The Arts

Jess Stacy, New York, N.Y.(?), ca. Jan. 1947.
The Library of Congress, via Wikimedia Commons

This week’s Piano Jazz presents an episode from the early years of the program with guest Jess Stacy (1904 – 1995), who came out of retirement to appear on the show in 1982. One of the leading pianists of the swing era, Stacy was best known for his work with the Benny Goodman Orchestra and had a prolific career before stepping back from the music world in the 1950s. In this classic session from the archives, Stacy needs no introduction as he starts the show with a solo performance of “Dancing Fool.” McPartland joins to end the hour with “St. Louis Blues.”

Wikimedia Commons

In 1932, the musicologist Wilfrid Perrett reported to an audience at the Royal Musical Association in London the words of an unnamed professor of Greek with musical leanings: “Nobody has ever made head or tail of ancient Greek music, and nobody ever will. That way madness lies.”

Rachel Z
Courtesy of the artist

Pianist and composer Rachel Z grew up in Manhattan in a musical family. Her mother taught her classical voice and opera from a young age, but she found her own sound in the jazz and rock worlds. On the keys, she is lightning-quick and her percussive yet lyrical approach enhances her technique. In 2010, she formed a group called The Trio of Oz with her husband, Omar Hakim. On this 1999 Piano Jazz, Rachel Z performs her original “Gently Sleeps the Pear Tree.” She and McPartland switch gears with “All the Things You Are.”

Tony Bennett and Marian McPartland, Manhattan Beach Studios, New York City, 2004.
RJ Capak

Ever-popular song stylist Tony Bennett was McPartland’s guest for the first time in 1990. Bennett vocalizes American popular songs like nobody else can. When he was starting out, a voice teacher, Miriam Spier, famously told him: “Don’t imitate singers, imitate musicians.” So, Bennett decided to emulate Art Tatum. He also credits his relaxed delivery to the inspiration of Mildred Bailey. On this edition of Piano Jazz, Bennett sings “Stay as Sweet as You Are” and “Imagination.” There’s no need to guess who’s playing the accompaniment.

Renee Rosnes
reneerosnes.com

Upon moving to New York from Vancouver, Canada, pianist and composer Renee Rosnes established a reputation as one of the premier jazz musicians on the scene. Over her 30-year career, Rosnes has collaborated with a diverse range of artists, from established masters such as Jack DeJohnette to younger giants such as Christian McBride and Melissa Aldana. On this 1990 episode of Piano Jazz, she plays Monk’s “Four in One” then improvises with McPartland on her own tune “Fleur De Lis.”

News & Talk Stations: Sat, Jul 21, 8 pm | News & Music Stations: July 22, 7 pm

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
SC Public Radio

Pulitzer Prize finalist and 2007 Guggenheim Fellow Don Byron is a prodigious multi-instrumentalist and  composer. One of the most inventive and compelling musicians of his generation, he is credited for reviving interest in the jazz clarinet, his primary instrument. He has presented projects at major music festivals around the world and is known for playing in a wide variety of genres. In this 1999 Piano Jazz session, Byron demonstrates his flexibility and duets with McPartland on “Perdido,” “Moon Indigo,” and a creative free piece.

Cover photo of a bird-filled sky above a line of trees at sunset.
Kathleen Robbins

(Originally broacast 01/12/17) - Ed Madden, Columbia's Poet Laureate, writes that poet Tim Conroy “is a theologian of the best kind, a theologian of the ordinary.”

Barbara Carroll, Clyde Lombardi, and Chuck Wayne, Downbeat magazine, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947
William P. Gottlieb Collection, Library of Congress

Pianist and vocalist Barbara Carroll (1925 – 2017) was described as a joyous and swinging jazz stylist. A dear friend of McPartland’s, Carroll had a monumental career. When she was a guest on the program in 1979, she had just started her engagement at Bemelmans Bar in Manhattan, where she would perform for a remarkable 25 years. On this episode from the first season of Piano Jazz, she plays an original, “Barbara’s Carol,” and duets with McPartland on a timely rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely.”

D.W. Griffith, director (1923)
Library of Congress

(Originally broadcast 11/10/17) - How did the American South contribute to the development of cinema? And how did film shape the modern South? In Fade In, Crossroads: A History of the Southern Cinema (2017, Oxford University Press), Robert Jackson tells the story of the relationships between southerners and motion pictures from the silent era through the golden age of Hollywood. Jackson talks with Walter Edgar about the profound consequences of the coincidence of the rise and fall of the American film industry with the rise and fall of the Jim Crow era.

Andrew Hill
National Endowment for the Arts

Pianist Andrew Hill (1931 – 2007) began playing jazz as a teenager in Chicago, where he was encouraged by Earl Hines. As he came of age, Hill played with jazz legends Miles Davis and Charlie Parker. He may be known best for his classic Blue Note recordings in the 1960s, which extended the possibilities of bop and hard bop through complex tunes. On this 2005 Piano Jazz, Hill demonstrates his mastery of melody, rhythm and technique on his own “Nicodemus” before joining host McPartland for “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.”

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.”

http://sepf.music.sc.edu/

Entering its sixteenth year, the Southeastern Piano Festival will once again bring rising talents and seasoned performers alike to the University of South Carolina School of Music and other venues around the city of Columbia. The festival, which takes place from June 17th-23rd, is comprised of a series of performances, learning opportunities, a community outreach event, piano competition, and winners’ recital.

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.”

A projected "apparition" of the Carolina Parakeet, part of the installations "Carrion Cheer."
Halsey Institute

Artist Christian Orendt talks with Jeanette Guinn about The Carrion Cheer: A Faunistic Tragedy an installation at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art on Calhoun Street as part of Piccolo Spoleto.

Reggie Workman at the Charleston Jazz Academy.
Leigh Webber

Working with jazz legends like John Coltrane, Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk, and numerous others has given double bassist Reggie Workman more than a little perspective on music-making. On Monday, June 4th, the eighty-year-old exponent of hard bop and avant-garde jazz shared some of that perspective with students through a lecture/demonstration at the Charleston Jazz Academy. The academy, located on West Montague Avenue in North Charleston, absorbed the Leonard School of Music in 2017, and is the educational arm of Charleston Jazz.

David Lee Nelson
davidleenelson.com

A comedy. About cancer. From award-winning solo performer David Lee Nelson (Elephant in My Closet) brings Stages to Piccolo Spoleto - a new play about finding hope in the most unlikely of places. Nelson talks with Jeanette Guinn about life with cancer, the play, and his plans for the future. The play runs through Saturday evening at Chapel Theatre on Calhoun St. in Charleston, SC.

A scene from The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk.
Spoleto Festival USA

In this season finale of Spoleto Backstage, Jeanette Guinn talks with the stars of The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, Marc Antolin and Daisy Maywood. 

Victoria Hansen speaks with Geoff Nuttall, artistic director for the Spoleto Chamber Music Series, about working with local schools to introduce classical music to students.

Daisy Maywood and Marc Antolin in The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk.
Steve Tanner

Partners in life and on canvas, Marc and Bella Chagall—the flying lovers of Vitebsk—are immortalized as the picture of romance. But whilst on canvas they flew, in life they walked through some of the most devastating times in history.

Amanda Woodbury and Valdis Jansons in the US premiere of Donizetti's Pia de' Tolomei.
William Struhs

Lidiya Yankovskaya is the music director of Chicago's Opera Lyric Theater. At Spoleto Festival USA she is  conducting the U.S. premiere and Spoleto production of Donizetti's Pia de Tolomei. She talks with Jeanette Guinn about the opera, its production, and about learning her craft, as well as the joy she finds in opera.

Rosemary Clooney and Marian McPartland

Jun 5, 2018
Marian McPartland with Rosemary Clooney, 1991
RJ Capak

The legendary Rosemary Clooney (1928 – 2002) sang with a simplicity and honesty that became her trademark. As one of the great interpreters of popular song, she demonstrated her understanding of lyrics through her sure and steady vocal delivery. Clooney first rose to fame in the 1950’s with the overnight success of “Come on-a My House.” In this 1992 Piano Jazz session, McPartland and Clooney talk about her legacy as a jazz artist and the second phase of her career. “I just think you're better than ever,” McPartland remarks.

John Kennedy, conductor in residence at Spoleto Festival USA.
Spoleto Festival USA

In this episode of Spoleto Backstage, Jeanette Guinn sits down with Spoleto's busiest conductor John Kennedy who will be involved with three of this years performances: Music in Time, Tree of Codes, and You are Mine Own. We also get to hear from the conductor of Pia de Tolomei, Lidiya Yankovskaya.

Kids from Charleston's Meeting Street Academy go backstage for the Carlo Colla and Sons Marionette Company performance of the Pied Piper
Victoria Hansen

There's a melancholy to his voice and a sadness in his eyes, as the managing director of the centuries old  Carlo Colla and Sons Marionette Company of Milan speaks in his best English to elementary school children at the Emmet Robinson Theater at the College of Charleston prior to the company’s Spoleto performance.  Peiro Corbella paces the stage as he begins his story, 40 years ago when he became  a puppeteer, thanks to the guidance of his mentor and good friend, Eugenio Monti Colla.

Jackie King, Willie Nelson, Marian McPartland and Duke Marcos, Manhattan Beach Studios, New York City, 2001
RJ Capak

Vocalist Willie Nelson and guitarist Jackie King (1945 – 2016) were friends for decades, making up one of the most recognizable duos in the music world. From co-writing songs to creating record labels, the two friends played major roles in each other’s careers and lives. Their Piano Jazz session was one of the most memorable for listeners and show staff alike. Longtime mastering engineer Duke Marcos recorded the session, and show regular Gary Mazzaroppi provided bass for a jazzy set of standards and Nelson/King originals.

Spoleto Festival USA presents the US premiere of Liza Lim's Tree of Codes, based in part on Jonathan Safran Foer's book.
Nina Jua Klein

Among the featured operas of the 2018 Spoleto Festival is Tree of Codes, a 2015 work by Australian composer Liza Lim.  The opera received its US premiere on May 26th at Dock Street Theatre, and is being performed there through June 7th under the direction of Ong Keng Sen. Performing Tree of Codes is the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, conducted by John Kennedy. Singers Elliot Madore and Marisol Montalvo fill the two on-stage roles.

Christian McBride and Marian McPartland

May 31, 2018
Marian McPartland and Christian McBride, Manhattan Beach Studios, New York City, 2001
RJ Capak

Christian McBride is considered one of the premier bassists of his generation. The Grammy-winning artist is a celebrated composer, also known for adding a modern touch to traditional jazz standards. A frequent sideman on Piano Jazz, he first played on the show in 1992 and was a guest himself in this 2001 session. McBride has dedicated his time to education in addition to performing as a bandleader and sideman on hundreds of studio recordings.

The JACK Quartet
Shervin Lainez

Coordinated playing is essential for the members of an internationally-recognized string quartet... coordinated choreography, not so much.

Unless that quartet is taking on Mark Applebaum’s Darmstadt Kindergarten.

Marian McPartland and Eldar Djangirov

May 29, 2018
Marian McPartland and Eldar Djangirov, Avatar Studios, New York City, 1999
RJ Capak

Eldar Djangirov was the youngest guest ever to appear on Piano Jazz. Only twelve at the time, the young pianist already possessed an impressive repertoire along with confidence that was evident both in his personality and in his playing. His prodigious technique blew McPartland and Piano Jazz listeners away, and he was a guest again in 2005 as he transitioned into his career as an adult. He is a regular at major jazz festivals, has toured throughout the world, and has made appearances on national television, including performing at the Grammy Awards.

Composer, double-bassist, Doug Balliett
metropolisensemble.org/

From playing double bass, to teaching historic performance at Julliard, to writing poetry and works of music, contemporary American composer Doug Balliett stays busy. As composer-in-residence for the chamber music series of the forty-second Spoleto Festival USA, Doug is not only providing original works, arrangements, and guidance on their interpretation, but is also a performer in a majority of the series’ thirty-three concerts. The series runs through June 10th, with all performances held at the Dock Street Theatre in Charleston.

Carlo Colla and Sons Marionette Company presents Cimarosa's opera at the Emmett Robinson Theatre at College of Charleston, May 28 to May 30. Members of the Westminster Choir will accompany the opera.
Photo courtesy of Carlo Colla and Sons Marionette Company

With its humorous situations, tangle of love interests, and recognizably-flawed characters, Domenico Cimarosa’s Il Matrimonio Segreto (The Secret Marriage) is an emblematic example of eighteenth-century opera buffa. A feel-good production of its day, Il Matrimonio Segreto was the type of work that had those in an audience laughing as much at themselves as the cast members before them. In other words, relatability was one of its hallmarks.

Spoleto Festival USA Chamber Music director, Geoff Nuttall.
Spoleto Festival USA

For violinist Geoff Nuttall, finding the right performers for the Bank of America Chamber Music Series is critical. 

"Everybody that comes is not only amazing and an incredible player," Geoff says, "but also super-easy to work with and a joy to hang out with."

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