2012, he released his sixth album, Spirit Fiction. In 2000, he joined McPartland to talk about his family’s musical heritage and his individual approach to music. On this Piano Jazz, Coltrane and McPartland duet on “What is This Thing Called Love?” and “If I Should Lose You.”

- News Stations: Sat, Nov 22, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Nov 23, 7 pm -

  Tony and Grammy Award-winning actress/vocalist Ruth Brown (January 12, 1928 – November 17, 2006) was one of the pioneers of R&B. Brown also hosted a blues program on NPR called Blues Stage that helped bring wider attention to the genre. On this episode of Piano Jazz from 1993, Brown’s roots in blues, R&B, and jazz are on display as she sings to McPartland’s accompaniment on “Skylark” and “Fine and Mellow.”

- News Stations: Sat, Nov 15, 8 pm | News Stations: Sun, Nov 16, 7 pm - 

- News Stations: Sat, Nov 8, 8 pm | News Stations: Sun, Nov 9, 7 pm - 

  - News Stations: Sat, Nov 01, 8pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Nov 2, 7 pm - 

  This broadcast of Piano Jazz is in memory of pianist Kenny Drew Jr. (June 14, 1958 - August 3, 2014). The son of pianist Kenny Drew, who rose to fame in the fifties and sixties, Kenny Drew Jr. made his own way with a virtuosic career in both jazz and classical. He favored distinct, single-note lines but could also play in a full orchestral style. In this 1992 session, Drew interprets Monk’s “In Walked Bud,” then he and McPartland collaborate on “Falling in Love with You.”

Roy Hargrove
Adriana Mateo

- Classical Stations: Sun, Oct 26, 7 pm | News Stations: Sat, Oct 25, 8 pm  - 


   Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Roy Hargrove has played with such jazz greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Mulgrew Miller, and Bobby Watson. His blazing sound, depth of feeling, and joy in playing was evident even from a young age, when he was discovered by Wynton Marsalis at a high school jazz clinic. On this 1998 Piano Jazz, Hargrove joins McPartland for “I Wish I Knew,” and McPartland performs “Threnody.”

Cassandra Wilson
Ojah Media Group

Classical Stations: Sun, Oct 19, 7 pm | News Stations: Sat, Oct 18, 8 pm

  In this 1999 edition of Piano Jazz, recorded live at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York City, host McPartland welcomes vocalist Cassandra Wilson for an hour of jazz standards. Wilson is known for the enormous range of emotion in her performances. She delights with an array of tunes, joining McPartland and bassist Peter Washington for “Surrey with the Fringe on Top” and “Old Devil Moon.”

Benny Green
Elde Steward

Classical Stations: Sun, Oct 12, 7 pm | News Stations: Sat, Oct 11, 8 pm

  Hard bop pianist Benny Green was mentored by Walter Bishop Jr. and has appeared on more than 100 recordings with artists such as Betty Carter, Milt Jackson, and Diana Krall. In 1993, Oscar Peterson chose Green to receive the Glen Gould International Protégé Prize in Music. He joined McPartland for Piano Jazz in 2003, demonstrating his swinging style and musical sensitivity on tunes including “What Are Your Doing with the Rest of Your Life?” and “You Make Me Feel So Young.”

Joe Wilder

News Stations: Sat, Oct 04 | Classical Stations: Sun, Oct 07/5
Joe Wilder

  This broadcast of Piano Jazz is in memory of trumpeter Joe Wilder (February 22, 1922 – May 9, 2014). Wilder had his first professional gig at age nineteen and went on to play with some of the most popular big band orchestras of the day. He continued recording and touring throughout his life and was awarded the Jazz Master Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. In this 2001 session, Wilder joins McPartland and bassist Rufus Reid for the Gershwins’ “Lady be Good.”

Freddy Cole
Clay Walker (c) 2007

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

  Pianist, composer, and vocalist Freddy Cole can take any song and bring out colors and nuances never heard before. As Nat King Cole’s younger brother, he has developed his own style to showcase his familial vocal talents. He brings this special ability to “Sometimes I’m Happy.” Cole and McPartland wrap up this program from 1998 with a performance of “My Hat’s on the Side of My Head.”

Renee Rosness and Bill Charlap
Courtesy of the artists

Classical Stations: Sun, Sept 20, 7 pm | News Stations, Sat, Sept 21, 7 pm

Husband and wife pianists Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes join McPartland in this 2008 session, pushing the bounds of the Piano Jazz format to include three pianos in one room. Charlap is one of the finest interpreters of American popular song and Rosnes is a modern jazz wizard. They join McPartland for a trio of “You and the Night and the Music” as well as “I’ll Remember April.”

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Sep 10, 2014

News Stations: Sat, 8 - 9 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, 7 - 8 pm  

Makoto Ozoné On Piano Jazz

Aug 29, 2014

A world-class jazz composer and pianist, Makoto Ozoné began playing organ at age 2 and picked up piano at 12 after falling in love with the music of Oscar Peterson.

Helen Merrill on Piano Jazz (1995)

Aug 27, 2014

Helen Merrill’s voice is an instrument that sometimes carries the melody and sometimes complements the improvisational skills of her co-musicians. In this session from 1995, McPartland performs a “Portrait of Helen Merrill.” Merrill joins McPartland to perform songs popularized by Billie Holiday, including Bob Haggart’s “What’s New” and Holiday’s “Don’t Explain.”